So many shocking things have become normal now under this administration that it’s kind of hard to imagine what would genuinely jolt the nation at this point. And with regard to November’s election, the shocking-but-normal reality is that we know Donald Trump will cheat. There was a terrifying piece in the Times on Sunday laying out all the different moves he could pull to steal the election that his opponents are war-gaming to prepare for and counter. One little nugget from it: Trump could issue orders that impact cities in battleground states like “declaring a state of emergency, deploying the National Guard or forbidding gatherings of more than 10 people.”
Everyone knows he’ll cheat. Even his supporters know he’ll cheat. His cheating is one of the things they love about him. So that he’ll cheat—while loudly accusing the other side of cheating—is a given. We just don’t know yet exactly how. Here are five all-too-plausible scenarios. Trigger warning: They may literally make you sick, especially the last one.
Scenario One: He steals it “fair and square.” In other words, he wins like he did in 2016, eking out a 78,000-vote, three-state Electoral College margin (or something along those lines) while losing the popular vote. Except this time, he’s likely to lose the popular vote by more than last time, perhaps far more. Why? Because Joe Biden’s margins are likely to be bigger than Clinton’s were in the large blue states, and Trump’s margins are likely to be smaller in the big red states like Texas and Georgia. So he could lose the popular vote by five or six million this time instead of the 2.8 million of last time.