Democrats float theory about Trump not accepting 2020 election defeat, as they refuse to accept election defeats – Washington Examiner
Chris Cillizza, in his role as CNN’s courier of conventional wisdom, on Monday gave voice to a theory being floated among Democrats that involves President Trump not conceding defeat in the 2020 presidential election, and then … well, that much is unclear.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., promoted this idea by telling the New York Times that going into the 2018 midterms the view of Democrats was, “If we win by four seats, by a thousand votes each, he’s not going to respect the election. [Trump] would poison the public mind. He would challenge each of the races; he would say you can’t seat these people,” she added. “We had to win. Imagine if we hadn’t won — oh, don’t even imagine. So, as we go forward, we have to have the same approach.”
The prospect of Trump not conceding in 2020 was the source of some debate on Twitter over the weekend, and then Cillizza sketched out a piece of fan fiction rooted in the idea that Trump has been willing to challenge political norms and raise questions about voter fraud with insufficient evidence in the past. He writes, “close your eyes and imagine this: Trump narrowly loses — by 20-ish electoral votes — in 2020. He refuses to concede, insists there has been widespread election fraud and notes that Democrats (and the media) have been trying to steal from him since he was elected in 2016. Doesn’t seem all that outlandish, does it?”
The first obvious reaction is, who cares? If Trump loses and has no legal basis to challenge the results, the electoral college outcome will be certified and power will turn over to the newly elected president on Jan. 20. After that, he will be tweeting into the wind, with no power to do anything about it.
I mean, I suppose Trump could barricade himself to the desk of the Oval Office and refuse to leave absent physical force. But for all the talk about how Trump challenges norms, in many cases he does so by his words rather than his actions. For instance, he’s often floated ideas about revisiting libel laws or cracking down on the press, but he has not followed through. He has excoriated legal decisions and the integrity of judges, only to go on to obey the court orders.
Sure, if Trump convinces his loyal followers that he was robbed, it would make any outcome more divisive to the country. That isn’t a good thing. But at the same time, the experience of the last few years has not been one of Democrats taking election results at face value.
We just got through a two-year investigation into the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia during the 2016 election, which Democrats have consistently used as a cudgel with which to raise questions about the legitimacy of his victory.
As my colleague Becket Adams details, Hillary Clinton is still pushing the idea that she was robbed, two and a half years after her defeat. “You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you,” she said.
That isn’t an isolated incident for Democrats.
Stacey Abrams is still insisting she was elected governor of Georgia last year and Andrew Gillum has raised questions about his race for governor in Florida. Sen. Kamala Harris, who could end up challenging Trump next year, said, “Let’s say this loud and clear: Without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia. Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida.”
It’s hard to see why, in principle, Trump losing in 2020 and claiming he really won would be different than what Clinton, Abrams, Gillum, and their supporters are doing. Either it’s a threat to democracy for losing candidates to question the integrity of elections or it isn’t.