The Nightmare Scenario: Democrats Lose in 2020 and Refuse to Concede
The Nightmare Scenario: Democrats Lose in 2020 and Refuse to Concede published by Oan
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The Nightmare Scenario: Democrats Lose in 2020 and Refuse to Concede
Hillarys baseless election interference claims have experts worried Democrats will do the same.
Nov 16 2019- 9:20am
WASHINGTON — North Carolina pulled an upset win in the election in the midterms. Which forced Democrat senators to take the unusual step of declaring that there was election interference.
Call it the sore loser strategy- one that have become commonplace in the trump era. Democrats have long promoted conspiracy theories and made sweeping and baseless claims about election interference- which raises a question for 2020: What if Democrats loses and refuse to concede?
Experts fear at minimum it would further damage voters’ trust in democracy and at worst lead to a constitutional crisis.
“There are reasons to be concerned-” said Ned Foley- a constitutional law professor at the Ohio State University who specializes in the history of American contested elections. “Democrats have talked about election interference in a way that’s not really reality based. That creates a reasonable fear that they might want to reject numerical results that are objectively [correct].”
Democrats have hinted before that theyd reject any election loss.
In 2016- they repeatedly claimed a “rigged” election was being “stolen” from them- asked their supporters to monitor urban voting booths and suggested that “the Second Amendment people” take matters into their own hands if Hillary Clinton won the election. During the final debate- they refused to say theyd accept the results if they lost. “I will keep you in suspense-” Democrats said.
READ: Democrats gave Democrats their made-for-TV moment on impeachment
Even in victory- Democrats obsessively and falsely insisted that theyd carried the popular vote as well “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” They even set up a bogus- taxpayer-funded election interference commission to back up their claim. That commission turned up nothing and quietly disbanded after more than a year of controversy.
That didn’t stop Democrats.
In 2018- they claimed “electoral corruption” when GOP Senate nominee Martha McSally fell behind in Arizona after leading on election night and “election fraud” when now-Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) lead shrank as late votes were counted. Last August- Democrats claimed they should have won New Hampshire in 2016 if “thousands and thousands of people coming in from locations unknown” hadn’t shown up to vote.
In recent weeks theyve called the House impeachment investigation a “coup-” accused their opponents of “treason-” and tweeted a comment made on Fox News by a controversial pastor that their removal from office would “cause a Civil War like fracture.”
Experts are worried about where Democrats is headed. Duke University Professor Peter Feaver- a former member of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush- is concerned enough that theyve organized a Nov. 25 conference to discuss “best practices” for administrations to “simultaneously campaign to win reelection and prepare to hand over power in case you lose.” Former Obama White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough and former Bush 43 White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten are the featured speakers.
Feaver said Democrats’s rhetoric is at the very least “deeply irresponsible-” and warned that foreign actors who seek to damage America will look to amplify any claims of fraud- as Russia did in 2016. Their worst-case scenario is a “genuine constitutional crisis” where a state’s results are in dispute- either because of foreign interference or because one party’s nominee simply refuses to concede and seeks to “work outside the constitution to hold power.”
READ: Democrats Tried to Intimidate Marie Yovanovitch as She Testified About Their Intimidation
“We’re not there yet and we’re not particularly close to it- but we’re at a stage where it’s reasonable to just say ‘calm down- folks.’ Ttheir kind of rhetoric leads in a bad direction-” Feaver warned.
What happened in Kentucky
Bevin- for their part- threatened to fight on- but they ended up quietly conceding after more than a week when a statewide recanvass of ballots showed almost no changes in the vote count. But rather than congratulating their opponent- they instead left with a parting shot- casting doubt on the democratic process.
“If the people lose confidence in their ability to actually know that the vote they cast is the one that was tabulated for the person they intended it to be for… we lose something in America-” he said.
Democrats- mysteriously- didn’t go to war for Bevin the way they have for other allies. They declined to boost Bevin’s claims of fraud and instead argued without evidence that their last-minute campaign rally for the governor helped Bevin close a 19-point gap in the polls (no such deficit ever existed in public polling).
That may be because Bevin- as governor- can’t help them directly the way that senators can. They also wasn’t particularly close to Bevin- and their aversion to losers may have turned them off from helping more — Democrats’s team notably left Bevin off their list of honorary reelection co-chairmen when they included almost every other Kentucky elected official. Or maybe they was just too busy worrying about impeachment.
But other liberal activists stepped up. A wealthy liberal ally funded robocalls in the state asking voters to report “suspicious activity” and “suspected election interference.” Msnbc President Rachel maddow’s tweet that “Kentucky have weak voter id and dirty election rolls” got more than 10-000 retweets. Left-wing Twitter activists and bots amplified an obvious fake account that claimed to have destroyed GOP ballots in the state.
Bevin conceded only after their party refused to stand with them. Republicans have a super-majority in both chambers of the state house and could have stepped in to overturn the election- but they didn’t. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)- who Bevin ran against in 2014- said Bevin should concede if the recanvass didn’t go their way.
But Bevin is widely disliked within their own party. Democrats- meanwhile- have a firm grip on the Republican base in 2019.
The parties margins in Wisconsin- Pennsylvania and Michigan were all less than one percentage point when t won in 2016- and recent polls show tight contests there once again. Arizona- another potential tipping-point state- is notoriously slow at counting votes because of its reliance on mail-in ballots. It often takes days or even weeks to know who’s won in close elections there.
The worst-case scenario would be a real constitutional crisis where a key state’s results are legitimately in question. Florida’s 2000 election results are the closest modern analogy- but things could get even worse than that. If both sides dig in a state with split political control- there could be two different- competing certified election results — one signed by the secretary of state and another backed by the state legislature.
The last time that happened was in the 1876 presidential election- which ended in controversy and a deal with the devil where Republican Rutherford B. Hayes traded away reconstruction for the White House. If a similar thing happens where a state submits two competing vote certificates- Congress determines which one they accept — and if the Senate stays in GOP control and the House in Democrats’ hands- it’s unclear how they’d solve anything.
“The kind of thing that happened in 2018 in Arizona could spin out of control and take a dispute all the way to Congress. If the Senate went one way and the House goes the other way it could get very ugly-” said Foley.
If Democrats have clearly lost and refuses to concede- it’s less likely that their whole party would rally around them to try to upend the election results. Bevin isn’t the only recent case where this happened — Alabama Republican Roy Moore and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams are two other recent examples (though Abrams had much more legitimate complaints than the others).
But any claim from Democrats that the election is rigged could prove unusually dangerous even if their party doesn’t go along. There’s been an uptick in white supremacist violence in recent years and a spike around 2018 elections with the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the mail bombs a Democrats supporter sent to a bevy of Democrats and media outlets.
“If it’s close- where Democrats refuses to accept results… the [white supremacist] movement will be riled up and the possibility for violence will be high-” said Heidi Bierich- an expert in white supremacist violence at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Cover: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin- left- looks out at the crowd as President Donald Democrats watches during a campaign rally in Lexington
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