Two Things Could Be Going On With Trump's Refusal To Acknowledge the Election

Thom plus logo Either he's dragging this out so he can raise money to line his own pockets, or he's coordinating with the billionaire donors who largely own a number of Republican state legislatures to steal the election. Or both.

The Constitution says that individual states' legislators can award their electoral votes to whomever they choose; it just takes an act of the state's legislature, in most states signed by the governor. It's never happened, but it is constitutional.

Meanwhile, election law and practical reality say that Trump can only continue to raise money from his donors if the election is still "live": so long as he doesn't concede.

Trump has strong reasons to push both: he's hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, and the day he leaves the presidency several states will probably begin prosecuting him for numerous crimes ranging from bank fraud to tax evasion to rape. I gave Trump $5 back in 2015 to get on his list (I do that with most presidential candidates) and am now averaging about a dozen fundraising pitches a day from the Trump campaign and groups that Donald Trump controls.

While they claim they're raising money for a recount and legal challenges, the fine print says that 60% of the money is going to an entity that Donald Trump controls, and authorizes him to repeatedly ding the credit cards of anybody dumb enough to contribute, well into the future.

In the last four years, the Trump operation has raised over $1 billion, and over $300 million of that has vanished, like with his Inaugural Fund, into various unknown corporations. It's entirely possible that all Trump's posturing right now is just a scam to keep that money flowing, to the tune of millions of dollars a day. And while Trump gets 60% of that money, the RNC gets the other 40%, money that can be used by Republican candidates like David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler in the upcoming Georgia runoff.

Both Purdue and Loeffler were trading on inside information during the Trump administration, making themselves millions, so it's entirely conceivable they're so corrupt they'd enthusiastically endorse such a fundraising scam even when most of the money goes to Trump.

While Trump and Senate Republicans would be the winners in this scheme, the losers include the very institution of democracy itself, which is currently under assault by anti-democratic autocrats from Brazil to Hungary, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey and The Philippines.

Meanwhile the billionaires who control multiple states' Republican legislatures' are worried that Joe Biden will raise their taxes and restore protective regulations that keep them from profitably poisoning and polluting America.

If Trump's fundraising scam can raise enough doubt about the integrity of the election, these right wing billionaires could direct a few Republican-controlled state legislatures to give all their states' electoral votes to Trump, regardless of how the citizens of those states voted.

December 20 is the deadline generally used for states to certify a vote, although in 2000 it dragged on well past that. As long as Trump keeps running his fundraising scam, the pressure will be on captive state legislatures to change their electoral votes, or at least keep the possibility open.

In the meantime, faith in America's form of government is being shredded, doing deep and perhaps irreversible damage to America and democracy around the world. If there are any Republicans left who care about the future of democracy, now is the time for them to put an end to this madness.



DrRichard 2 years 29 weeks ago

I cannot imagine the mood of this country should Trump somehow remain in office past January 20th. Effectively we'd have two presidents, almost like the historical Great Schism of the Papacy where every Catholic had to decide who to follow. Maybe a real civil war, or at least military coup, would come out of this. Nobody knows.

It is also possible most of this is Trump just thrashing on the end of the line like a fish with a hook in its mouth. This garbage has been able to slither out of every mess he ever made, betraying his creditors, investors, wives, contractors and finally the American people. But this time he has no place to run and his failure is exposed to the world. Most people learn resilence through occasionally losing. But like an instititonalized person he has always been sheltered from such reality. No longer. He may blame everybody else on the planet but at the end of the day he is still the loser. And that must really hurt.

Snowflake2005's picture
Snowflake2005 2 years 29 weeks ago

I thought that in the past year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot lawfully cast any of their Electoral Votes except as directed by State law.

IF a state's law says only for the winner of the popular vote in that state, then that's how the Electoral Votes must be cast.

