When people talk of Donald Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, one of the things that gets an overwhelming amount of attention are the statements he’s made over the last four years when it comes to accepting the results of a fair democratic electoral process. Even before the votes were counted, he warned supporters that the game might be rigged against him and that he might refuse to concede. Even after the election, he wasn’t fully satisfied and had to lie about winning the popular vote. On multiple occasions, he’s joked about running for president for more than two terms.
This has inevitably led to a number of pundits fearing that Donald Trump may refuse to accept the results of the 2020 election and that doing so would be much more consequential than it would if he lost four years ago. At Palmer Report, we’ve been somewhat skeptical of such a scenario – but there is one serious consequence that results from the media constantly playing up this narrative.
The more pundits panic over the possibility that somehow Donald Trump refusing to accept the results will result in him magically occupying the office after 2021 does give him some leverage – it intimidates potential voters into staying home, thinking that the election is already determined, and it encourages Trump’s supporters and detractors alike to believe that he’s more powerful than he is, making it that much easier for him to pull another disturbing and authoritarian move while no one is watching.
When Joe Biden appeared on The Daily Show, he addressed these concerns in a more serious manner than any of Trump’s opponents have so far, making it clear that his campaign is looking into if such a situation were to happen, and confidently answered that the military would remove Donald Trump for trespassing if he refused to vacate the White House after his term expired. In doing so loudly and clearly, and making headlines for it, Biden sent a clear message that his campaign won’t be intimidated by Donald Trump, and he shoved out the window what little leverage Trump has pretended to hold for the last three and a half years.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making