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Elliot Benjamin is a philosopher, mathematician, musician, counselor, writer, with Ph.Ds in mathematics and psychology and the author of over 230 published articles in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, pure mathematics, mathematics education, spirituality & the awareness of cult dangers, art & mental disturbance, and progressive politics. He has also written a number of self-published books, such as: The Creative Artist, Mental Disturbance, and Mental Health. See also: www.benjamin-philosopher.com.
Could Trump “Steal” the Election?
An Integrative Perspective
Yesterday in no uncertain terms I got reminded of this nightmare scenario.
As there is now just a little over 3 months until the November 3rd United States 2020 presidential election and the Democratic candidate, former vice president Joe Biden, is way ahead of Trump in the polls nationally and is ahead of Trump in virtually all of the swing states , I had been feeling quite confident that Trump would get defeated in the upcoming election. The alarms that I have been continuously hearing about Trump not accepting the election results if he lost and trying to “steal” the election were not of major concern to me, as I had no doubt that the United States military would do whatever was necessary to make sure that Trump vacated the premises for Biden to take over on January 20, 2021, 11 weeks after the November 3rd election. However, I also knew that somewhere in the back of my mind there was an almost unbelievable nightmare scenario that I had heard about in which Trump could actually prevail for a second presidential term even if he lost the electoral college vote to Biden. But somehow I managed to stop myself from thinking about this consciously, until yesterday.
Yesterday in no uncertain terms I got reminded of this nightmare scenario. To put it simply, if the election is relatively close, which I believe is quite likely to happen, then Trump is setting the stage to claim that the votes in a number of crucial swing states are not valid due to voter fraud through mail-in ballots, etc. . Trump is very good at tying things up in court through legal battles to run out the clock, so that by the time of the December 14th required delegate casting of votes, the determination of who legitimately won in these swing states could very well not be determined. In this horrific (to me) case scenario, all it would take would be for a handful of Republican Trump supportive governor states that voted for Biden to decline to send their delegates to cast their votes on December 14th, consequently insuring that neither Trump nor Biden reached the magic number of 270 delegates to win the presidency. Subsequently, the House decides the winner, in which the unbelievably unfair (to me) system is invoked in which each state is allowed “one vote” that is determined by whether there is a majority of Democratic or Republican elected legislators in the state. Thus Wyoming with a population of 750,000 has the same representation as California with a population of 40 million. And the clincher is that there are 26 Republican majority states and 24 Democratic majority states. End of story.
Yes I believe this could happen. What is the antidote to avoid this catastrophic (to me) set of events? Well what I am hearing from the grassroots progressive Indivisible organization  is that the Democrats need a “tsunami” in 2020 to make absolutely sure that Trump is in no position to accomplish his above hypothetical actions. This “tsunami” would need to happen despite gerrymandering, Republican voter suppression, and foreign interference by Russia, China, and who knows who else. I would love to see this happen, but speaking realistically I would not bet on it. In this regard, a bipartisan group secretly gathered to game out a contested Trump-Biden election , and they entertained a number of perspectives, which is consistent with what I have previously described as an “integrative” perspective . Some of their determinations were as follows :
“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse. . . . The law is essentially. . . it's almost helpless against a president who's willing to ignore it. . . . Using a role-playing game that is a fixture of military and national security planning, the group envisioned a dark 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, one which Trump and his Republican allies used every apparatus of governmentthe Postal Service, state lawmakers, the Justice Department, federal agents, and the militaryto hold onto power, and Democrats took to the courts and the streets to try to stop it
. . . . He doesn't have to win the election. . . . He just has to create a plausible narrative that he didn't lose.”
The writer of the article describing the group's deliberations said the following :
“It is a fear that has been stoked by the president himself, who has repeatedly warned, without offering evidence, of widespread fraud involving mail-in ballotswhich voters are likely to use at unprecedented levels because the pandemic has made in-person voting a potential health riskto cast doubt on the results of November's election. 'I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election, I really do,' he told Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday. When asked if he would accept the election results, he said: 'I'll have to see.'”
Biden has issued similar foreboding warnings of his own :
“'This president is going to try to indirectly steal the election by arguing that mail-in ballots don't workthey're not real, they're not fair.” He has also mused publicly about Trump having to be escorted forcibly if need be, from the White House.”
This gaming project is called the Transition Integrity Project, and the project has gained impetus from Trump's “increased willingness to challenge mail-in ballots, and his administration has deployed federal forces to quell protests in front of the White House and in Portland, Ore., and has threatened to do so in other cities.” .
