The race for the presidency is close, but would Trump accept defeat?

The race for the presidency is close, but would Trump accept defeat?
The political path to victory is one thing, but with Trump threatening to take legal action if he loses then the race for the presidency could drag on.
5 min read
04 November, 2020
Trump is refusing to accept defeat [Getty]
As the race for the US presidency comes to a close, key states that will be key to the outcome of the elections are being counted.

Current President Donald Trump has shown that he will not take defeat lightly, tweeting that "they" are stealing votes  as the vote results continued to come in.

"We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!" he wrote in a tweet that was hidden by Twitter due to the inaccuracy of his claims.

Scott Lucas, professor of US policy at Birmingham University, told The New Arab that the states that have still not declared a winner will be key players in the election.

"There are five states that are strategic to this year's elections: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin were essential for the outcome of the 2016 elections and remain so for this year," he said.

"There is also Georgia and Nevada. Biden could win the elections with just Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada."

Won't take no for an answer

Earlier polls predicted that the Democrats would achieve a relatively easy win, but Trump could still secure another four-year term if he wins key states.

Shattering US election norms, Trump claimed "major fraud" had taken place as he held an upbeat rally inside the White House's ceremonial East Room whilst pre-empting a win.

Read also: US election 2020: What's at stake for Palestine?

"We did win this election," Trump told cheering supporters. "This is a fraud on the American public", claiming he would go to the Supreme Court because "we want all voting to stop". 

Voting had already ended by the time Trump took to the podium, but Trump appeared to be calling for the court to stop counting votes that might go to Biden. Many see Trump's words as a threat to democracy. 

Pre-empting that Trump may tamper with voting methodology, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders last week suggested that mail-in ballots could be a target for election fraud.

"My view is every vote must be counted. For reasons which I don’t have the time to get into tonight, you’re going to have a situation, I suspect, in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, other states, where they are going to be receiving huge amounts of mail-in ballots. And unlike states like Florida or Vermont, they're not able for bad reasons to begin processing those ballots until Election Day or maybe when the polls close,” he said last with an interview with Jimmy Fallon.

"That means you're going to have states dealing with perhaps millions of mail-in ballots. 'Here is my worry. What polls show, and what studies have shown, is that, for whatever reason, Democrats are more likely to use mail-in ballots. Republicans are more likely to walk into polling booths on Election Day. It is likely that the first votes that will be counted will be those people who came in on Election Day, which will be Republican."

Trump has railed for months against mail-in ballots, charging without evidence that they could be fraudulent, as some 100 million Americans voted ahead of Election Day amid the coronavirus health crisis.

The Biden campaign soon hit back, calling the president's bid to stop vote counting "outrageous" and "unprecedented", and saying its legal teams were ready to fight him in the courts if need be.

"The counting will not stop. It will continue until every duly cast vote is counted," it vowed.

Read also: The US elections – what we know so far

The concern therein lies not only the outcome of the votes, but the legal fight Trump is willing to put up, should he lose.

"Trump has for months tried to rally against mail-in votes by saying their handling could lead to fraud in the elections, despite having no substantial claim or evidence," Lucas said.

"He won't stop the counting per se, but will try to have mail in ballots thrown out. He will first go through the state court, then Federal Court and then Supreme Court if all else fails. The question is: Will the Supreme Court rule through its judges or political appointees?"

Civil unrest?

Major urban areas of the US are being boarded up to prepare for any unrest that could come as a result of the elections.

Witnesses have told The New Arab that shops that sell guns are running low on stock while images on social media have shown major cities, including Washington DC, preparing for potential unrest.

"The response to the elections will not result in a complete breakdown in US society but incidents of unrest will be likely and they will be coming from the right because Trump is stoking it," Lucas explained.

"Two days ago, Trump encouraged his Pennsylvania supporters to take to the streets over a Supreme Court decision. If he goes on Twitter and talks about violence on the streets then that’s when things will get heated." 

On Tuesday, Trump lashed out at the Supreme Court for allowing Pennsylvania to count mail-in votes for up to three days after Election Day, claiming "it will induce violence on the streets".

Trump's controversial approach to politics is part of his appeal among his base.

During the 2016 elections, many of his supporters hailed him for being outside of the American political class, in comparison to his opponent, Hilary Clinton. 

"Trump is part of the establishment but he is distinctive on opposing fantasy vs fact and sceptical vs reality," Lucas said. 

"Like a snake oil salesman, he gives sceptical comments like such as 'make America great again'. He isn't selling anything good for you or works but people want to believe it, so they buy it." 

Trump has also worked on the illusion that the US can beat coronavirus under his leadership, despite the country having by far the highest death rate from the disease in the world.

"Trump got enough people to think that coronavirus is not important and a vaccine will be delivered soon. He worked on an 'America can beat coronavirus and so can I' basis, which ended up increasing his popularity, despite University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicting that over half-a-million lives could be lost to coronavirus in the US by February."

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected