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Trump Is Going To Cheat And If He Loses, He May Refuse To Step Down

As Democratic primary voters express concern about the electability of their candidates, they are ignoring the elephant in the room: Donald Trump is a weak candidate and is assembling a team of loyalists to help him cheat again in order to win the 2020 election.

Democrats worry about whether former Vice President Joe Biden will inspire young people, and about whether Senator Bernie Sanders will scare away old people. They debate whether a political revolution is necessary to energize the base, or whether the candidacy of a woman or a gay man take off or implode?

However, as columnist Sarada Peri writes in an op-ed in The Atlantic, “these concerns about policy and broad cultural appeal are secondary to the true “electability” crisis facing whichever Democrat wins the nomination: He or she will need to run against a president seemingly prepared, and empowered, to lie and cheat his way to reelection.”

Peri, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, points out that “Trump’s position is rather weak. A stronger candidate would be flying higher, given the economic recovery that began (and yielded greater success) under President Barack Obama’s watch. While Trump remains an untouchable, vengeful god within the Republican Party and is competitive in crucial battleground states, he is relentlessly divisive. He must win back the suburban voters who handed the House of Representatives to Democrats in 2018—an especially difficult task now that he’s released an Achilles’ heel of a budget that would cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and a host of other popular programs.”

From The Atlantic:

Voters must recognize that for Trump, facts may not matter. He will say absolutely anything necessary to attract and maintain support, including patent untruths. His pathological lying has been well documented and yet never ceases to stun. By one count, he has told more than 15,000 lies since taking office.

How can Democrats run against a candidate who will simply deny his unpopular positions and make up nonexistent accomplishments? No amount of fact-checking can counter his constant stream of mendacity, which has become white noise in our political culture.

The Democratic nominee will also have to contend with cheating. The many ways Trump pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable political behavior, breaking norms and maybe even laws along the way to get what he wants.

Trump was impeached for tying aid to Ukraine to that country’s investigation of the Biden family—that is, for trying to hurt his then-likely rival in the 2020 election. He was nonetheless acquitted by a Senate Republican majority.

Unleashed by his Republican enablers, Trump will only get worse. He and the whole Republican Party seem intent on using the power of government to assist in the president’s reelection.

Perhaps the most troubling form of cheating is the most diffuse, and therefore the hardest to grasp. Trump’s reelection campaign, abetted by right-wing media and companies like Facebook that have absolved themselves of any democratic responsibility, is waging a disinformation war modeled on the efforts of dictators and unprecedented in its scale. As reported by this magazine, the campaign is prepared to spend $1 billion to harness digital media to the president’s advantage, including bot attacks, viral conspiracy theories, doctored videos, and microtargeted ads that distort reality.

Should the lying and cheating fail—should the Democrat manage to win the 2020 election—Trump will have one more trick up his sleeve. Before the 2016 election, he suggested that he might not accept a defeat. So who’s to say that he will accept one in 2020? You don’t have to squint hard to see the clues: He retweeted Jerry Falwell Jr.’s suggestion that he ought to have two years added to his term and ofter tweets about staying in office longer than eight years. If he loses in November, the litigious showman might claim that the election was rigged against him and theatrically contest the results in court.

Peri concludes by saying that “electability, ultimately, cannot rest on the shoulders of whomever the party nominates, talented though that person may be. Electability does not depend, simply, on the nominee’s ability to earn the votes of a wide array of Americans in a few battleground states. It depends on all Americans’ willingness to demand an election that is, indeed, free and fair.”


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