The actual details and logistics of the gaming project were described as follows :
“The game was elaborate. The participants took on the roles of the Trump campaign, the Biden campaign, relevant government officials, and the mediagenerally Democrats played Democrats and Republicans played Republicansand used a 10-sided die to determine whether a team succeeded in its attempted moves. The games are not meant to be predictive; rather, they are supposed to give people a sense of possible consequences in complex scenarios. Each scenario involved a different election outcome. An unclear result on Election Day that looked increasingly like a Biden win as more ballots were counted; a clear Biden win in the popular vote and the Electoral College; an Electoral College win for Trump with Biden winning the popular vote by 5 percentage points; and a narrow Electoral College and popular vote victory for Biden. In the scenarios, the team playing the Trump campaign often questioned the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which often boosted Biden as they came inshutting down post offices, pursuing litigation, and using right-wing media to amplify narratives about a stolen election. . . . The more demonstrations there were, the more demands for recounts, the more legal challenges there were, the more funerals for democracy were held, the more Trump came across as the candidate of stability. . . . Both sides turned out massive street protests that Trump sought to controlin one scenario he invoked the Insurrection Act, which allows the president to use military forces to quell unrest. The scenario that began with a narrow Biden win ended with Trump refusing to leave the White House, burning government documents, and having to be escorted out by the Secret Service.”
One of these gaming project scenarios has been described more directly in the following terms :
“Trump's love of manipulation prior to the election, cheating DURING the election, using FORCE during the election, then lying after the election, using his love of lawsuits immediately after the election, using his loyalist Trump governors and secretaries of states across the country, screaming RIGGED, STOLEN, ETC. to tie up the electoral college. . . . The polls tighten. The race is closer. Biden wins by 45 electoral votes spread across several purple states with 'Trump governors.' Trump immediately points at THOSE statesthe ones with Trump governorsas the ones that are 'RIGGED!' After all, Trump already told his supporters this would happen, he KNEW IT!! The states with Trump governors never get around to finalizing the winnerit's just too complex, like Florida in 2000, only there is 'no winner.' They can't pull off a 'Trump victory,' they just can't 'ensure a Biden win.' Thus, those states refuse to send delegates to vote in the electoral college. The United States Supreme Court rules only that the Electoral College votes on December 14, 2020, the electoral college votes. With those four states missing neither candidate gets 270 votes. . . . There will be 'two winners.' There will be Biden winning the vote itself, including consensus reality, and there will be Trump winning tying everything up to get to a House of Representatives vote win.'”
Now the writer of this article concludes by essentially reinforcing the Indivisible urgency of a Democratic “tsunami” that is needed to finally end Trump's presidency through the 2020 presidential election :
“Trump will NOT, under any circumstances, accept losing an election to Biden that is even remotely close. . . . the message is GOTV. The message is NOT 'there is nothing we can do but fight'no, it is get voters out bc yes, the vote can overwhelm the above scenario.”
This writer also humbly concluded by asking for people to share their disagreement with him over his described scenario :
“I love criticism. It means people care. I hope I'm wrong and delusional, and will listen carefully as to why the above scenario is unlikely. . . . thanks for people challenging the scenario. . . . I don't mind people thinking I'm wrong. I'm always learning. We should care enough to challenge each other.”
And I also invite differences of opinion about this scenario as well as the various gaming project scenarios. I hope that none of the above violently divisive scenarios happen, but I must say that they seem way too possible for me to discount. I fully realize that there are Integral World Trump supporters who read my articles, and I have engaged in a number of discussions with Trump supporters in the Comments section of my articles. I am fully willing to continue doing so as long as our communications are respectful, and I welcome hearing viewpoints from anyone who disagrees with the above scenarios, as I would love to be convinced that these dangers are not realistic. However, I also understand that there may be Integral World readers who agree with Trump about the dangers of fraudulent mail-in ballots, and the legitimacy of Trump declaring a fraudulent election if Biden wins the electoral college vote. But the bottom line here is that I am conveying my own perspective of alarm at Trump potentially manipulating the constitution of the United States to such a horrendous degree that he literally “steals” the election to gain a second presidential term.
Notes and References
1) See the following websites for Biden vs. Trump polling data on the general election and the top battleground states at www.realclearpolitics.com:
2) For the details of what I describe in this paragraph, see the 7/27/20 Boston Globe article by Jess Bidgood entitled “A Bipartisan Group Secretly Gathered To Game Out a Contested Trump-Biden Election. It wasn't Pretty,” at https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/07/25/nation/bipartisan-group-secretly-gathered-game-out-contested-trump-biden-election-it-wasnt-pretty/; and the article by 4CasandChlo entitled “You BETTER REALLY WORRY Trump Will Steal the 'election.' The Scenario Provided is 100% Wrong” at https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/7/26/1963884/-You-BETTER-REALLY-WORRY-TRUMP-Will-Steal-the-election-The-Scenario-Provided-is-100-WRONG
3) See the Indivisible website at www.indivisible.org and my Trump related Integral World articles at www.integralworld.net for more information about my involvement with Indivisible.
4) See the Boston Globe article by Jess Bidgood described in Note 2.
5) See my Integrative Perspective Integral World articles at www.integralworld.net
6) See the article by 4CasandChlo described in Note 2.