According to 12 polls averaged by fivethirtyeight.com, only 39 percent of Americans wanted President Donald Trump to nominate someone to the Supreme Court prior to the Nov. 3 election. But Trump wants to rush the nominee through the process, I believe, because he understands that he is going to lose a fair election. Having the court vote prior to the election puts pressure on Republican senators, also up for reelection, to support his candidate. If they were to hold the vote after the election, Trump would lose his leverage over them.
Also, I believe that Trump knows he is likely to be defeated on Nov. 3 and so he needs another Republican on the Supreme Court willing to keep him in power when he challenges the election results.
It seems that Trump has known he is likely to lose for some time.
Months ago he started complaining about the increasing demand for mail-in ballots due to the pandemic. Even though Republicans, including the Trump family, have been voting by mail for decades, expect Trump to go to court to challenge the counting of mail-in ballots.
As described by Heather Cox Richardson, an American historian, and professor of history at Boston College, Trump needs to do everything he can to “delegitimize his defeat” in an effort to stay in power.
Barton Gellman, writing for The Atlantic Magazine, made the point that Trump will not accept losing the 2020 election. “If he cannot win it, he plans to steal it,” writes Gellman. First, he put a new postmaster general in place to “hinder the delivery of mail-in ballots.” Gellman also found that Trump has recruited hundreds of volunteers in 15 states to challenge voters at polling places. In addition, his legal team will make legal challenges to both in-person voters (we used to call this voter intimidation) and to the validity of mail-in ballots, says Gellman.
The president will also encourage Republican state legislatures to appoint a Republican slate to the electoral college, reports Gellman, even if the majority of voters in that state vote for Joe Biden. This is unlikely to hold up in court — even a Republican-led Supreme Court — but Trump will try. Michelle Goldberg, writing for The New York Times, reported that a legal adviser to the Trump campaign told her, “There will be a count on election night, that count will shift over time, and the results when the final count is given will be challenged as being inaccurate, fraudulent — pick your word.”
Trump has told reporters that he is unlikely to accept defeat in November. When asked directly if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, he responded, “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very … we’ll have a very peaceful … there won’t be a transfer frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”
It is a special day in America when the president suggests that we “get rid of the ballots” so he can stay in power. Next, he’ll be suggesting we get rid of the election altogether.
There is one problem, however. Trump is not the only name on the ballot in November. All 435 members of the House of Representatives are up for re-election. Thirty-five Senate seats are also on the ballot, along with 11 state governors and 5,876 state legislators.
While Trump thinks only of himself, I’m sure that many of these officials will not be pleased with his suggestion that their election or reelection is invalid.
Cheating has always worked for Trump, but cheating the American people out of an election will be the ultimate test of his character and the ultimate test of our democracy. But Trump can’t cheat us out of an election unless many people go along and cooperate with his attempt to cheat.
The hope is that Trump’s loss on Nov. 3 will empower the spineless Republicans in Congress to finally stand up to his craziness on Nov. 4. Perhaps they and the courts will actually defend the Constitution and not the person of Donald J. Trump.
Cheating is the only way Trump can stay in power and continue to hide behind the office of the presidency, avoid indictments, and continue to hide information about his taxes which are likely to show us why he is so indebted to people in Russia. But the majority of the American people don’t have to play along.
My money is on the American people.
Tom Zirpoli is the program director for the Human Services Management graduate program at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster. His column appears every Wednesday. Email him at email@example.com.