In mid-October 2020, just over two months before former President Donald Trump’s supporters would riot inside the U.S. Capitol building, a group of Trumpist academics predicted that Biden supporters would cause nationwide unrest in an absolutely wild piece of fanfic that they attempted to present as a serious piece of scholarship.
The report, prepared by the pro-Trump think tank the Claremont Institute, laid out what a group of self-described experts believed could happen in the event of an ambiguous election result. Titled “79 Days to Inauguration,” the report published days before Election Day claims that dozens of academics were “coordinated by a retired military officer experienced in running hundreds of wargames.”
While the report was published over a year ago, a report from The Bulwark shed new light on it Monday, noting that one of its co-authors was John Eastman—the Trump lawyer who wrote an infamous memo advising Vice President Mike Pence to block congressional certification of Joe Biden’s win. The report is effectively a blueprint of how Trump could respond to a disputed result.
The report’s imagined scenario starts with Biden being declared winner on Election Night, only for that declaration to be rescinded—and for all hell to break loose, instigated by leftist agitators rather than MAGA fans.
“Riots break out in more than a dozen major cities,” the report foresaw in its made-up scenario. “Fourteen law-enforcement officers are known to have been shot, with one confirmed death. There are unconfirmed reports of a car bombing of a police precinct building in Philadelphia.”
Then, with the report’s authors imagining themselves as decision-makers in the federal government, things take a very authoritarian turn with a crackdown dubbed “Operation Spearfish,” targeting leaders from Black Lives Matter and antifa and leading to more than 1,000 arrests.
“The decision to obtain arrest warrants even for the barest minimum of probable cause on the lowest of charges is meant to remove the players from the picture, at least temporarily,” the authors state.
The report predicts that the right-wing Proud Boys would not riot, but instead assist law enforcement with capturing leftist agitators. As became clear on Jan. 6, that is not how the Proud Boys reacted to the election—in reality, dozens of them are now facing Capitol riot charges.
Instead, the self-described experts predict mass unrest caused by antifa and BLM members, and they repeatedly describe activists being killed.
In one passage, the report even predicted that “members of antifa and BLM are expected to descend on the capitol buildings” in several states, prompting FBI raids in “middle to upper class neighborhoods where the antifa and BLM activists/leadership tend to reside.”
In one particularly ridiculous imagined violent incident, the authors foresaw: “SWAT sniper conducting overwatch shot and killed one of the arsonists as he drew his arm back to throw his device... The Molotov cocktail exploded when he dropped the bottle and covered several rioters in flames, three injured severely and one dead at the scene.”
In the scenario’s grand climax, the authors predict “a massive and violent antifa demonstration in D.C.” coinciding with the certification of Electoral College votes, where “a Republican member from an at-large delegation is attacked and sent to the hospital with life-threatening wounds.”
However, the report absurdly predicts a heroic ending, with the member returning from hospital to vote for a victorious Trump.
“The critically injured Member of Congress, however, understanding what is at stake, demands to be transported to the House for the state delegation vote and arrives in a heavily guarded convoy,” it states. “With IVs and blood transfusions being administered, the Member... casts the deciding vote, giving Trump 26 state delegations and the needed majority.”
While the scenario is extremely ridiculous at points, The Bulwark notes that several of its authors, particularly Eastman, had Trump’s ear following his election defeat—so the report also serves as a chilling alternative history as to how things could have played out under different circumstances.
As reporter Christian Vanderbrouk notes in the Bulwark article: “Practically, the report is an instruction manual for how Trump partisans at all levels of government—aided by citizen ‘posses’ of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers—could, quite literally, round up opposition activists, kill their leaders, and install Donald Trump for a second term in office.”