Tom1945 2 years 29 weeks ago

Snowflake2005 is correct--at least from everything I have read recently on the subject. The states have to pass a law on how their Electors are slated. Federal law says this must be done before the election.

stopgap's picture
stopgap 2 years 29 weeks ago


Thom, There is a third scenario. Trump is installing loyalists in key posts at the pentagon…Mark Esper, “God Help Us.” When I see reporters asking Republican senators and congressmen why they haven’t congratulated President Elect Biden. The question they should be asking is: If Trump attempts a military coup, will you support it? So far, based on the spineless responses of Republicans. The answer is yes.

It amazes me that the media doesn’t even consider this a possibility, when most warning signs are pointing to just that. I think it’s naive to think that the conservative leaning armed forces, that conservative leaning law enforcement officers, would defy Trump. It’s naive to think that they would never align themselves with a Trump coup. Does the media think this has never happened before. “Heil Hitler!!!”

It happens all the time. It is usually the rule, rather than the exception. Ultimately, it’s not who wins the election. It’s who controls the reins of power. Right now that is Donald J. Trump…and about half of the USA, 70 million voters, agree. So far Trump’s actions point ominously in that direction.

Does anyone think that Trump will willingly subject himself to the reality that prison awaits him if not in power? Think again!

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 29 weeks ago

Of the two choices offered in today's blog, extremist Republican legislatures and governors signing onto one-sided legislation that would fundamentally alter the honor-bound tradition of faithfully assigning electors according to voters' wishes, with the in-your-face intention of reversing the outcome of a legitimate election, would probably be the least likely. Call me Pollyannish, but even the most fascistic Republicans in the reddest of states might have trouble ramming that one through in this highly charged political atmosphere where almost 150 million voters are laser-focused on the fairness and integrity of elections. Never say never though.

But it is entirely likely if not absolutely positive that Donald's lizard brain knows full well he lost the election and has reflexively reverted to the basic instinct of survival by juicing his lame-duck denial of defeat for all the money it's worth, fleecing his gullible cultists for all they're worth. He will certainly need a helluva lot of the big-bucks to hire lawyers in his private life since his acute litigious addiction will no longer be supported on the taxpayers' dime.

Donald John Trump breathes, eats, and shts money, first, foremost, and forever. The magic $cha-ching$ arouses his flaccid mind more than anything else -- just ask Melania. In fact, it's highly probable that money even trumps Trump's enormous ego, God forbid, or that both are so tightly entwined it's impossible to tell them apart. Nothing happens in Trumpworld without lots of cash, preferrably OPM (other people's money).

kenocc12's picture
kenocc12 2 years 29 weeks ago

The US military will not cooperate in any coup attempt by Trump. They will arrest him if he attempts any such actions. Even if Trump installs civilian leaders who are loyal only to him, the military will not cooperate. Right down to the level of the ordinary sailor, soldier, marine. This is the result of the training changes made after the Vietnam War. Any such effort would not even prompt a violent conflict as the military would clamp down tight on even rumors of such efforts. Even placing this possibility aside Trump can still create one hell of a mess by scrambling funding, giving direct aid and comfort to Russia, etc. in efforts to undermine the US, and creating riots across the country. A situation that might take years to clear up. It would essentially hobble the Biden Administration and possibly even lead to US military/intelligence defeats in direct confrontations with Russian allies (but not Russia itself).

stopgap's picture
stopgap 2 years 29 weeks ago

kenocc12, Believe me, I hope you are right and you certainly sound authoritative, though vague on specifics. I’d say rumors already abound. And did Gen. Flynn receive this training too?

I’m not trying to be flippant, but the assumption that a coup is not possible, by its nature, leaves the door wide open for just such an event. I’ve yet to hear from any of the top brass assuring me that they would intervene to thwart such a coup. Even the fired Gen. Mattis has been relatively mute regarding Trump’s abuses of power. And we know we can’t rely on Republicans to counter a takeover by Trump. They are running like scared rats when confronted by the media.

In fact, Republicans have shown a remarkable disdain for Democratic institutions. McConnell is busy trying to turn the country into a theocracy by filling the courts with evangelical judges with the full blessing of Congressional Republicans.

