Joe Biden Warns About November Nightmare
Author: Greg Valliere
June 11, 2020
A DISPUTED ELECTION? As if there isn’t enough instability already — with the economy still fragile, with the coronavirus making a comeback, with police under fire — here comes yet another issue to worry about: the growing chances of a disputed election outcome in November.
IN THE WAKE OF GEORGIA’S ELECTION DEBACLE on Tuesday, Joe Biden took off the gloves last night. “The president is going to try to steal this election,” the former vice president said in an appearance on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.”
BIDEN PREVIOUSLY EXPRESSED CONCERN that President Trump could postpone the election, but he apparently now thinks Trump could cite fraud and refuse to leave office. He was asked: how would the military respond? “I’m promise you, I’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” Biden said last night.
THIS CAME ON THE SAME DAY as a furious assault by Trump on CNN, which
published a poll showing Biden ahead by 14 points. Trump demanded a retraction and an apology for what he called a “misleading poll.” (Most other polls have a smaller Biden lead; the RealClearPolitics aggregate of all polls has Trump trailing by 8.1 points).
UNCHARTED WATERS: Voting during a pandemic obviously will be a challenge, and states like Georgia and Pennsylvania, which have experienced great election difficulties, could be the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. Voters stood in long lines this week to vote in Georgia, and officials in Pennsylvania seemingly have given up on producing results quickly.
THE BIGGEST ISSUE, HOWEVER, is mail-in ballots, which Trump asserts are fraudulent. Large-scale voting by mail “would be a free-for-all on cheating, forgery and the theft of ballots,” Trump said last week. “Whoever cheated the most would win.” There’s little evidence to support that assertion, but Trump’s argument was bolstered yesterday by reports that 80,000 absentee ballots sent to North Carolina voters were illegitimate.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: We talk with people in this town who think a razor-thin Biden victory, with recounts in two or three states, would almost certainly prompt Trump to cry fraud because of write-in ballots that may have helped Biden in several states.
THIS IN TURN could prompt Trump to instruct Attorney General William Barr to seek an injunction, with appeals going up to the Supreme Court (which decided the
2000 election). This is Biden’s great fear — the conservative high court deciding the election — so he’s stirring up his base early, hoping for a high voter turnout.
FOR NOW, WE’LL GIVE THIS NIGHTMARE SCENARIO a 25% chance of happening; chances certainly are not zero. With the coronavirus still very much in the picture, this will not be a traditional election — still another wild card in this year without precedent.
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