Trump has committed sacrilege and set in motion a fateful chain of events
4 NOVEMBER 2020 • 7:19 PM
Donald Trump has denied his likely successor the consecrating ritual of concession. America’s mechanism for handing over power has broken down.
There is no constitutional procedure for removing a president who refuses to accept defeat, if that is what occurs when the final votes are tallied.https://2ce3b19feb23045d078359fc0cb96649.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
The Founding Fathers assumed and hoped that incumbents would behave with honour, though Thomas Jefferson always feared that a new Caesar might one day overstay his welcome – with Alexander Hamilton immediately in mind.
President Trump’s late-night declaration of victory before he had earned it was an act of political sacrilege. It was also ruthlessly focused, the opening move of a scorched-earth strategy long-prepared by his inner circle should he be at risk of losing the vote.
His allegation of a giant “fraud on the American people” was not a reckless off-the-cuff remark in the heat of the moment. Leaked tapes from his Election Day Operations team leave no doubt that this gambit was pre-planned, a calculated move to discredit in advance what he knew would be a late surge of Democrat votes as postal ballots are counted. https://www.youtube.com/embed/TGw_wUeVwMk?enablejsapi=1&=1&playsinline=1
This “blue shift” syndrome has become a pattern of US elections, and vastly more so this year after 100 million people voted by mail or in advance.
Trump has striven for weeks to taint postal votes and to impugn the credibility of the US electoral system – breathtaking chutzpah given that he controls the Justice Department, and that Republicans dominate the executive machinery of swing states.
He urged his supporters to vote only in person, aiming to create an even greater cleavage between the party colouring of the two sets of ballots that could then be exploited. This has been his strategy ever since Joe Biden pulled ahead in the polls.
It led to the spectacle that we have all just witnessed: an early Trump lead in several states evaporating later. It is an invitation to conspiracy theories, all assiduously amplified on social media, with militia waiting in the wings.
The situation is dangerous and has nothing in common with Al Gore’s demand for a Florida recount 20 years ago. Trump has lost the popular vote and probably the electoral college vote, yet he is pulling out all the stops to subvert the result before this can be confirmed.
A machinery for legal guerrilla warfare has been set in motion across the battleground states and will now cause weeks of havoc. Have markets understood the gravity of what is unfolding?
America’s succession process relies on the virtues of Cincinnatus. “Our Constitution does not secure the peaceful transition of power, but rather presupposes it,” says Amherst law professor Lawrence Douglas.
He says there are design flaws in the architecture of the Twelfth Amendment and in the Electoral Count Act of 1887 that make easy prey for an abusive president.