Biden’s lead in the polls has left Democrats highly hopeful of the future, yet victory may be further away than they think. Amidst President Trump’s attempts to discredit mail-in voting and refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, fears of legal altercations and potential post-election chaos are starting to surface.
As November 3rd looms in the horizon, Americans prepare themselves for the dangerous, unknown waters of a potential constitutional crisis. The Atlantic calls it “The Election That Could Break America”. Along with record turnouts at the early in-voting stations and over 18 million votes already being cast, fears concerning the power transfer are starting to rise.
Trump’s election campaign has been heavily influenced by his push for a “fair” election and hypocritical, baseless claims of mail-in voting fraud. The fate of Trump’s presidency lies in the hands of the swing states, many of whom are currently favouring Biden and the democrats. Additionally, the polls are pointing towards a blue landslide, thus Trump’s claim of a “ballot scam” could be considered rather unsurprising.
Playboy Magazine’s Brian Karem inquired about the President’s willingness to “commit here and today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election”, to which the President surpassed an opportunity to endorse the foundation of American democracy. Instead, President Trump proceeded to discuss his distaste for the ballots, confirming the speculations proposed previously by many of his opponents. “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation”.
A CNN poll released in August showed a record number of voters casting their votes by mail, many of whom favour Joe Biden. Generally, Democrats are in favour of mail-in voting, while Republican voters tend to line up in person. This means that a possible red mirage can result in Trump claiming an early victory. Thus, in the case of the results going as predicted, the election will then be completely turned upside down as all the votes are counted.
Most, along with Biden, would assume that Trump would simply be escorted from the Oval Office in an attempt to stay after a Democratic victory. In an interview with Politico, Senator Bernie Sanders warns that Trump will claim his presidency was stolen in the case of a blue shift, fully reject the outcome and create chaos in doing so. The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman denies the worst-case scenario being Trump’s rejection of election results (he’s already under the impression that it is a “rigged” election), but rather Trump using his power to prevent the outcome.
“If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them”, Gellman writes, “he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress.”
Gellman then proceeds to explain that although the presidency of Trump ends on January 20th, tiny trojan horses hiding in the Electoral Count Act can keep the disagreements going all the way up until the inauguration. If any of these are the case, President Trump may be a potential threat to the Presidential Election, the will of the people and American democracy.
Despite the polls pointing towards a Democratic victory, they remain polls. It is incredibly hard to guess the outcome of an election, and for now, it is all estimations and speculations. It is however perfectly possible and not unlikely that Trump will try to deny a victory by the Democrats as he already has claimed the only way they could win is by cheating. We must hope the will of the people and democracy exceeds; but whether or not it does, one thing is for sure: this year’s election will be a historic one. The possibility that President Trump will, as many fears, cling onto and refuse the transferral of power is incredibly frightening.
The president’s position is arguably the most powerful in the country, and in a scenario where Americans are incapable of democratically producing a legitimate president, the US might be left in a confusing and chaotic state. No American president has even attempted what Trump suggests he will, but then again, there has never been a president like Donald Trump.
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