‘Brace Yourself’: Trump May Try To Invalidate Election Results If Dems Win, Ex-Congressman Says
President Donald Trump is rapidly losing favor among independent voters and his approval rating continues to sink despite a strong economy. Recent polls have suggested Republicans could lose their majority in Congress, leaving Trump without protection from prosecution over his alleged obstruction of justice.
If that happens, Trump may decide to do the unthinkable to save himself, according to former Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY).
In a column published by The Hill, Israel warns that Americans should “brace” for a constitutional crisis of epic proportions.
“Only two months away from the midterm elections, is it farfetched to consider whether President Trump would try to invalidate the results if Democrats win the House?”
Brace yourselves. Armed with the gavel in one hand and subpoenas in the other, a House Democratic majority represents an existential threat to Trump’s presidency. House Democrats will be able to look at his business dealings, his still secret tax returns, his financial relationships around the world and whether he’s using the White House to generate windfall profits for his private enterprises.
So far, Trump has browbeaten members of his own administration for seeming to uphold the rule of law. He can threaten to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but he can’t fire a House Democratic majority. Or can he? Remember the third presidential debate of 2016, when Trump was asked about “absolutely accepting” the results of the election? His answer: “What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
A day later, with the story of this potential rebuke of the democratic process spreading, Trump clarified his remarks at a rally: “I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win.”
Israel goes on to say that Trump is already “setting the stage for a sweeping delegitimization of a House Democratic majority.”
In July he tweeted, “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”
Of course, Trump lie. His tweet was no more than a blatant attempt to dismiss the fact that the likelihood that a House Democratic majority with the ability to pass tougher sanctions against Russian meddling in our elections is Putin’s nightmare.
Last week, Trump told evangelical leaders that if Democrats win the midterm elections, “they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently.” Apply his rhetoric to the very real possibility that, with so many closely competitive races, election night may be long and uncertain. Remember the special election in Ohio’s 12th District on Aug. 13? In what was assumed to be a comfortable Republican district, the outcome was too close to call for nearly three weeks.
Or how about the race last November that decided control of the Virginia House of Delegates? The Democratic candidate initially won by a single vote. Following a recount, the race was determined to be a tie. A court determined that the election would be determined by a drawing, specifically of the candidates’ names out of a bowl. Finally, in January, the Republican candidate’s name was drawn, and the Republicans now maintain a very narrow majority in Virginia’s lower house.
Even if a blue wave occurs, Republican redistricting advantages have fortified many seats, making them more competitive than they should be in a toxic environment for their party. Imagine if this unimaginable president seeks to muddle the results of close counts in the midterms. He could claim that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Russia’s Vladimir Putin cooked the outcome; encourage defeated Republicans not to accept defeat; demand that friendly state chief election officials take their time in determining a winner based on whatever baseless, unsubstantiated theories the president advances.
He could respond to every investigation, subpoena and act of Congress as the acts of an illegitimate, unelected Congress. Just as he refused to accept the number of votes he received in 2016, and just as he refused to accept the number of people who attended his inauguration in 2017, he can refuse to recognize the number of Democratic seats in 2019. Prepare yourselves for two years of tweets about the “Fake Congress.”
Read the entire column here.