I wrote earlier that donald trump has no honest way to win the 2020 Presidential election.
So that means trump is going to cheat.
We're already seeing some of the steps trump is deploying to rig the turnout and thus the results. his latest Postmaster General is sabotaging the United States Postal Service to ensure mailing delays that could prevent mail-in ballots from getting received in time to count.
Other things in play, aside from trump's accusations that mail-in balloting is voter fraud, are AG William Barr's efforts to misdirect investigations into Russian (and other nations') meddling into the 2020 general vote. There's hints aplenty that Barr is setting up "October Surprises" to discourage voter turnout for Joe Biden.
All of this culminates into a lot of worried speculation - and yes, I am piling onto that dread - of how trump and cronies are going to cause enough disruption into the results that he can shrug off a Popular Vote and also an Electoral College count that would otherwise confirm a Joe Biden victory.
But can it really happen?
Infidel753 pointed me to a link to a website Electoral-Vote that took stock of all the fears and tried to look at the actual numbers and likely results for November 2020. What the blogger there found was, well here's a few paragraphs:
If we assume there is enough "fog" to give cover to state legislatures to start thinking about shenanigans, that still leaves the pro-Trump forces with some daunting math to confront. Let's start with the states that have Democratic trifectas. Joe Biden is expected to win all of these, and there are not going to be any EV-stealing shenanigans in Trump's favor in these places:
That already puts us (note: well, Biden) at 195 EVs. Now let's add in the states where Biden is expected to win, and the Democrats control at least one chamber of the state legislature (note: meaning the GOP can't automatically fck with the EV):
We're up to 233 EVs. Biden isn't going to lose any of these due to shenanigans, either. Note, incidentally, that Minnesota is the only one of the five additional states that has a split legislature. The four others have both chambers with Democratic control.
Now, let's add states where Biden is favored to win, and where there is at least one Democrat who has to sign off on the results (either the governor, the secretary of state, or both):
Now we are up to 305 EVs. Getting into the weeds of what could happen in each state is a bit much, but several things are already evident: (1) Republican-controlled legislatures in swing states would have to be very unified to pull off this scheme; (2) they would face pushback on that, including lawsuits, in many places; and (3) their likely best case scenario, even if they are unified and they prevail in court, is to deny anyone an electoral victory (by muddying the waters until the deadline for the EC to meet has passed) and to throw the election to the House...
So the good news, as long as the voter turnout matches what the polling is currently telling us, is that Biden can easily pass the 270 EV hurdle much like Obama did in 2008 and 2012. And the blogger at Electoral-Vote hasn't counted states like Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Georgia that can still go Blue for Biden this November.
So the bad news is this: Now we know why trump and his GOP cronies are eager to fck up ballot-by-mails (aka Absentee balloting) to try and mess with ALL states results to create enough chaos to ruin this math. And now we know why Barr is readying the DOJ to cause the chaos, not prevent it.
Going through a current pandemic crisis that can hamper in-person voter turnout is probably one of the reasons - he'll never admit it, but you have to admit the thought has crossed so many people's minds that SOMEBODY in trump's orbit whispered it into his ear - why trump is failing to respond to the crisis at all.
Another element of bad news is, while the Electoral-Vote blogger - I'm not sure whose name in on it, it's either Votemaster or Zenger (hmm, as a Journalism grad I know that name) - knows the Popular vote AND Electoral vote all favor Biden, we can still see that trump and the GOP's endgame is to throw the chaos into the U.S. House. The example here isn't the 2000 Election madness - the conditions for that were different - but the 1800 and 1876 Elections, where political bias favored the Party in control of the House.
The sick rule of the House solution is that the votes are not tallied by Representative - which favors Democrats - but by State Delegation (the group per state) meaning 50 votes not 435 (and DC has not vote in this matter). Thanks to gerrymandering, delegations skew to the Republicans who currently control 26 delegations over Democrats' 23 (one delegation is split). THIS is what worries Never Trumpers, more so that messing with the Electoral College: Barr could either trick or bully enough state legislatures to not accept the popular voting in their states to award Electors, forcing the College to cancel and pass it all to a GOP-bent House.
Thing is, the Electoral-Vote blogger thought of that as well:
An even bigger problem is Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966). While that one was specifically about poll taxes, it also established the broad principle that once the right of people to vote has been extended, the state cannot intervene to dilute the potency of that vote. Taken together, what Bush and Harper suggest is that a state might be on firm ground if they announce on, say, Jan. 1, 2020, that "this year, the state legislature is just going to award our EVs." However, once states allow people to cast actual ballots, that method for awarding EVs is locked in and cannot be altered...
It had happened before, by the way: In 1860, South Carolina didn't host a popular vote, their legislature went and awarded their results to the pro-Slavery Democratic candidate (Beckinridge). This time, it's too late: Any GOP state that's watching the polls swing to Biden (hi, Florida!) right now in August cannot cancel the vote and nominate the Electors. They can do everything else - suppress votes, rig machines, undercount results - but they still run the risk that the popular vote won't go their way.
Which is partly why they're waiting on Barr to release "reports" of mail-in ballots being "rigged" in order to justify negating the popular vote results... but THAT all depends on if the difference in results relies on the mail-ins counting or not (if Biden wins by a wide margin without mail-ins, forget it: Barr would have to argue a way to negate the WHOLE thing, which even conservative courts would choke on).
This is the point where headaches start forming, and the stress of paranoia/despair kicks in. The solutions rely on a lot of things outside of control at our (yours and mine) level. The Democratic Party has to be ready to call on a legion of lawyers across every state to fight Barr's likely meddling in any and every possibility.
The one thing WE can do at our level is turnout the vote. THAT'S the math we can control. As long as the turnout FOR Biden and the Democrats is high enough, the Republicans can't rig a damn thing. They'll yell and scream, they'll present bad evidence to argue their side, but if Biden is winning places by double-digits in enough states and at percentages close to polling, the Republicans will have a hard time arguing rigged results... and they run the risk at state levels of alienating enough residents to diminish state-level control by the 2022 midterms, if not outright street protests by an outraged majority that will never stop (hi, Belarus!).
Democrats need to ensure enough of their numbers are registered and ready to vote, confirmed to vote for Biden against a corrupt trump that is one step away from tinpot dictator status that haunts all the failed Republics we've seen over the decades.
Elections matter, Americans. Voter turnout matters, Democrats. Come hell or high water or COVID or police crackdowns, every one of us opposed to trump's misrule, every one of us opposed to McConnell's obstructionist destruction, we have to do the math and vote and make it count and make the Republicans answer for their cheating, corrupt ways.