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What will Trump’s view of his powers mean if he loses re-election?

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Leah Millis
President Donald Trump
For the bicentennial anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Constitution, Pulitzer-prize-winning historian Michael Kammen wrote a history of the Constitution titled “A Machine That Would Go of Itself,” which he called a “cultural history.”

That was important because Kammen was less interested in the Constitution itself than in how it has been treated in American culture, including by the famed American poet James Russell Lowell — who, on the first centennial of the Constitutional Convention, had referred to the Constitution as, precisely, “a machine that would go of itself.”

Lowell wasn’t being ironic, but Kammen was, to a degree. By focusing on the “cultural” history of the Constitution, he focuses more on how it has been perceived by each generation, most of which accepted that this document was so finely crafted, with its famous checks and balances, so foolproof, that the Constitution contained, within itself, the magical solution to any problems that might arise within the American experiment in self-government.

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

As we approach a general election campaign in which President Donald Trump will either win re-election or lose (or, I fear, something in between), the constitutional “machine that would go of itself” should contain within itself mechanisms to guarantee that the next presidential election will be held, that its outcome will become sufficiently clear, and that all parties will abide by that outcome, either a second term for the current incumbent or a peaceful and timely transfer of power from that incumbent to his duly elected successor.

‘The right to do whatever I want’

But that’s not necessarily the case, at present. The current incumbent is more ignorant of the Constitution than any of his predecessors, and less respectful of it if it happens to get in the way of his wants, needs and ambitions. I doubt he has ever read it, but someone told him that the powers of the executive are laid out in Article II, which led him to state:

“I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

It’s hard to imagine a more erroneous or ignorant statement about the balance of powers in the Constitution, or, perhaps, a scarier one, considering who said it.

It’s a small leap, or none at all, to argue that a president who thinks he has the power to do whatever he wants could try to cancel the next election if he thought he was in danger of losing, or postpone it until he thought his chances were better, or make bizarre decisions about which parts of which states should have reasonable and/or safe access to the polls on Election Day, or decide for his own powerful self how to resolve any disputes that arise during the counting …

… and, especially, to use those unlimited rights and powers to decide for himself whether he had been voted out of office. And, if he decided, contrary to the best evidence of those who run the elections in the states themselves, that he had been re-elected, to declare himself re-elected based on whatever flimsy disputes are available — and refuse to leave.

It takes people and courts

The Constitution is not a machine that goes of itself. It takes people and courts to interpret and apply it. Despite his ridiculous statement quoted above, the president does not have the constitutional power to decide, on any basis he might devise, whether he has been re-elected, and impose that decision on a nation that has just voted him out.

But he thinks he does, or at least says he does. So, as he falls further and further behind in the polls, I can’t help wondering what will happen if we hold the election, and Trump loses but insists he has won.

He would be entitled to file some lawsuits to dispute it. And appeal to the highest court, which has a Republican-appointed majority and which includes two justices he has himself appointed — although one of them, Neil Gorsuch, joined John Roberts (appointed by George W. Bush) in breaking ranks with the other Republican appointees on a recent case.

But a president who thinks the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want” may not feel obliged to abide even by a court ruling.

The date of the transfer of power to the newly elected president is in the Constitution. It’s Jan. 20, two months after the election. We have never had a president refuse to leave office, but with this president, it’s not that hard to imagine it coming down to this:

It’s Jan. 20, 2021. Joe Biden has been declared the winner. Donald Trump has decided to contest the outcome. The courts have ruled against him but he is still refusing to participate in a peaceful transfer of power.

What happens then? Is it a military question? What would the military do? The chairman and all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would be Trump appointees. Do we need to start asking them what they would do, whom they would listen to at noon on Jan. 20, 2021, if Trump is still asserting that the election was rigged against him and stolen from him and he is still president?

That’s all out of my own fevered imagination/paranoia, but smarter people than I are talking about it.

For example, historian Richard Striner explores it here.

