Trump’s presidency is facing ‘Chapter 11’ — giving him the option to either ‘cheat’ or ‘bail’: conservative

Trump’s presidency is facing ‘Chapter 11’ — giving him the option to either ‘cheat’ or ‘bail’: conservative
Donald Trump Screengrab via NBC News.

Many liberal and progressive pundits have been stressing that no matter how bad President Donald Trump is looking in polls, the last thing Democrats and the Joe Biden campaign should do is become complacent or overconfident — and that Trump still has four months left to turn things around. But at the moment, there is no getting around how bad Trump is looking in poll after poll. In the conservative website The Bulwark, Nicholas Grossman (a University of Illinois political science professor and a senior editor at Arc Digital) asserts that a mood of desperation is now plaguing Trump’s 2020 campaign and that he is facing a political equivalent of “Chapter 11.”


“Donald Trump is losing, which is not news,” Grossman explains. “He’s been losing to Joe Biden since the first hypothetical poll was taken pitting the two men against each other. But what has changed is that, by all accounts, Trump now knows he’s losing. What he doesn’t know is how to fix it. Which leaves him with two options.”

Those options, according to Grossman, are “cheat” or “bail.” And Grossman outlines some ways in which the president might do those things. For example, Trump can “cheat” by making it harder for Americans to vote by mail during a deadly pandemic.

“The pandemic created more challenges for voting,” Grossman explains. “Mail-in ballots offer a straight-forward solution, but solving it is clearly not the president’s goal.”

Grossman adds, “Trump has been denouncing vote by mail for months, falsely claiming it’s a common avenue for fraud. Bill Barr claimed without evidence  —  or, when you think about it, logic  —  that foreign countries would mail in counterfeit ballots. The reason they’re making these accusations isn’t subtle. As President Trump said on ‘Fox and Friends’ about expanding vote by mail, ‘If you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.’”

Trump, Grossman notes, “is betting that limiting vote by mail will impact Democrat-leaning urbanites more than Republican-leaning senior citizens…. Polls show that Democrats view COVID-19 as more of a serious issue than Republicans do. So, if Biden voters think COVID is dangerous and Trump voters don’t, restricting vote by mail favors Trump.”

Other “cheating” options for Trump, according to Grossman, include “changing vote totals, suspending the election, or refusing to leave after a certified loss” — all of which, Grossman adds, “would be extremely difficult.”

But if Trump doesn’t cheat or resort to sleazy, underhanded tactics, Grossman writes, his option is to “bail.”

“I don’t buy theories that Trump doesn’t want to be president and is hoping to lose,” Grossman writes. “Being president means he can tell people what to do, powerful people show him respect, he gets tons of attention, and he’s effectively above the law. You think he’d give all that up if he didn’t have to?”

Grossman goes on to say, however, that if Trump does “bail,” he won’t be polite about it.

“He will put himself first and get out with as much as he can, screwing over whoever he has to on the way out the door,” Grossman predicts. “In this scenario, after losing the election, Trump would focus more on issuing pardons and setting up new business ventures than trying to remain in power.”

Whenever Trump declared Chapter 11 in the past, Grossman recalls, he made sure he got as much out of the deal as he could — and that’s exactly how he would handle a loss to Biden in November. Grossman predicts that if Trump loses, he will surely grant pardons to Paul Manafort (his 2016 campaign chairman), GOP operative Roger Stone and other cronies who have been convicted of federal crimes.

According to Grossman, “There’s also the possibility Trump thinks his presidency is ending and is running his old bankruptcy play: projecting confidence while anticipating a loss  —  a loss that he won’t let land on him.”

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