All you’ve heard today, as things continued to look grimmer and more suspect with respect to the vote-counting in several states – among them Georgia and Pennsylvania, but also Nevada, Arizona and Michigan – is an increasing amount of buzz to the effect that President Trump is damaging the country with his refusal to concede. Biden’s team is even beginning to make threats along the lines that they’ll physically throw him out of office if he’s not gone by Jan. 19 of next year. He’s increasingly getting a bad deal across the board.
There is no reason for the President to concede the election. To be quite charitable, there were manifest “irregularities” with respect to how voting and vote-counting were conducted in what can only be considered a failed election, and those must be documented, converted into court filings and litigated. In Georgia and Wisconsin there will be recounts. A recount is virtually assured in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona, and one is clearly warranted in Michigan as well. Until those issues are resolved, the President is well within his rights and surely the country and the media owe him the leeway to make his case.
That said, it is understood that at present the political fight is not going Trump’s way. That doesn’t mean he’s morally wrong or legally wrong. But the deck is being stacked against him. He needs a change in narrative.
So here’s a suggestion Trump might consider making.
He should have his best people spend this weekend putting together a piece of draft legislation for federal elections which encompasses all the best practices of elections management in this country and elsewhere – whether that’s biometric voter ID, blockchain technology, whatever; the specifics don’t particularly matter – that would fully address and make impossible all of the “irregularities” we’ve seen in this election and others, and then present it to Congress for passage in the lame-duck session.
Trump should make a public offer to Nancy Pelosi: pass the Clean And Pure Elections Act of 2020 before Jan. 3, and if I’m still behind in the electoral college after all the recounts, court challenges and litigation taking place between now and the Act’s passage, I’ll concede the election. Don’t pass it, and I’ll keep the fight going through Jan. 3.
Because on Jan. 3, if the election hasn’t been decided, which if it’s still in court by then it wouldn’t appear to be, the Constitution requires it to be settled in the House, in a process by which each state has one vote to be cast by its congressional delegation for President, and in the Senate, where a vote is taken for Vice-President. As it stands now, if all the Republicans were to stand strong with Trump, he and Mike Pence win that vote.
Thus the effects of the deal: Pelosi can accept, and allow the bill to pass in the House (it’ll certainly pass in the Senate), and Biden gets his victory. America’s election security becomes state of the art, and rigging the elections process becomes exceptionally difficult – so much so that if you believe as most Republicans do that Democrats win elections by cheating, they’ll have trouble ever winning a major national election again in the near future. By 2024 this election would then become a Pyrrhic victory in the classic sense.
Or else she can reject the deal, and suffer perhaps two political defeats – because her party, and by extension the Biden camp, then becomes unmistakably the party of political corruption and voter fraud, and that gives Trump the political win and the narrative change he’s looking for. And that could well lead to the stiffening of the spine of Republicans on Capitol Hill and elsewhere who right now are probably not bought in to a protracted existential political battle. Not to back Trump when he offered himself up at the altar of real, substantial and transformational political reform in a country which clearly desperately needs it, and was explicitly rejected by the party most clearly responsible for the conditions necessitating that reform, would be indefensible.
Trump even predicated the possibility of such a deal in the statement he released this afternoon, though we’re certainly not suggesting he’s proposing any of the above. He said this…
“We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election. This is about the integrity of our entire election process. From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn. We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”
– President Donald J. Trump
If he were to make such a deal, it would clearly be a mixed blessing for the country, as it would saddle us with a manifestly unfit president at a time we could ill afford it. But with Republican control of the Senate as a result of Tuesday’s results and likely victories in at least one and probably both of the Georgia runoffs, and the strong likelihood of a Republican retaking of the House in the 2022 elections, the worst damage of the Biden presidency, the real permanent structural errors he’s been campaigning on, can be mitigated and the rest likely reversed following the 2024 elections.
If you’re Pelosi and you truly don’t believe your party cheats to win elections, Trump is offering your party the presidency in exchange for very little. If you admit, even privately, that your successes are built on fraud in big cities, then you have a tough decision to make – because a rejection of the deal makes that private admission public.
If Trump really believes he has the winning factual case on Democrat voter fraud, then perhaps he shouldn’t seriously offer this deal. Even if that’s where the campaign is, though, as a political gambit to change the narrative – and particularly given the minimal chance Pelosi would accept it – it isn’t a bad move at all.