In case you didn’t click through, here’s the top of Striner’s scenario:

Donald Trump is a dangerous authoritarian who is testing how far he can go in the use of armed force for his own political ends.

And a show of force may determine the fate of our democracy a few months from now. If Trump loses the election, we should not expect a peaceful transition in accordance with American traditions. We know what we will get from Donald Trump: a tantrum, followed by defiance. He will call the election a “hoax” and then proceed to put the nation through a crisis that will make the past three years look mild by comparison.

He has talked already of delaying the election and dropped dark hints about how far his powers may extend in a ‘national emergency.

He is not … normal.

So we should brace ourselves for much more than a delayed or contested election. We need to imagine an end-game without any precedent and figure out now what to do if this scenario becomes a reality next year.

Comments (55)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/17/2020 - 10:02 am.

    Fortunately, it is clear that the military is not completely in his pocket.
    Some of them still take their oath of office seriously, and will defend the Constitution rather than the President.
    I will admit that a face off, event if Trump ukltimately loses, has scary implications.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/17/2020 - 10:48 am.

    The question Trump needs to be asked is, “Will you abide by the election result even if you believe the election is rigged?”

    Trump thinks as president he is boss of the country, in the same way that as it’s CEO, he was the boss of the Trump Organization, a privately held company, with no shareholders he needed to account to. As CEO of Trump, he had absolute power, and he thinks the presidency gives him the same power. It’s why he thinks disagreeing with him is a crime.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/17/2020 - 11:11 am.

    One of the most significant, but least appreciated, events in American history was John Adams leaving office peacefully, after losing a bid for re-election. That simple, and (today) unremarkable act set a precedent for the routine peaceful transfer of power in the United States.

    I doubt that the military would obey orders to protect Trump’s hold on power if he were to lose this year. While service members tend to be conservative, they also have a due regard for the Constitution. Any order from a lame-duck President to cement his hold on power would be unlawful, and there would be no obligation to obey it.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 06/17/2020 - 01:03 pm.

      I worry about a different “military” – the Trump Army. If he convinces his rabid supporters that he’s being removed from office unjustly, who knows what they might rise up to do in his defense? THAT is a frightening prospect.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/17/2020 - 05:48 pm.

        I agree 100%. Don Trump, who is so unpatriotic that he let another man go to Vietnam when he dodged the draft, knows that he can dial up a mob any time he wants.

        But those who recall the Brooks Brothers riot that the Bush campaign orchestrated to stop the counting of votes in Florida know what I’m talking about. In sorting out that election, the GOP appointees on SCOTUS choose party over country, so devotees of democracy should be on high alert.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/18/2020 - 11:03 am.

        There will likely be incidents of violence, but I suspect that the bulk of the Trump cult will limit itself to angry rallies and furious internet denunciations.

        The urging of right wing provocateurs to incite the crowd even more will alienate a lot of people who might otherwise have not taken sides.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/17/2020 - 02:06 pm.

      We hung Nazi officers at Nuremberg despite their claim that they were only following orders.

      • Submitted by Richard Owens on 06/17/2020 - 05:02 pm.

        Trump, with Barr’s help has resumed federal executions. Timothy McVeigh was the last one to be executed by the US Government.

        By executive order, after 20 years, 5 inmates are back on death row.

        Your mention of hangings at Nuremberg reminded me of this news item from yesterday. Barr is “religious”.

        America is lost.

  4. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/17/2020 - 12:01 pm.

    Trump is not an authoritarian, he is a solipsist who serves the interests of authoritarians, and without whom he’d be just another old white guy in his bathrobe watching Fox news and yelling. The question is not what Trump will do, but what the authoritarian party will do.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 06/17/2020 - 12:02 pm.

    I really doubt that the Republican majority would support an effort of Trump’s to void the election results. After all that has gone on recently, does one really think that people would be civil about additional Trump transgressions ? People would rise up like never before. A wanna-be dictator would experience a fate similar to Gaddafi, Amin, Hussein, et. al…….and then there is the exit taken by Hitler and others.

    • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/17/2020 - 04:02 pm.

      I simply have no confidence in any sort of Republican desire to the right things. They have had frequent opportunities to do the right thing in recent years and have always managed to resist the temptation.


  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/17/2020 - 12:05 pm.

    Let’s not forget that he viewed losing in 2016 as the greatest potential money maker he has ever encountered.

    There is the ego bruising factor of losing that is significant, but he may see the sting of that weighed against the blatant $$$ pandering opportunity to Trump nation, the ability to resume unrestrained woman chasing and a life of no responsibilities with a staff of even greater suck ups.

    Of course that could all be offset by a real fear of going to jail.

    So, in summary, I got no idea.

    If he is defeated it is hard to imaging that Republicans in congress staying in lock step with Trump, defending his right to remain in office despite losing the election. Look at the Senate polls right now and the likelihood of Majority Leader Schumer is real. Trump will have then led the GOP to no Presidency and minority positions in both houses. Even Lindsey Graham may be ready to move on…

  7. Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 06/17/2020 - 12:13 pm.

    It is well past time that America gave Donald J Trump his comeuppance. He is neither admirable nor honorable. He works the angles in his favor every day, in every way, to enrich himself. He has brought great disgrace to the country. He is classless and uncouth. Vindictive, petty, manipulative. He lacks empathy for others. He completely disregards the Constitution and our laws, preferring those ascribed to by white supremacists. He’s not wealthy, he owns little. He is good at spending others’ money (like ours!) He is the emperor with no clothes and it is time we all collectively acknowledge this…then do something about it. A congenial new president who loves life, has a loving family and has years of federal government experience, and who cares about us all and will surround himself with competent smart staff, cabinet and advisors will be a refreshing change. We will all feel the drag and weight lift and breathe sighs of great relief. Whew! If Trump tries to pull anything–and he absolutely will try anything and everything he can think of–then we must be prepared to block him, stop him, and/or physically escort him out. Federal marshals and handcuffs if necessary. Enough already!

  8. Submitted by Julie Stroeve on 06/17/2020 - 12:18 pm.

    I doubt that the peaceful transfer of power is front and center – or at all – on Trump’s mind. I hope that a refusal to leave office would set off a series of military actions and that he would be carried out in restraints and admitted to the nearest psychiatric ward.

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/17/2020 - 12:44 pm.

    Again, the clearest and easiest way to approach this is to acknowledge the fact that we have a Fascist in the White House and worry about whether or not something as antithetical to Fascism as an election will be enough to remove him from power? I suggest we prepare for a predictable Fascist response which would be to denounce the election as illegitimate and try to stay in power one way another. And let’s not forget that Trump isn’t the only Fascist up in there, it’s possible that the other Fascists will try to find a way to let Trump go while installing themselves in power. We would be fools to not anticipate this and prepare responses.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/17/2020 - 01:01 pm.

    I do tend to agree with Mr. Holbrook that or military leaders would not support any attempt to stay in power given an outright loss. But Trump and the Republican are clearly laying the groundwork to claim that the results will be unreliable or questionable so we still need to fortify the process.

    I would be more worried about an actual Fascist government forming if Trump and his “team” hadn’t shown themselves to be so completely incompetent. They literally could not organize a one man parade from the White House to a church without it turning into a fiasco. An actual Fascist coup would require significant planning and extremely competent execution. Republican would-be Fascists have been celebrating and practicing ignorance and incompetence for so long now I don’t think anyone has the chops to pull something like that off no matter much they’d like to.

    Nevertheless, that won’t necessarily stop them from trying which is why we need to have a response on the table and ready to go. This is a criminal regime, we should expect them to ignore the rule of law when the time comes.

