Trump sees defeat in 2020 and has rushed back to his old bankruptcy playbook: conservative columnist
President Donald Trump (AFP/File / Olivier Douliery)

In a column for the conservative Bulwark, a University of Illinois political science professor speculated that Donald Trump is losing in his bid to be re-elected and is likely looking at options to either cheat his way to a win or get out of the race and lay the blame on everyone else.

With multiple polls showing the president is trailing badly to presumptive Democratic opponent Joe Biden -- and some pundits predicting a landslide loss -- the Bulwark's Nicholas Grossman said a look at Trump's history as a businessman may provide hints about how he will try to get out from under what is shaping up to be a crushing defeat.

As Grossman sees it, Trump is well aware that his time as president is coming to a close and only left with two options: cheat or quit.

Pointing out that the president has been laying the groundwork to contest the election results should he lose, and has been looking for help from other countries -- including China -- the poli-sci professor said Trump may attempt to subvert the will of the voters, but that it will be difficult this time around.

"Because states run elections, voter suppression isn’t something the president can do by himself, so he’s working to encourage it, " he wrote before adding, "But Trump’s problem is that these sort of electoral shenanigans only pay off at the margins. Maybe they can swing a closely-divided state, but they can’t overcome the kind of 5- and 7-point deficits Trump is seeing in most battleground state polls."

Grossman also noted that contesting vote totals can be risky and doomed to failure, dryly adding, "The man who went to the White House bunker in response to Black Lives Matter protests probably doesn’t have the stomach for the public reaction if he loses and tries to stay."

The columnist went on to write that, if Trump believes that he will certainly lose, that will be a powerful incentive to get out of the race and avoid the embarrassment.

Which gets back to his history as a businessman with a string of failures in his wake despite being sold to the public as an American success story.

Writing that, "Trump reportedly expected to lose in 2016 and didn’t mind, because running boosted his brand and set up lucrative media opportunities. And that scenario could still be operable if he plays his cards right," Grossman added that Trump could apply his multiple experiences filing for bankruptcy and leaving the wreckage of failure to others.

"Donald Trump talks about #winning so much that people often forget that one of the defining aspects of his life have been his bankruptcies. Going bankrupt taught Trump a very important lesson: If you fail, make sure other people pay the price," he wrote before explaining, "Well, Trump’s presidency is going bankrupt. Which means that he will put himself first and get out with as much as he can, screwing over whoever he has to on the way out the door. In this scenario, after losing the election Trump would focus more on issuing pardons and setting up new business ventures than trying to remain in power."

Grossman then suggested Trump could go on a pardoning spree before stepping down, saving family members and close associates untold grief while he still has the power to do so.

As for himself?

"Maybe Trump will resign in January so Pence can pardon him," he wrote before suggesting there is "the possibility Trump thinks his presidency is ending and is running his old bankruptcy play, projecting confidence while anticipating a loss — a loss that he won’t let land on him."

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