The New York Times is promoting a crazy conspiracy theory that President Trump, should he lose the election to Democrat Joe Biden on November 3, will not accept the result and block Biden’s access to the White House.
A group of “scenario planners,” the Times reported on Sunday, are trying to settle on options if Trump decides to refuse to leave the office and, presumably, declare himself a dictator.
Kooky as the idea sounds, the fake news that Trump will reject a valid election result reprises a similar narrative in 2016, when Trump drove the media crazy by saying he reserved the right to challenge a Clinton victory in court — just as Al Gore challenged George W. Bush’s victory in 2000.
In October, President Trump declares a state of emergency in major cities in battleground states, like Milwaukee and Detroit, banning polling places from opening.
A week before the election, Attorney General William P. Barr announces a criminal investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
After Mr. Biden wins a narrow Electoral College victory, Mr. Trump refuses to accept the results, won’t leave the White House and declines to allow the Biden transition team customary access to agencies before the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Far-fetched conspiracy theories? Not to a group of worst-case scenario planners — mostly Democrats, but some anti-Trump Republicans as well — who have been gaming out various doomsday options for the 2020 presidential election. Outraged by Mr. Trump and fearful that he might try to disrupt the campaign before, during and after Election Day, they are engaged in a process that began in the realm of science fiction but has nudged closer to reality as Mr. Trump and his administration abandon longstanding political norms.
Why do these Democrats and hate-Trump Republicans think Trump will refuse to accept the election?
Because he has rightly questioned the integrity of mail-in ballots with virtually no security measures to ensure a fair vote. Thus, “the anxiety has intensified in recent weeks” over a possible Trump dictatorship.
The brains behind the idea is Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University, the Times reported. “In the eight to 10 months I’ve been yapping at people about this stuff, the reactions have gone from, ‘Don’t be silly, that won’t happen,’ to an increasing sense of, ‘You know, that could happen,’” she told the Times.
And so “earlier this year, Ms. Brooks convened an informal group of Democrats and never-Trump Republicans to brainstorm about ways the Trump administration could disrupt the election and to think about ways to prevent it.”
Yet the “anxiety” over the impending Trump Tyranny “is hardly limited to outside groups,” the Times explained:
Marc Elias, a Washington lawyer who leads the Democratic National Committee’s legal efforts to fight voter suppression measures, said not a day goes by when he doesn’t field a question from senior Democratic officials about whether Mr. Trump could postpone or cancel the election. Prodded by allies to explain why not, Mr. Elias wrote a column on the subject in late March for his website — and it drew more traffic than anything he’d ever published.
But changing the date of the election is not what worries Mr. Elias. The bigger threat in his mind is the possibility that the Trump administration could act in October to make it harder for people to vote in urban centers in battleground states — possibilities, he said, that include declaring a state of emergency, deploying the National Guard or forbidding gatherings of more than 10 people.
Such events could serve to depress or discourage turnout in pockets of the country that reliably vote for Democrats.
To ward off such a scenario, Mr. Elias is engaged in multiple lawsuits aimed at making it easier to cast absentee ballots by mail and making in-person voting more available, either on Election Day or in the preceding weeks.
Biden Not Helping
Meanwhile, Biden, now ridiculed as Joe Sneakyfingers because of former staffer Tara Reade’s sex-assault allegation, says “Trump might try to disrupt or delay the election, the Times reported:
[Biden’s] campaign grew very concerned this month when it was announced that election security briefings, which in past cycles had been delivered to candidates by the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, would now be the province of the director of national intelligence. That post is currently held by John Ratcliffe, a Trump ally who was confirmed to the position on Thursday. Mr. Ratcliffe was among the president’s chief Fox News defenders during the Russia investigation and has been a sharp critic of the F.B.I.
A top Biden legman told the Times that Trump will “resort to any kind of trick, ploy or scheme he can in order to hold onto his presidency. We have built a strong program to plan for and address every possibility to ensure that he does not succeed.”
The latest crackpot conspiracy theory is similar to the one the media peddled on behalf of Hillary Clinton in 2016.
When Trump said in 2016 that he reserved the right to challenge the election result, if he thought the voting was rigged, as Gore did in 2000, the media spun the remarks into a major story. “To say you won’t respect the results of the election, that is a direct threat to our democracy,” Clinton said.
But Trump never said that. “Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result, right?” he said. “And always, I will follow and abide by all of the rules and traditions of all of the many candidates who have come before me. Always.”
Of course, it was Clinton’s supporters and Democrats, as Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said, who refused to accept the result by rioting and burning cars in the Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, concocting the Russian “collusion” hoax, then attempting a coup d’etat by impeaching Trump and even discussing removing him under the 25th amendment to the Constitution.
Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams and the entire Democratic Party refused to accept the results of their elections and pushed the Russia collusion conspiracy theory for years. Now Joe Biden’s allies have formed actual conspiracy committees where they’ll work up new hoaxes to further undermine our democracy. They are wasting their time. As President Trump has repeatedly said, the election will happen on Nov. 3.
Abrams famously refused to concede when Governor Brian Kemp defeated her in 2018.
Photo: AP Images
R. Cort Kirkwood is a long-time contributor to The New American and a former newspaper editor.