Ignoring for a moment what actually happened on Election Day — and what actually could happen in the future — we want to take a moment to explore two of many potential paths that we believe were the most likely to have unfolded. One follows Joe Biden after an historic victory that could not be doubted. The other follows Donald Trump, who used the structure of our own government to steal an election he lost — both through the popular vote and electoral college — to ignore what was to be Joe Biden’s shining moment.
For the first scenario to unfold, what needed to happen was simple: a landslide victory on Election Day. Why? Because the Trump strategy was all about throwing out any votes after Election Day (most of which would predictably have been blue) in order to keep what looked like an Election Day electoral college victory from turning into a defeat when all the votes were counted.
A landslide would prevent such a reality from transpiring. Biden would need purple states like Texas to really seal the deal when it mattered most. Waiting for a win weeks later would be dangerous.
And as for the second scenario, perhaps originally seen as even more likely as the first, there’s the obvious question: how could Trump possibly get away with throwing away votes? Oddly enough, it’s one of the only truly scandalous actions he could take during his presidency that would actually be legal. It would have Super NOVA like consequences of course, but they might even seem like business as usual nowadays.
The plot has to do with who controls state legislatures in the vast majority of swing states. Who does, you ask? Republicans. And therein lies the problem. Even before the election took place, they publicly announced plans to send electors to vote for Trump over Biden if they thought that best represented the outcome of the popular vote in their own states. In other words, even if Biden got the votes needed to win the electors in that state, the legislature would cry foul based on non-existent fraudulent voting, and then send the electors to vote for Trump anyway.
That’s how a once-proud Democracy dies. The worst part? GOP constituents openly acknowledge that they receive most of their news directly from the president himself. In other words, they believe everything that comes out of his mouth. Everyone on the other side of the aisle knows he’s lying — because 99 percent of the time he’s caught on camera or in print doing it — but what really matters most is the people who don’t know. Because those are the people who wanted to vote for him, and those are the people who were willing to throw away Democratic tradition to keep him in power for another four years.
The Democratic process, then, in this scenario, would place its success or failure on entities like the Republican-controlled Senate or the Conservative-led Supreme Court. Three of the nine members of the Supreme Court were nominated by Trump. Would they ever really threaten his presidency, dually elected or not?