Mist. 51.8   F New York
AI-Powered News Summarizer
Top Stories

'Things could get very ugly': Experts fear post-election crisis as Trump sets the stage to dispute the results in November

July 20, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Voting experts and political strategists from across the political spectrum are increasingly alarmed about the potential for a disputed presidential election in November, one in which one candidate openly questions the legitimacy of the results or even refuses to concede.

Washington (CNN)Voting experts and political strategists from across the political spectrum are increasingly alarmed about the potential for a disputed presidential election in November, one in which one candidate openly questions the legitimacy of the results or even refuses to concede.

These experts are keenly aware of President Donald Trump's well-documented history of lying about voter fraud and claiming that elections were "rigged" when he doesn't like the outcome.

Interviews with nearly 20 election experts, former lawmakers, political strategists, legal scholars and historians indicate there are widespread fears of a nightmare scenario in November, where Trump's norm-breaking behavior -- coupled with the unprecedented challenges of pandemic-era voting -- test the limits of American democracy and plunge the country into a constitutional crisis.

As Trump slides in the polls, he already declared that his matchup this fall against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden "will be the most rigged election in our nation's history. " Trump's messaging, coupled with his past behavior, has insiders contemplating what he'll do if he loses.

"If it's a very close election, there's no question in my mind that he'll contest it," said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a CNN contributor who backed Trump in 2016 and supports his reelection.

With all these changes, experts see an opening for Trump to dispute the results, even if the election isn't marred by widespread fraud, which is essentially a non-factor in US elections.

Trump has been candid about his views on expanding mail-in voting: He has repeatedly said it threatens his reelection chances and would hurt Republicans across the board, even though nonpartisan experts say neither party typically gets an automatic boost from postal voting.

To prevent these perceived losses, Trump pleaded with states to restrict mail-in voting by falsely claiming it is plagued by "massive fraud and abuse" and leads to "rigged elections. " His efforts have been unsuccessful.

Presidential election, 2012: Trump backed Republican nominee Mitt Romney and spread false conspiracies on Election Day that machines were deleting Romney votes.

After the vote, Trump said, "Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it," and accused Cruz of committing "fraud. " Trump called for a new election, said Cruz's results should be "nullified" and said "the State of Iowa should disqualify" Cruz.

Presidential election, 2016: At the final debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump infamously refused to commit that he would accept the results.

Florida Senate election, 2018: On election night, Florida Republican Rick Scott led Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 38,000 votes, with many ballots still uncounted.

But Trump quickly claimed there was massive "fraud" and "corruption," and accused Democrats of "stealing" the election by "finding" new votes.

Trump declared that the election "should be called in favor of Rick Scott" and said Florida "must go with Election Night" results.

In a June interview, Biden said his "single greatest concern" is that Trump will "try to steal this election," adding, "We might not know who won Pennsylvania . . .

Trump said in response that he'd "go on and do other things" if he loses, and a campaign spokesman said, "President Trump has been clear that he will accept the results of the 2020 election. " But Trump undermined that on Sunday.

No presidential nominee has ever refused to accept defeat, historians said, not even after the bitterly disputed 1876 election, which saw widespread vote-rigging by both parties and was resolved just two days before the inauguration.

These experts also said congressional Republicans will play an important role in influencing Trump's behavior after the election.

"Once we have confirmed results, should Biden win in a fair election, it'll be incredibly important for Republicans on Capitol Hill to accept those results and participate in the peaceful transition of power," said Amanda Carpenter, a CNN contributor who was a top adviser to Cruz and other conservative Republicans before turning on Trump and raising the alarm about his behavior.

Summarizer is on Google News. Now you can get the latest AI summarized news on your favorite news platform.

Don't like Google News? We have an RSS Feed for you.

Suggestions