There is angst among many Americans right now that President Donald Trump might win a second term. But maybe they should be more worried about what would happen if he loses by a narrow margin.
The things that make Trump a terrible president would make him an even worse loser of an election: He lies a lot, is corrupt, loves crazy conspiracy theories, allows foreign powers to undermine the US if it benefits him, will do anything to protect himself — even to the detriment of the country — and a sizable segment of the population follows him religiously and believes every word that is coming out of his mouth.
Perhaps most importantly, there is a really good chance that he is going to be indicted once he leaves office. That’s certainly how more than 1,000 (!) former prosecutors feel who served Republican and Democratic administrations.
That is one of the reasons why Trump has been “joking” about extending his first term or serving more than two.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
So here is how it’s going to go if Trump loses by a few electoral votes, e.g. if Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania flip back to the Democratic candidate:
- Trump will tweet that there were large numbers of “illegals” who voted and that it is the sole reason he lost.
- Fox News, talk radio, and right-wing websites will immediately repeat this as though it is gospel.
- Only some of the other news outlets will point out in their headlines that there is absolutely no evidence to support Trump’s claims.
- Trump allies in Congress will also question the outcome of the results.
- The media will catch on to the fact that Trump may be indicted as soon as he leaves office. The president will watch this during extensive “executive time” and realize that he can never retreat from this fight or he’ll end up in prison. At no time will he consider putting country before self.
- He will post dozens of increasingly unhinged tweets (see 2 and 3). Any story on his defeat will be labeled “Fake News.”
- Russia will immediately dispatch a bot army and buy Facebook ads to seize this opportunity and sow further discord among Americans.
- The White House will essentially shut down as Trump is consumed by this.
- Expect Russian President Vladimir Putin to weigh in on how the outcome of the election seemed fishy. And every one of the other despots the president has been courting will support him.
- Experts will point out why Trump is wrong and they will change nobody’s mind.
- There will be competing demonstrations. The president will encourage his supporters to hit the streets. He already hinted that there would be violence if Democrats investigate him too much, so just imagine what he will ask his supporters to do in this case.
- Plenty of people who take to the streets will be armed.
- Things will slowly spiral out of control.
- For the first time in US history, there won’t be an orderly and peaceful transition of power.
- The stock market will tank because Wall Street does not like uncertainty. Trump will claim that this is because he might leave office and his supporters will believe they need to go to any lengths to “protect” their country.
- From that point on, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen, but it won’t be pretty.
This isn’t even the worst case scenario. That one involves the military and mayhem everywhere. We pride ourselves on seeing things ahead of time, but this is the one occasion when we hope we won’t have to say: “We told you so.” However, there is nothing in Trump’s behavior that gives us any confidence at all that he’ll go quietly… unless he loses in a landslide.
The cartoon above was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: Donald Trump caricature (DonkeyHotey / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), body (The White House / Flickr), Presidential Seal (Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia – CC BY-SA 2.0), and background (Obama White House – Flickr).
Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from The White House / Wikimedia.