Will Trump leave office gracefully?

As long ago as Trump’s first year in office, I speculated that he was unlikely to leave office gracefully if he were defeated in 2020, that he would claim fraud and try to remain in office by force. There are, after all, historical precedents for that sort of thing — though not in this country.

I’m enjoying pointing-out the other people who have awakened to the very real danger.

No losing U.S. presidential candidate has ever failed to graciously concede. Even Al Gore, who many (not me) believed was cheated of victory, did so. This isn’t some mere nicety of etiquette, but goes to the heart of the kind of democratic society we constructed. A democratic culture requires accepting the legitimacy of opposing sides, and even their having power. This must not be taken for granted. It’s why Trump’s 2016 statement that he’d accept the result only if he won was nightmarish.

He actually didn’t think he’d win. But more importantly, had no power to do anything about it if he’d lost. This time is very different.

Trump is all but certain to be defeated in November, and he has no intention of leaving office without a fight. When he loses he will do what he always does: concoct a pack of garish lies and summon his toadies. What is more, those morons who think he is a Great Man will undoubtedly rally to his side. We are on our way to an unprecedented Constitutional confrontation.

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