  11. Submitted by Brian Simon on 06/17/2020 - 01:03 pm.

    Eric postulates that we have “a president who thinks he has the power to do whatever he wants [and] could try to cancel the next election if he thought he was in danger of losing, or postpone it until he thought his chances were better.”

    Despite my rather low opinion of the man, I do not find value in speculating on just how delusional Trump might become.

    For one thing, while Trump has taken advantage of others’ propensity to respect our political norms; it is likewise true that he relies on them as well. Were Trump to refuse to stand aside in favor of an elected successor, it seems an enormous assumption on his part that, for example, the secret service would continue to protect him; or the military would fly him around, or that anyone at all would do as he asks. Of course, we don’t know what will happen until it happens; but the line of thinking in this puece is particularly dark & unhelpful.

  12. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/17/2020 - 01:05 pm.

    The big question is have the radical dems accepted the 2016 election of Donald Trump?

    Many have spent the last 31/2 years years suggesting that HC won the election and Trump is an illegitimate President. Trump election was based on Russian interference, on voter suppression, the electoral college attack on democracy, etc. In other words – the same old arguments used to gin up the “base (2nd definition)”

    If Trump wins and the Democratic “Base” erupt in violent protest will anyone on the pages of MinnPost condemn such violence?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/17/2020 - 02:43 pm.

      It’s six-two-and even that you’re not going to reply, but I have to ask:

      How is this any worse than what the Republicans did through all eight years of the Obama Administration?

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 08:28 am.

        I would suggest, the sick circus that was the Benghazi hearings (in particular), has lead congressional Democrats to give us the sick circus of Russiagate and Ukrainegate/impeachment. So yes, it is not really any different than the kabuki bs of Republicans during the Obama admin. Both sides justifying their slow dissolving into petty theatre, while the country is ever more taken over by big money and ever more Americans are made destitute.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/18/2020 - 09:35 am.

          You are making the mistake of focusing on particular incidents, rather than the entire eight-year course of Republican opposition to the Obama administration. Dismissing Republican tactics as “kabuki bs” ignores the deeper undercurrents that were at work.

          I can’t decide whether “both sides do it” is merely moral nihilism, or a form of posturing.

          • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 02:13 pm.

            Maybe it is just an honest assessment of two sides blinded by their increasing hatred of each other?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/18/2020 - 04:15 pm.

              Or, it is a convenient way to avoid taking a real stand.

              • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/19/2020 - 10:44 am.

                A real stand here among the Minnpost commentariat is apparently only that which is acceptable to the neoliberal New Democrat, for whom there is no real need to do anything fundamental about expanding income inequality, nor any need to reign in the eternal war machine, nor corporations, banks or billionaires.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/22/2020 - 09:19 am.

                  #Zzzzzzzz . . .

                  The “agree with me or you’re a neo-liberal sellout” strikes me as a prime example of Western dualism. There was a commenter here a few days ago who was quite dismissive of that way of thinking.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/18/2020 - 12:38 pm.

          Well, unless facts actually matter. The Republicans knew Bengahzi was nonsense and politically driven, while a lot of the same Republicans recognized the seriousness of Trump’s involvement with Russia and obstruction of justice. One would have to rely exclusively on fake news to actually believe the two were the same.

          • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 02:11 pm.

            The list of “facts” of “bombshells that will bring down this president” is the repetitive stuff of satire. Is Trump a monster unbefitting the presidency? I don’t know how many times I have to say Yes to keep you etc from calling me a right wing conspiracy crank. But then, the evidence of Russian collusion has pretty much been dismantled as the stuff of “conspiracy theories” the last year, but the “fact” of Russian collusion amounts now to religious dogma in most Democrat minds, so right, facts increasingly don’t matter in the increasing civil war between democrats and republicans.

            • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/18/2020 - 07:17 pm.

              William, William, William:

              How many times do we have to state that as soon as the Russians were ushered into Trump Tower we had collusion.

