Sunday, October 11, 2020

Top Democrats Contemplate Civil War If Biden Loses

by Rod Williams - Everyone who follows the news knows of the liberal fear or fake posturing fear that that if Trump loses the election, especially that if he loses by a thin margin, that he will refuse to leave office and we will have a crisis. 

Part of this is Trump's own fault.  When asked if he would relinquish his office if he loses the election  he has said, "We'll see."  Trump is not very good at articulating a nuanced response and explaining complex issues. He should have said, "First of all the question is insulting.  But of course, I will follow the law.  If I lose we will of course have a normal transfer of power and a smooth transition.  However, if the Democrats attempt to steal the election and the outcome is in doubt on inauguration day we may have to wait until the Courts untangle some legal issues. I am going to respect the constitution but I will fight back if the outcome is still in doubt following the election.   I fully expect to win, however, and do not expect a crisis."

That is just not Trump's style. When asked a stupid insulting question he snaps back.  I would have not been very surprised if he would of said. "Hell no, I'd not leaving. I am going to be President for life and following the election you better pack your bags for the Gulag." His fans would have loved it.  That like his take-no-bullshit approach. 

In addition to Trumps own inarticulate response to an insulting question, the main source of the fear that Trump would not peacefully transition resulted from a scenario posited by something called "The Transition Integrity Project."

 (TIP) was a series of June 2020 political scenario exercises involving over 100 current and former senior government and campaign leaders, academics, journalists, polling experts and former federal and state government officials.  There were several prominent Republicans in among the participants but they were "never Trumpers."  There were no Trump loyalist among the body.

The exercises examined potential disruptions to the 2020 United States presidential election and transition. This is where the theory was developed that Trump would try to hold on to power if he lost the election. Informed people are familiar with that theory. Less know is the scenario that ask what will happen if there is a clear Trump win.  This is how Wikipedia explains it.
Game Three: Clear Trump Win. The third scenario started with an Electoral College victory for President Trump (286 to 252), but a popular vote win (52% to 47%) for former Vice President Biden. In this scenario Biden refused to concede, convinced the Democratic governors of two states that Trump won to send separate slates of electors to the Electoral College, encouraged three states to threaten secession and convinced the House of Representatives to refuse to certify the election and declare Biden the victor." 

This is pretty fascinating and I think it is a real possibility.  If the election does lead to civil war, this is likely the way it happens. The participant to articulate this theory was Democrat John Podesta. He was White House Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001 and Counselor to President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2015.  This of course does not mean Podesta nor his team believes this is what will happen. The whole project was "war games" or playing "what if." Here is the theory from the report itself:

Game Three: Clear Trump Win 

The third scenario posited a comfortable Electoral College victory for President Trump — 286-252 — but also a significant popular vote win—52% - 47%--for former Vice President Biden. The game play ended in a constitutional crisis, with threats of secession, and the potential for either a decline into authoritarianism or a radically revamped set of democratic rules that ensure the popular will prevails (abolishment of the Electoral College, making DC and Puerto Rico states, and other changes). Key moves and actions include:

Turn One: The Trump Campaign had two main objectives at the outset of the scenario. The first priority was to legitimize the Electoral College results by pushing narratives that cast doubt on former Vice President Biden’s popular vote victory and portraying wide-spread protests of President Trump as anti-American, undemocratic, and promoting mob rule. The Trump Campaign planted agent provocateurs into the protests throughout the country to ensure these protests turned violent and helped further the narrative of a violent insurrection against a lawfully elected president.

The second Trump Campaign priority was to consolidate power to reduce or eliminate the “Deep State” and broader institutional resistance to President Trump’s agenda for his second term. Specific measures included selective promotions of military personnel with “pro-American views”, rushing judicial nominations, increasing financial incentives to big business, and working with states to maximize GOP control through redistricting. The GOP Elected Officials team was supportive of Trump’s efforts to crack down on protests. Establishing “law and order” and defeating the “anarchists” was a unifying call. But they pressed President Trump to “slow down” on the campaign’s more aggressive and overt efforts to consolidate power, partly out of concern that they would lose the support of moderate Democrats needed to publicly declare Trump’s victory legitimate.

The most consequential action of the first turn was the Biden Campaign’s retraction of its election night concession. It capitalized on the public’s outrage that for the third time in 20 years a candidate lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College. They also capitalized on concern about widespread voter suppression before and on Election Day. The Biden Campaign began the game by encouraging three states with Democratic governors—North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Michigan—to ask for recounts. As the game developed, governors in two of the three (Wisconsin and Michigan) sent separate slates of electors to counter those sent by the state legislature. The GOP failed to convince moderate Democrats in the House to break ranks with the Democratic resistance and support Trump’s electoral victory, much to the GOP’s surprise.

Part of the strategy here was to attack the Electoral College and to claim that the certified popular votes in these states were questionable because of voter suppression. At the end of the first turn, the country was in the midst of a full-blown constitutional crisis characterized by: 1) Political chaos; 2) Widespread threats of violence, and sporadic actual violence in the streets; and 4) A hostile, dangerous, highly-partisan, and frequently unconstrained information and media environment.

Turns Two and Three: The Biden Campaign encouraged Western states, particularly California but also Oregon and Washington, and collectively known as “Cascadia,” to secede from the Union unless Congressional Republicans agreed to a set of structural reforms to fix our democratic system to ensure majority rule. With advice from President Obama, the Biden Campaign submitted a proposal to:
1) Give statehood to Washington, DC and Puerto Rico;
2) Divide California into five states to more accurately represent its population in the Senate;
3) Require Supreme Court justices to retire at 70; and
4) Eliminate the Electoral College, to ensure that the candidate who wins to the popular vote becomes President.
As the scenario evolved, the Trump Team focused its efforts on driving a wedge into the disparate and, in the view of many participants, fragile Democratic coalition. For example, during the second turn, Trump gave an interview to The Intercept in which he stated that he would have lost the election if Bernie Sanders had been nominated. The Trump Team’s approach in turns two and three also emphasized creating the conditions to force the Biden Campaign into taking provocative, unprecedented actions—such as supporting California’s secession or sending a second slate of electors—that played into a broader narrative of the Democrats attempting to orchestrate an illegal coup.
The team also tried to position President Trump as a “unifier”—working with top CEOs, holding a unifying event at the Lincoln Memorial, offering to establish a commission to review electoral rules—and as prioritizing safety and security in the face of radical groups supporting Joe Biden and trying to destroy America.
One of the most consequential moves was that Team Biden on January 6 provoked a breakdown in the joint session of Congress by getting the House of Representatives to agree to award the presidency to Biden (based on the alternative pro-Biden submissions sent by pro-Biden governors). Pence and the GOP refused to accept this, declaring instead that Trump was reelected under the Constitution because of his Electoral College victory. This partisan division remained unresolved because neither side backed down, and January 20 arrived without a single president-elect entitled to be Commander-in-Chief after noon that day. It was unclear what the military would do in this situation. 

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