Opinion | How Far May Trump Go?

Foley, imagining what comes subsequent, continues:

Trump insists, by tweet and microphone, “THIS THEFT WILL NOT STAND!!!” “WE ARE TAKING BACK OUR VICTORY.”

If occasions have been actually to unfold this manner, and if Trump have been to get the backing of the Pennsylvania State Senate and Home, each at present managed by Republicans, the stage may certainly be set for what Foley and different authorized specialists have described as a battle with few precedents.

Barton Gellman, in a protracted essay in The Atlantic, “The Election That Could Break America” makes in depth use of Foley’s conjecture. “Trump’s campaign towards voting by mail is a strategically sound expression of his plan for the Interregnum,” the interval from Election Day till the inauguration of Jan. 20. Trump, Gellman continues,

is making ready the bottom for publish — election evening plans to contest the outcomes. It’s the technique of a person who expects to be outvoted and means to hobble the depend.

Lawrence Tabas, the Pennsylvania Republican Occasion chairman, instructed Gellman that he has mentioned the opportunity of the legislature rejecting some or all mailed-in ballots, and subsequently selecting a slate of pro-Trump electors to forged the state’s 20 Electoral School votes for the incumbent. “I simply don’t suppose that is the best time for me to be discussing these methods and approaches,” Tabas instructed Gellman, however direct appointment of electors “is likely one of the choices. It is likely one of the obtainable authorized choices set forth within the Structure.”

If two units of electors have been despatched to Washington, the U.S. Home and Senate would decide whether or not to just accept electors from Pennsylvania chosen by the Republican legislature, or electors licensed by Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, Tom Wolf.

Working in the identical vein as Foley, Larry Diamond, a political scientist and senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Establishment, described by e mail what he referred to as “by far essentially the most harmful situation”:

Trump is main when the in-person votes are counted on election evening. In the event you simply stopped counting at midnight on election evening, Trump can be the winner, although many thousands and thousands of mail-in ballots in key swing states are nonetheless to be counted.

When the “blue wave is available in,” Diamond continues,

and provides Biden a victory in states with greater than 270 electoral votes, Trump cries foul and calls for that the Republican legislators in states like Pennsylvania, perhaps Florida, give him their electoral votes, although he didn’t win in accordance with the vote depend.

In a Sept. 8 Atlantic essay, Diamond and Foley, writing collectively, warn of the chance that

Jan. 20 may arrive with Vice President Pence, in his function as Senate president, insisting that President Trump has been re-elected to a second time period — whereas on the identical time, Speaker Pelosi insists that there is no such thing as a president-elect, as a result of the method stays deadlocked, and therefore she’s going to assume the function of appearing president till the counting of electoral votes from the states resumes with the disputed state resolved.

Richard Hasen, a professor of regulation and political science on the College of California-Irvine, emailed his model of a worst-case scenario: “If it seems to be actually shut and it comes right down to Pennsylvania, God assist the USA of America.”

Hasen warns that Pennsylvania is predicted to be one of many final states to finish the tabulation of votes, and, in that case, Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral School votes may decide the winner. If that’s the case, Hasen says,

Will probably be trench warfare over ballots and a president searching for to forged main doubt over the legitimacy of the election even with out proof of main issues. It will be a lot worse than Bush v. Gore due to Trump’s rhetoric, as a result of we’re extra polarized and plenty of see this election in existential phrases, and since inside and exterior forces can use social media to unfold disinformation and stir up hate.

Barry Burden, a political scientist on the College of Wisconsin-Madison, shared Hasen’s worries, outlining in an e mail what he views as “the almost certainly situation”:

President Trump falsely condemns the election as fraudulent and unlawful. He’ll construct on his allegations that thousands and thousands of noncitizens voted illegally in 2016 to say that thousands and thousands of absentee ballots have been submitted in duplicate or by international governments, neither of which might be true. He’ll intensify his rants towards the supposed fraud as Biden’s lead within the in style vote grows within the days following the election.

A flood of lawsuits “on postal delays, questions over the matching of voter signatures on absentee ballots, and features on the polls” will seemingly “trigger suspicious voters to suppose one thing is afoot,” Burden wrote:

This suspicion together with the opportunity of an extended vote depend this 12 months will make it much more tempting for Trump and different politicians to start making false allegations on election evening.

Richard Pildes, a regulation professor at N.Y.U., identified in an e mail that policymakers who assist prolonged vote processing deadlines “face a trade-off. The longer the permitted time, the extra ballots might be legitimate. However the longer that point, the longer it would take for the ultimate outcome to be recognized.”

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