              Collusion is just scumbaggery. Following up that scumbaggery with a quid pro quo: something for something is conspiracy. Mueller stated that he did not believe they had sufficient evidence for a conspiracy conviction. He also said that if they believed Trump was innocent they would have said so.

              Mueller did conclusively tell us that Russians absolutely sought to meddle in the 2016 US election (Please do not respond with something about the Shah) and still are. Even though you may not care about Putin’s efforts then and now to distort our elections, many of us do.

              Oh, and did I say “quid pro quo”?

              As the only Trump witness in the House hearing, Jon Turley, told us:

              If you could prove a quid pro quo that would be an impeachable offense.

              And as Republican Seantor Lamar Alexander told us:

              It has been proven that there was a quid pro quo but we do not think it arises to the level of seriousness to remove the President.

              So, your relentless belittlement of the Mueller probe and the impeachment process as partisan “business as usual” does not reflect what actually happened. Time to move on…

              • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/19/2020 - 09:51 am.

                The actual evidence of Russian meddling and collusion is like the proverbial mole hill compared to the mountain of dark money (100’s of billions) flowing from within America, and the manipulations of the election by America’s elite. What were the $100,000 of Facebook adds, compared to the estimated $2billion of free marketing major media gave Trump, because he was so good for their profits?

                Consortium News has done a good job, detailing how the Russia Collusion narrative has been dismantled the last year. What have they got for doing so? Effectively censored by Google, cast into the nether reaches of their search engine. The same organization to do such great investigative work on Iran-Contra, gets shot down by Google for daring to question the official narrative about Russia, to the cheers or silence of most Democrats.


              • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/19/2020 - 09:56 am.

                As to Ukraine, when the CIA and State Dept organized a coup including Ukrainian Neo-nazis, during the Obama admin, Dems weren’t interested except to consume without question what the CIA and State Dept were saying about it. So to me, Ukrainegate is just more partisan hypocrisy.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/17/2020 - 03:57 pm.

      And that’s the news from Planet Trump.
      Meanwhile, back on Earth ….

    • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 08:17 am.

      The two previous comments suggest to me, violence is going to be an issue one way or another, and both sides will justify it as long as they are talking about the righteousness of their side.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2020 - 10:58 am.

      “radical Democrats”… that’s funny.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/18/2020 - 12:42 pm.

      Literally every factual assertion in this comment is false.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 06/18/2020 - 04:07 pm.

      Because of Covid, we haven’t been able to hold our monthly “radical dem” meetings. When we resume, I’m sure we’ll consider the subject before we adjourn to danish and coffee.

  13. Submitted by Mike Schumann on 06/17/2020 - 02:12 pm.

    Must be a slow news day to be speculating about such an absurd scenario.

  14. Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 08:21 am.

    My wanderings about the internet suggest both sides are living in fear that the other side is going to cheat, that fear is feeding on reason, logic and empathy such like a fire, causing elements on both sides to try to rig the election, thereby increasing the likelihood that the election will be contested violently no matter who wins.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/18/2020 - 11:05 am.

      Quick question, apropos of both sides doing it: which side featured armed protesters descending on state capitols demanding that restaurants and barber shops be allowed to reopen?

      And if you think this is in any way comparable to protesting police brutality, I will say charitably that you have another think coming.

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 03:10 pm.

        Whether it is a fascist uprising to support Trump contesting the election, or nonviolent protests used as cover by nonpolitical opportunists to loot, burn and otherwise destroy property, it s violence either way. Violence, if different.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/18/2020 - 04:16 pm.

          Because motives don’t matter! Because both sides do it!

          • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/19/2020 - 11:01 am.

            I would say, the prime-ultimate motive of both major parties is to protect Capital above all else. But yeah, I have worn a bandana most of my adult life, on my bald white head, in part I say to protect my head from sunburn, to keep sweat out of my eyes, to keep warm in cooler weather…and so no one will mistake me for a fascist.

