There is not any clearer demarcation between democracy and autocracy than the peaceable switch of energy after an election. Trump confirmed us on Wednesday that he’s ready to cross that line.Every other president, at some other time within the historical past of this nation, would have had a easy, simple reply, when requested if he would settle for the outcomes of the election. Every other president would have affirmed his respect for the desire of the folks — the hallmark of democracy. However when Trump was requested that query, his response was a shrapnel-filled grenade. Here is what he stated:”Properly, we will must see what occurs. You already know that I have been complaining very strongly in regards to the ballots, and the ballots are a catastrophe.” He added, “Eliminate the ballots, you will have a really switch — you will have a really peaceable — there will not be a switch, frankly. There will be a continuation.” I will resist the temptation to wash up Trump’s syntax searching for a cogent reply. However it’s clear he is signaling — as soon as once more — that he has no intention of accepting the outcomes if he loses. Additionally it is evident that his monthslong effort to say mail-in ballots are vulnerable to fraud — one thing consultants agree is extraordinarily uncommon — is designed at hand Trump and his backers a path out of defeat.US Legal professional Normal William Barr has beforehand dismissed claims that Trump would attempt to seize energy if he misplaced the election and accused Democrats of fearmongering as an alternative. However Barr has additionally supported Trump’s assaults on mail-in voting, and consultants concern he may play a task in influencing the end result of the election. When requested about Trump’s feedback, Democratic candidate Joe Biden responded with disbelief and requested, “What nation are we in?” Biden, realizing how Trump would possibly play the remark, went on to say, “I am being facetious — what nation are we in? Look, he says probably the most irrational issues. I do not know what to say about it, nevertheless it would not shock me.” The President has made clear that this election just isn’t merely a alternative between Trump or Biden. It is a alternative between an accelerated dismantling of America’s democracy, or a return to America’s centuries-long wrestle to change into a extra good union — a nation that extra faithfully displays its founding beliefs of democracy and equality.Trump additionally revealed, maybe unwittingly, that he doesn’t assume he’ll handily win the election. He appears intent on sowing chaos and confusion and attacking mail-in ballots, which may doubtlessly tear the nation aside in an ensuing battle over the election outcomes.”I believe it will find yourself within the Supreme Court docket,” he stated, “and I believe it is essential that we’ve got 9 justices.” Word that there have been solely eight justices on the courtroom on the time of the 2016 election. Trump may very effectively stress his nominee to switch the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to pledge loyalty to him and his electoral aspirations, fairly than a dedication to equity and the Structure. No matter Trump has in thoughts, there is just one certain method to stop a catastrophe that might engulf your entire nation: A landslide victory for Biden would make it tougher for Trump to stay in workplace by leveraging the courts, congressional Republicans and even the bands of extremists roaming anti-racism protests aiming to spark extra chaos. A decisive electoral outcome may defang Trump’s postelection troops.However even then, we should put together for what may lie forward. The 2016 election presents some clues. Trump, who repeatedly claimed the election was rigged in opposition to him, refused to decide to accepting the end result in the course of the last presidential debate in 2016, saying, “I’ll have a look at it on the time. I’ll maintain you in suspense.”Moscow had anticipated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win, and pro-Kremlin bloggers have been ready to name into query the validity of the outcomes with the hashtag #DEMOCRACYRIP, in line with a 2017 US intelligence report.If Trump loses and rejects the election outcomes this time round, he would create the proper opening for Russia to delegitimize the brand new US president. Russia, together with different rivals and enemies of the US, would delight within the electoral chaos and foster mistrust in Biden’s mandate.Trump’s most up-to-date assault on democratic practices is hardly his first.The President has damaged probably the most primary democratic norms by attacking the media, praising tyrants, demanding private loyalty from authorities officers, turning the Justice Division into a private political device, pressuring public well being businesses to downplay a pandemic and stoking inner divisions as an alternative of attempting to unite the nation.These are all affronts in opposition to democracy, however they’re extra arcane, maybe extra refined. Refusing to decide to a peaceable switch of energy after dropping an election is pointing a loaded gun to the center of democracy. Refusing to give up energy is pulling the set off. Trump has signaled to his supporters — within the streets and within the halls of Congress — that the battle won’t finish after November 3. In keeping with Barton Gellman of The Atlantic, Trump’s staff is already getting ready a authorized assault on the election leads to key battleground states. A number of eventualities are potential. Gellman envisions one the place the battle drags all the best way to January 20, with two males displaying as much as be sworn in.Others have checked out potential outcomes which may comply with an election through which Trump has informed his followers, who’ve proven a willingness to do nearly something to help him, that the vote is rigged. We can not rule out the prospect of violence. These wargaming the probabilities have additionally floated eventualities through which states with Republican-led legislatures, and Barr put their thumbs on the size to assist Trump. When the election outcomes have been inconclusive in 2000 and the Supreme Court docket handed the victory to George W. Bush, the Democratic candidate Al Gore determined to simply accept the end result for the sake of the nation.However wanting on the smoldering rage throughout Individuals cities and the polarization that Trump has intentionally stoked, does anybody assume the same end result is probably going this time?The one approach Individuals keep away from catastrophe is that if they hand Joe Biden an amazing, indeniable victory.