R&I – FS
President Trump’s campaign is discussing “contingency plans” that would involve bypassing the result of November’s election, reports The Atlantic.
The report delves into possible scenarios if Trump apparently loses the 2020 presidential election but doesn’t concede, noting that although we’re used to electors being selected based on the popular vote, “nothing in the Constitution says it has to be that way.” Citing Republican Party sources, The Atlantic says that Trump’s campaign is “discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.”
The campaign would reportedly assert that this step was necessary due to claims of supposed voter fraud, which experts have noted is extraordinarily rare, ahead of the “safe harbor” deadline to appoint 538 electors on Dec. 8.
“Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly,” The Atlantic reports. “The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.”
A Trump campaign legal adviser who spoke to The Atlantic said that in this scenario, “the state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state.” Lawrence Tabas, chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, also told The Atlantic he has discussed the direct appointment of electors with the Trump campaign, saying, “I’ve mentioned it to them, and I hope they’re thinking about it too.” The Trump campaign said it is “fighting for a free and fair election.”
This potential scenario is just one part of the broader piece in which experts warn “conditions are ripe for a constitutional crisis.” Read more at The Atlantic.