A Constitutional Crisis: Trump Loses the Election but Refuses to Leave Office and . . . Then What?
I have always been an optimist, and sometimes had to deal with ribbing about this. But 2020 has stripped away that sunny view of the world, and Donald Trump (sigh), more than the virus, is the reason why.
I’ve known for some time, of course, that the man is a charlatan, cheating his way to the top, being so bad at running businesses that they always ended up in bankruptcy, succeeding only because his father’s death dumped a fortune into his hands just as he became a TV sensation for a weekly show demonstrating his cruelty. When Trump made business deals he subsequently told the other side that he would only pay a portion of what he had contracted to pay—take it or leave it—and that trying to sue him would only cost more than accepting his current offer and writing off the rest. Great way to do business. When Trump had a best seller with “The Art of the Deal” it subsequently turned out that he hadn’t actually written any of it; his “co-author” wrote it all, and that man is not even sure if Donald has even read the entire book. Same with Trump’s other books. He thinks it perfectly all right if you’re a “star” to attack women and “grab them by the pussy,” and is currently being sued by a number of these sexual assault victims. Right before he became president The Donald created Trump University where he took the savings of the people who trusted him most and then gave them nothing in return. While he was president he was forced to pay $25 million dollars to these hapless people to settle the three class action fraud suits that were brought against him (I teach these cases in my Consumer Law book as basic examples of common law fraud). I have posted before in this blog (see Related Posts below) about these incidents and the even crappier things he has done.
Stupidly, I assumed that when he became president Donald John Trump would “clean up his act,” give up spouting stupidity on Twitter, and work at being a respectable leader of the free world. We all know how that came out. Alas, Trump is not playing by the same rules as any other president we’ve ever had. He doesn’t care about the country, he doesn’t care about history (nor does he know much about it: at a ceremony at Pearl Harbor he had to be told what had happened there that made it special; he told the Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India that “at least you don’t have to worry about having a border with China”). As he faces reelection not a single living president has endorsed him—a first in American history.
Trump is interested in only one thing: his own adulation. Not the country, not the MAGA people who love him, not what is being said about him on a minute by minute basis. If it’s good, he will spread it like confetti all around him; if it’s bad he will declare it “fake news” and therefore not worth further discussion. He has been clocked at over 10,000 provable lies since he took office. Psychiatrists (and his niece, a psychologist) will tell you that he is mentally ill. He does outrageous things daily but we have become so inured to it that we just shrug: “Trump being Trump” (sigh). Never mind that he is making us look like idiots in the eyes of the world. Never mind that he is a fawning admirer of evil dictators all over the planet (he wrote fan letters to Putin long before he was elected president). Nothing he does is done for the American people. It is done to further inflate his Saturn-size ego. If something goes wrong other people caused that; if something goes right it proves he’s the best President the United States has ever had—everyone says so. The White House recently actually inquired as to what steps would have to be taken to add Trump’s face to the current four presidents on Mt. Rushmore.
So what does Donald Trump do if the corona virus pandemic, and his mishandling of same, has his ratings dropping dramatically and polls showing him losing to Joe Biden come November 3rd?
The answer, to Donald, is that that is unacceptable! It will not happen! Whatever will stop Biden and give that election to Trump will be done. If the usual methods of changing people’s minds won’t work, then that election must not choose Biden. It will choose Trump, or at least seem close enough to choosing Trump that he can claim the presidency for another four years and use the power of the presidency (particularly one with no restraints at all) to silence those who might cry foul. Hell, he might even get a third or fourth term if he can make a minor change to the Constitution.
So Donald John Trump will make sure that the results of this election November 3rd are not clear cut. And, among other things, he’s going to use the post office to do exactly that.
First he recently appointed a new head of the post office (aptly named “De-Joy”) who cares nothing about the mission of that agency but will do all he can to slow down its efficiency and create a major roadblock for a trouble-free election. Instead on election day there will be thousands (millions?) of uncounted ballots, and that counting will stop at the best moment to declare that Trump appears to be the winner. Subsequently the unexamined ballots will be immediately discarded as “too late,” or phony, or scams, or ___________ (fill in the blank—be creative). The ballots are counted state by state and the electors (the electoral college) send the result of each state’s tabulation to Washington. But if the states get hung up in battles (and they will—you and I both know it), lawsuits will be filed, state by state by state. That will take some time to resolve before we get to the next step.
Who gets to resolve this mess? Astoundingly, it’s Mike Pence (as Vice
President he is also “President of the Senate”) who eventually gets to announce
The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution provides:
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President . . . .
If Pence announces that in his estimation Donald Trump has won, chaos will explode. Think about it, blog readers. You thought 2020 was already a nightmare and then comes a constitutional crisis like this country have never before seen.
Democrats will howl and the public and media will join in on all sides, but Trump is the sitting president and he’ll have the final say about running the country until all is resolved. There will be lawsuits and requests for injunctions filed in multiple courts. Trump has already predicted these filings, adding “It could last for months . . . or years.” He’s actually looking forward to the firestorm. The Donald has always embraced long drawn-out lawsuits, particularly if it means that he continues as president until the last judge has spoken.
Trump wouldn't be happy at all were he to lose the election. He (and a number of his children) would likely go to jail. In New York major criminal investigations are underway to look at Trump taxes and financial dealings where false reporting or inflation of the value of assets, plus out and out lies to investors, are all under the legal microscope. Trump may be protected from indictment for crimes while in office, but come January 20, 2021, if he is not the man being sworn in as president he might seriously think about fleeing the country. Thus Donald J. Trump will do anything---and I mean anything---in the coming months to make sure that the election goes his way so he can continue the delighted dance pictured above.
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog”; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html
“Everyone Should Read Anonymous’s “A Warning”—An Insider’s Look at Trump’s White House,” December 16, 2019; https://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2019/12/everyone-should-read-anonymouss.html
“Comparing Donald Trump to a Badly Infected Big Toe,” August 3, 2016, http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/08/comparing-donald-trump-to-badly_3.html
“Trump University: A Fraudster for President”? March 10, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/03/trump-university-fraudster-for-president.html]