What if Trump Loses and Won’t Leave? – from the Archive – 6/1/2020

The great insight of Toritto.  I could have been a talking head!

An original chalk work by Pamela T.  Sold to a collector atfer the election!

Well good morning America!  We have over 100,000 dead from COVID, our cities are burning this morning and our President is determined to show his strength and machismo.

As I begin typing this post it is 154 days, 12 hours and 14 minutes until Election Day.

Do you think we’ll make it?  We have a pandemic (which lots of folks seem to have put on the back burner) and now nation wide, indeed world wide protests against police brutality and the unnecessary use of force by the boys in blue.  EVERYONE has seen the murder of George Floyd.  Yet it seems in many ways like Ground Hog Day; such killings occur over and over yet nothing seems to change.

In the last hour our Great Leader stated flatly that “most state Governors are weak” calling for more force against demonstrators. Back in the early ’90s force was used to put down the Los Angeles rebellion after Rodney King; yet little has changed but the names since then.  If police seemed to learn anything about policing it certainly hasn’t shown in the last couple of months.  The attitude of too many cops is that their job is to sit on the cover of a garbage can.

But on to the subject of this post – the Presidential election.

Now Dyed Blond Don has “joked” many times about not leaving office. That a president would defy the results of an election has long been unthinkable; it is now, if not an actual possibility, at the very least something Trump’s supporters joke about.

The American Constitution spells out how the transfer of power is supposed to work. Article II provides that the president “shall hold his office for the term of four years.” The Twentieth Amendment says that the president’s and vice president’s terms “shall end at noon on the 20th day of January … and the terms of their successors shall then begin.” Of course, a president may be reelected to a second four-year term, but under the Twenty-Second Amendment, “no person shall be elected to the office of president more than twice.”

For nearly 250 years, presidents have respected the law. Even when electoral defeat has been unexpected and ignominious, presidents have passed the baton without acrimony. In a sense, perhaps this is the central achievement of the American system: to have transferred power peacefully from one leader to the next, without heredity to guide the way.

Upon leaving office after a heated campaign, George H. W. Bush left behind a letter to welcome Bill Clinton into the White House on January 20, 1993. It concluded, “You will be our president when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck.” Imagining such a gracious note from the current occupant of the White House to his successor is difficult.

Me neither.

Mike Huckabee tweeted, President Trump “will be eligible for a 3rd term due to the illegal attempts by Comey, Dems, and media , et al attempting to oust him as @POTUS.”  Jerry Falwell tweeted  “I now support reparations,” he wrote. “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”

Trump retweeted Falwell’s post and has joked about staying in office beyond his term, and even for life. In December, Trump told a crowd at a Pennsylvania rally that he will leave office in “five years, nine years, 13 years, 17 years, 21 years, 25 years, 29 years …”  O f course he was only doing it “to drive the media crazy” he said several days later.  But that’s how propaganda works; say something outrageous often enough and after awhile it doesn’t shock anyone.

It is the nightmare Democrats never think about, except when they’re Googling obscure Supreme Court opinions at 3 a.m., or talk about, except once a week with their therapists: What happens if Donald Trump loses reelection — and refuses to go? This is, after all, a president who, three years later, is still disputing the popular-vote totals in an election he won.

All kinds of complications present themselves if a president refuses to surrender power — a situation the Constitution, which has elaborate provisions for resolving a tie in the Electoral College, does not explicitly contemplate. A lot might depend on the margin of the victory; a close election obviously would be easier for Trump and his supporters to contest and discredit.  If the Democrats are to win and avoid problems,  they have to have a resounding victory.

The scenarios would play out differently at different points in the process. If the Electoral College votes and one or more individual state votes are in dispute, the issue could go to the Supreme Court, as it did in 2000. After the Electoral College votes it is up to Congress, sitting in joint session, to “certify” the outcome — generally a formality, but no one can say how it might play out if enough members of either party are convinced they’re being cheated.  Some are cautiously optimistic that even congressional Republicans, hitherto famously loyal to Trump, would regard a power grab at that stage as insupportable.

Who knows?

If Trump were inclined to overstay his term, the levers of power work in favor of removal. Because the president immediately and automatically loses his constitutional authority upon expiration of his term, he would lack the power to direct the U.S. Secret Service or other federal agents to protect him. He would likewise lose his power, as the commander in chief of the armed forces, to order a military response to defend him.

In fact, the newly minted president would possess those presidential powers. If necessary, the successor could direct federal agents to forcibly remove Trump from the White House. Now a private citizen, Trump would no longer be immune from criminal prosecution, and could be arrested and charged with trespassing in the White House. While even former presidents enjoy Secret Service protection, agents presumably would not follow an illegal order to protect one from removal from office.

Although Trump’s remaining in office seems unlikely, a more frightening—and plausible—scenario would be if his defeat inspired extremist supporters to engage in violence. One could imagine a world in which Trump is defeated in the 2020 election, call the election rigged  and rails about his ouster as a coup. His message would be amplified by right-wing media. If his grievances hit home with even a few people inclined toward violence, deadly acts of violence, or even terrorist attacks against the new administration, could result.

If it comes down to any of these eventualities, the memory of the election of 2000 is likely to weigh heavily on Democrats. In that year the Supreme Court, divided along partisan lines, halted a recount in the decisive state of Florida, leaving George W. Bush ahead by a few hundred votes. In the interest of national unity, Democrat Al Gore treated the matter as settled. He did not look for grounds for another lawsuit, or mount a public protest.

In the humble opinion of this old geezer we are in for a tough time if the election is close.  I suspect TV anchors will not be so ready to call states for either side on Election Day evening and it may be days until we have a declared winner.  If it is Biden I do not expect Trump or his water carriers to concede.

You don’t really think he’s going to concede do you?  If you do I have some swamp land out back I would like to offer to you for purchase.

Trump is already laying the groundwork to create a dispute by attacking mail in voting.

If he loses and finds a way to dispute the election and somehow stay in office it will represent the acsension of Augustus to Emperor status and the demise of the Roman Republic.  We will still have the trappings of liberty, a Senate and a House, but they will be impotent and simply act as camouflage to hide the throne.  And if he is re-elected he will be worse than ever.

We are living in interesting times.

Geez, I’m smart

.

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About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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5 Responses to What if Trump Loses and Won’t Leave? – from the Archive – 6/1/2020

  1. beetleypete says:

    I have followed your blog for a long time now, and so far you have never got anything wrong. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

  2. Don Ostertag says:

    The only thing you missed was inciting an armed take over of the Capital.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Hah Son; I got that.
      “Although Trump’s remaining in office seems unlikely, a more frightening—and plausible—scenario would be if his defeat inspired extremist supporters to engage in violence. One could imagine a world in which Trump is defeated in the 2020 election, call the election rigged and rails about his ouster as a coup. His message would be amplified by right-wing media. If his grievances hit home with even a few people inclined toward violence, deadly acts of violence, or even terrorist attacks against the new administration, could result.”

      I just didn.t the the place….. or the date.
      🙂
      Bestfrom Florida

      Liked by 1 person

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