            Interestingly, the vast majority of my views would once have been described as liberal. But in these pages, somehow, just because I don’t pile on Trump like almost everybody else, and because I question the motives of the Democratic Party, I get turned into an apologist for Trumpian fascism. Go figure.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/18/2020 - 11:06 am.

      William, equivalency, much less false equivalency is not antidote of any kind. We not destined for civil war regardless of the election outcome, and the suggestion that everyone is just prone to violence as everyone else is just an echo of Trump’s racists remarks after Charlottesville.

      The suggestion that liberal Democrats are just as prone to violence as Fascist is simply ridiculous. All you have to do is notice who’s showing with body armor and assault rifles and who’s showing up with signs. Even the Anarchists and ANTIFA aren’t showing up with body armor and assault rifles.

      Instead of resigning ourselves to the inevitability of violence under the false banner of equivalency, let’s be intelligent and rational and recognize the most likely scenarios and prepare for them shall we?

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 03:01 pm.


        Your responses are always thoughtful. The kind of violence I mean is not equivalent to both sides: what I mean is, if Dems win and it is contested, we could see a kind of organized perhaps fascist uprising from the right. If Trump wins and it is contested, expect more protests verbally supported by Dems, and opportunistic looting, burning and property destuction. Violence either way, but yes, different.

        As to liberal democrats not being as potentially violent compared to fascists, definitely not directly. However, I do not really hear many liberal democrats questioning the violence of the war machine, not least during Obama’s admin. I have wondered the past few years too, between “resistance” and “woke” responses to anyone not sufficiently falling in line, and the casual character assassination often handed out even long time liberals, I get sometime why so many every-day conservatives fear a kind of neo-jacobin pogrom.

        Anyway, my point is, as I made in another thread, the benghazi hearing helped spawn russia-gate, ukraine-gate and impeachment. The oneupsmanship in mutual hatred of the other is leading to the destruction of the Republic.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/18/2020 - 12:41 pm.

      The Democrats are far from perfect, but they don’t even come close to the Republicans on this or most other issues. Your both-sides-ism is a distortion of the truth.

      • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/18/2020 - 03:13 pm.

        Distortion of the truth is the bread and butter of establishment Democrats and Republicans.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/18/2020 - 07:54 pm.

          And your sandwich has 2 very thin slices of Obama pumpernickel around a very, very, thick, plump slice of Trump liarwurst: Better than 2:1 on truth distortion, Trump vs. Obama no matter how convenient you may find it to distort and draw equivalence.

          • Submitted by William Duncan on 06/19/2020 - 11:10 am.

            The sins of Trump are repeated in Minnpost ad nauseam. Obama on the other hand is treated as a fount of honesty, intelligence and civility.

            Here is Ben Norton, with a very concise list of the sins of Obama, most of which I have discussed in these pages, though not in such an all-encompassing form. (Not on the list, Obama sitting idle while the monarch migration went near extinct.) Discussing any one thing on this list however, gets me and my mostly liberal views turned into a right-wing boogeyman punching bag 🙂


            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/20/2020 - 08:26 am.


              At this point it’s clear that you’re simply trying to deflect attention from the crises at hand. Yes, the Democrats are mess, and Obama had issues, but nothing compares to the criminal regime that Trump has created. Obama is not the POTUS, and he is not the nor was he ever the POTUS who might try to stay in power despite the election outcome. Likewise the Democrats are not the party of Fascism, and although Democrats have failed, and the duopoly is a real thing, any attempt to compare their crimes or shortcomings to those of Republicans is simply facile.

              If we end up resorting to violence in order to preserve democracy in November it will not be because Obama set the stage, it will be because Fascists are trying to tear up or Constitution and take over the government. This is no more a matter of “perspective” than Kristallnacht was just another political rally.

              Yes, we need to find a better alternative than the Democratic Party and the fact that we’re stuck with Biden as our “champion” is absurd and dangerous. But before we make any progress on those fronts, we have to focus on the very real threat of the Fascists are at the gate.

