On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that as President Donald Trump escalates his preemptive threats to challenge or defy the result of the election if he loses, law enforcement and election officials are bracing for a constitutional crisis.
"Trump’s running commentary about an illegitimate vote reverberated from coast to coast," reported Philip Rucker, Amy Gardner, and Annie Linskey. "Many of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), issued perfunctory statements declaring that the winner of the Nov. 3 election would be inaugurated on Jan. 20 — an orderly transition as there traditionally has been in the United States. Democratic state attorneys general strategized among themselves on what to do if the president refuses to accept the result and said they were most concerned that his drumbeat of unfounded accusations about fraud could undermine public confidence in the election."
Trump has suggested that he will try to get mail-in ballots — which are expected to skew more Democratic than usual this year due to the president's partisan messaging — thrown out. He has also suggested that his urgency in filling the Supreme Court vacancy stems from his desire to ensure the judiciary will take his side.
“Categorically and emphatically, when you have public officials casting doubt on the process, it’s incredibly corrosive,” said Democratic Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. “It’s nearly a criminal or treasonous act. We hold a sacred trust, and it is our job to make people feel like they’re protected in their decision-making, as the authors of our future.”
Meanwhile, some secretaries of state are exploring how to prevent Trump-inspired voter intimidation, like Katie Hobbs in Arizona. “One of the conversations we are having is what that response should look like,” she said. “A uniformed officer with a weapon can look intimidating, and we want to be very careful about that.”