The Trump strategy: saving face at the risk of losing everything

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Frédéric Arnould (access the author's page)

Donald Trump being what he is, a man who, as he himself said, doesn't like to lose, he doesn't give up, believes (or gives the impression of believing) that he has won and that he will be able to serve a second term.

Long before the results began to come in on the evening of November 3, he warned that there would surely be voter fraud … if he did not win the election. No one was therefore surprised when, the day after the election, despite Joe Biden's reasonable lead in the votes cast, he proclaimed that there was massive voter fraud.

About 20 court cases followed, most of which have already been brushed aside by judges, arguing that the prosecution had no evidence to show what it wanted to believe. Because until proven guilty, prosecutors bear the burden of proof, no offense to Republicans who blindly follow Donald Trump. A court case cannot be based on a verbal tirade riddled with baseless accusations.

The waltz of recounts

Three women hold up flags and placards.

Donald Trump's followers march through the streets in support of the president.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Arnould

Other lawsuits are under consideration, but they are likely to meet the same fate. In the meantime, the most wacky, imaginary and sometimes fabricated testimonies on supposed massive frauds have surfaced. As Donald Trump’s no good fact-checking, he retweets them, continuing to undermine the credibility of the US electoral system.

There have always been recounts during elections. If the Trumpists hope for a chance to reverse the results, they will be disappointed. Because these recounts, given the comfortable advances of Joe Biden on Donald Trump in the states targeted by the procedures, will not change anything in the end result. We are talking about maybe a few dozen or even hundreds of potentially mis-counted votes that will do nothing against the thousands or even tens of thousands of votes in favor of Joe Biden.

An inevitable schedule

Joe Biden T-shirts, mugs and more.

Products derived from Joe Biden's swearing-in already available in stores.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Arnould

The fact remains that by January 20, 2021, an unstoppable timetable leaves no doubt that Trump's reign in the White House is near. The first step involves certification of the election results by all 50 states. This varies according to the legislatures; some do it on November 20, others like Wisconsin wait until December 1.

The December 8 deadline was put in place in 1877 by Congress and marks the end of all disputes over results. Indeed, six days later, on December 14, the Electoral College then proceeds to the final count of the 538 votes, confirming in this case the victory of Joe Biden, since the latter exceeded 270 votes (306 if the Georgie endorses the win for Biden).

The fantasy that major voters would be tempted to switch sides by then by becoming unfaithful remains a fantasy. Because if in the past some have already voted for the opponent against all odds, in this case, it would have to be the case (unlikely) for dozens of major voters.

The final step then remains on January 6, when Congress will formalize the count of the 538 votes granted to each candidate, paving the way for the nomination on January 20, 2021.

Dropped by his party?

From that point on, it becomes almost impossible for a defeated president to argue against the numbers. It would be surprising if the Republican tenors, who have steadfastly supported Donald Trump so far, decide to go further.

The silence in which the majority of Republicans have walled themselves is so far justified to some extent. No one yet dares to step in the path of an unpredictable incumbent, as it could ruin the chances of some potential candidates who hope to run for the 2024 presidential election.

Trump, himself likely a candidate for a return to the White House, will do what he has always done in the face of the competition: destroy it with every nickname and other possible false accusations. You will surely remember Little marco Rubio, Low Energy Jeb Bush, Elizabeth Pocahontas Warren, Crooked Hillary, Sleepy Joe, the list goes on …

And make no mistake, Donald Trump can boast of having successfully brought more than 72 million Americans to the polls for him and his party. The man and his Trumpist doctrine are not about to disappear, his influence within the party is well established.

At the risk of losing the Senate?

One poster reads: Stop hating yourself for disagreeing.

A man illustrates with his poster the divisions of America.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Arnould

But the fact remains that, the eve of the fateful date of January 6, 2021, the second round of two senatorial elections will take place in Georgia. As neither candidate in the two races obtained 50% of the vote, they must again campaign for the January 5, 2021 election.

The result will be of paramount importance for the control of the Senate. If the Democrats win both races, Joe Biden therefore has both houses in his favor and free rein for his political program. Because in the event of a tie (50-50), the vice-president will decide in favor of the Democrats. If the Republicans win, then the Democrat will have a hard time pushing through bills and other measures.

Isn't there a danger for Republicans in letting the false suspense of Donald Trump's unlikely victory last over state-certified results last? Some believe Trump and a majority of Republicans will not let go before this special election in order to avoid the heartbreak and disaffection of the Republican electorate that would likely lead to a double Democratic victory.

Either way, expect a ruthless Senate campaign, in which Democrats will argue that the Constitution is on their side, a Constitution often put forward by die-hard Republicans who want to defend it. The political risk is real for them by playing it all. Losing the presidency, yes, but also taking the risk of losing control of the upper chamber?

Political heritage

Objects with the printed photos of Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

Souvenirs from Joe Biden's upcoming January opening are already on sale.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Frédéric Arnould

In short, to what extent is Donald Trump's political legacy worth this fight for the party? Should we expect him to exit the White House manu militari on January 20, 2021 if he still refuses defeat? The answer is up to him. And his party has a responsibility for the outcome of this whole thing.

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