              Biden is not the candidate nor the president we need, but he’s all we have and my biggest fear of Biden is that he could lose to Trump.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/22/2020 - 08:56 pm.

              Good for Mr. Norton, his opinion and a $2.50 will buy you an Ice cream Bar. Just because we can find something on the WWW doesn’t mean it has teeth or substance. Example:
              Fair enough?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/23/2020 - 09:20 am.

              I wish I could be as virtuous as Ben Norton. Sitting back and sniping at people because they don’t come up to my high standards seems like such a noble endeavor. It’s much better than realizing the limitations of ht e system and trying to do what we can within that framework. Plus, “everyone sucks but me and the people who agree with me without reservation” is a convenient way of looking at the world.

              I could also claim to be a composer because I understand musical notation!

  15. Submitted by Tom Crain on 06/21/2020 - 11:39 am.

    Trump’s politics are purely transactional. He’s not going to be making any stands on principle. He and some in his party will do their best to sow confusion with election results, and he’ll look to trade a peaceful, uncontested transition in exchange for personal (and family?) immunity from any federal prosecution and assistance from NY state prosecution. The establishment Dems will be more than happy to oblige.

  16. Submitted by Tom Trisko on 06/22/2020 - 05:59 pm.

    In worrying about contesting the popular election results, everyone is forgetting that the real election is the votes cast by the Electors meeting in their state capitals in December. The federal Constitution gives the appointment of those Electors to the state legislatures who have merely allowed the voters to decide who the Electors will be.

    (I would like to see each state’s Electoral votes apportioned by the popular vote in the state. It could be done by the legislatures, or the Congress, without a Constitutional amendment since the current “Winner Take All” system is also only a result of each state’s legislature trying to maximize the state’s influence in the campaign. But I digress. This is another issue.)

    There is no requirement that the Electors vote as their state’s voters did. It depends on their party loyalty. In addition, if there is not a clear winner when the federal House of Reps counts the Electoral votes in December, the House elects the President voting by state with one vote per state. (This would be fun to watch. GWB would probably still have won in 2000.)

    The Founding Fathers were wise to provide the Electoral College and the House process as these bring the election to a definitive close by stages over two months if they are followed. They would have ended the wrangling over Hanging Chads in 2000.

    However, the Supreme Court in 2000 short circuited this whole constitutional process just to get a quick decision. Perhaps the two new justices who are “textualists” will once again (as this past week on GLBTQ and Dacca issues) insist on following the Constitution’s clear directives in its text on Presidential elections.

    Finally, the President’s term ends at noon on January 20 per the Constitution whether the election is disputed or not. No one (i.e. military, civil service) has to obey him after that time as he is out of office even if he refuses to leave the White House. If the Electoral Vote and the House vote by state is still inconclusive, I wonder whether the Presidential Succession Amendment passed in the late 20th Century would then come into play and Nancy Pelosi would become President if she were still Speaker. 🙂

    • Submitted by Tom Trisko on 06/22/2020 - 06:06 pm.

      P.S. If a particular state cannot get their act together, accurately count the popular vote and agree on who won and who their Electors are, then submit their Electoral Votes to the House by December, they would be abstaining. Their non-votes would not be counted by the House and their state would lose its input to the election. This would be a strong motivator for the state’s legislature and courts to fix it.

  17. Submitted by David Ross on 06/23/2020 - 12:58 am.

    I believe if he loses he will want to pay back the American people for not re-electing him. If we are truly looking at a sick person that he has shown to be, he could have already leaked info to russia or N korea to any vulnerabilities we may have. He plays division games, among others and he has a temper with tantrums about looking bad. We already know he’s only worried about his second term, not the wellbeing of the American people. I could see him trying to get American attacked, starting a war, somehow as a payback. Remember, he does not think, he lies and try’s to get even. He is a dangerous person.

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