Again, I hope you are right, but so far, while Trump’s ambitions may occasionally be stymied by the Democratic institutions that govern our country, he has yet to be held accountable for his many abuses of power.

Anyway, thanks for the comforting analysis. Still, I would like to see factual assurances that a coup is not possible and I think ignoring that possibility could be very problematic. Better to err on the side of caution!

alis volat's picture
alis volat 2 years 29 weeks ago

The Long Goodby is a 1950's book with the perfect title for what has just begun. No doubt there will be several methods concerning the money and the power plays of the Trump crime consortium during this time. The motivation and goals are basic enough; it's destroy your enemies, take jobs away, put incompetent people in their places, and pardon all that should be held accountable. You know the drill, the old scorched earth thing.

It really is like breaking it off with any abuser. When they finally know they won't get their way and you're not going back, that's the point when they are most dangerous.

Joe handled the transition questions well today. I urge folks to look at the footage. My favorite part is when he laughed at Mike Pompeo, because that asshole really deserves it.

Old Dave 2 years 29 weeks ago

For several reasons (all regularly discussed by Thom) our elected officials do not meet their Constitutional purpose as proposed by Alexander Hamilton 1788 (it's more elegantly contructed than the Preamble yet addresses the same intent):

"We are attempting by this constitution to abolish factions, and to unite all parties for the general welfare."

James Madison described what was meant by "factions" in Federalist 10, when he wrote that they are "A number of citizens" who do things "adversed to the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."

It is abundantly clear that our government has neither abolished factions nor united us for the general welfare. The Constitution offer a remedy for these two grievance, but sadly, because our democracy is being destroyed by factions (especially the big ones like the oligarchs of money, war, and carbon), and their control over our goverment, we can't rely on our elected officials to work with our citizens to solve our problems. Therefore, that leaves our fellow Americans and what is left of the free press to make it happen. If only there was a way for us to unite for our general welfare by compelling our elected officials to meet their purpose, instead of serving the factions so they can get reelected.

Legend 2 years 29 weeks ago

They called us sore losers in 2016! One thing for sure is Trump has lost the popular vote twice. 1669 hours are left.

amyjo23's picture
amyjo23 2 years 29 weeks ago

Stopgap- yes! Why did he fire Mark Esper now? This was the guy who refused to send in the troops agaist protesters. Will Trump replace him with someone who will? Also consider that Ron DeSantis is trying to expand the "Stand Your Ground" law" in Florida to make it okay for you to run your car into protesters on the street (if you say you did not mean to, oopsie...) and shoot somebody if you think they are looting, among other things. What is he gearing up for? Right now Trump's loyal voters are pacified by the hope of the courts ruling in Trump's favor. When the courts say Biden won, the most loyal of his voters will go crazy. They will stir up trouble in democratic voting areas and Trump will declare a state of emergency and "have to" remain president. It won't matter who started the fight.

vetinla's picture
vetinla 2 years 28 weeks ago

Even Carl Rove, one of the high priests of right wing conservatism, has urged COVID-45 to capitulate. Maybe that will help save the empire. Who knows? But, the monied elites, as always , will decide the fate of us peons.

Meanwhile, pass the popcorn please..

appleater 2 years 28 weeks ago

A third reason for Trump's refusal to concede: Gain more time to destroy records and other evidence of the corruption, malfeasance, and incompetence of this administration over the entire four years.

vetinla's picture
vetinla 2 years 28 weeks ago

Biden needs to get off his butt, and every day, start tweeting WHAT his plans are, to fight COVID-19, and uplift the economic possibilites for the American working classes. Make the MSM carry his tweets, just like they've enabled DJT and his twisted tweets for these past years.

Messaging works., but the Dims suck at it. By design, I'm thinking. It's not easy pretending you're for the working folks, while sucking up to the donor classes.

Mixed economies, not full on Socialism, is the way forward. Someone SHOULD mention that, EVERY TIME the other side calls Biden a Socialist.

But, they won't, it might work.....

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