According to Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky, it would not be surprising if Donald Trump attempted to hold onto the presidency should he lose the 2020 election, fearful of being slammed with multiple criminal charges that could not be filed while he was president.
In a column speculating how that might play out, the columnist said that Trump would need the help of the Republican Party -- and he might just get it.
As the columnist sees it, if polling just before the election shows Trump may lose he will likely start the daily drumbeat of voter fraud accusations just as he did in 2016 when he lost the popular vote, but gained the Oval Office.
"Trump can, and surely will, spend the three or four weeks before the election out on the campaign trail telling his audiences that the vote is going to be rigged against him," the columnist writes. "He’ll say, repeatedly, that he doesn’t know if he’ll honor the election results, it will depend on what they are and how much fraud there was, because 'everyone' knows the fraud is going to be massive, like, folks, you’ve never seen this kind of fraud."
Fox News will likely lend a helping hand, he explains by writing, "Fox will broadcast segment after segment about the supposedly massive fraud," while Republicans come forward to support him.
Pointing to two battleground states that could go either way in a close election, Tomasky suggests, "So suppose our two close states are in Republican control. You know what will happen as well as I do... He’ll scream it was rigged, and out will trot the army of Republican election lawyers pointing to what they will say were thousands of instances of fraud. And those Republican secretaries of state and/or elections boards will know their jobs and will get to work. "
"Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and everyone else who once called Trump a phony (looking at you, Mitt) will be on TV averring that sadly, they’ve come to conclude that a re-vote may be the only acceptable remedy," he imagined. "Trump, working through the state and local officials in the two states in question, will sue. It will get to the Supreme Court."
Needless to say, Trump may find a more friendly court than the one that handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 -- particularly with two Trump appointees sitting on it.
As Tomasky warns, "So the five conservatives order a re-vote in the two states in question. Impossible? We used to be able to say with confidence 'no, that can’t happen here.'"
"Who knows what can happen here anymore? The treasury secretary is openly breaking the law, and the attorney general lied to Congress. I don’t think John Roberts would provide the fifth vote to annul an election, but we know after 2000 what can happen when the Supreme Court uses some tiny technical issue in a state to effectively decide our next president," he concluded.
You can read more here (subscription required).