The ruling class met over the summer to discuss their plan to prevent the possibility of Trump’s re-election in November. Convening a group of more than 100 “bipartisan” (think Bill Kristol) “experts” this June, they gamed out a number of scenarios for a contested election. In each of the four scenarios, they considered, these experts figured out how to finagle a Biden presidency even from the most unlikely of circumstances. In one of the games, Team Biden, played by John Podesta, ended up relying on mass uprising throughout the country, threats of secession from Western states, and Democrat governors sending pro-Biden slates of electors to Congress in opposition to election results. In this scenario, the campaign was left hoping to recruit military brass to enforce their preferred outcome. This was in the electoral scenario of, according to the report, a “Clear Trump Win.”
We know all this because, strangely, they told us. And they told us often. The Transition Integrity Project (or TIP, as the cabal is affectionately called) received widespread and reverent media coverage. The group includes as the first appendix of their report a long list of articles covering the project, from publications like The Atlantic, the New York Times, NPR, the Washington Post, and so on. These articles routinely cast the project as a heroic effort among civic-minded patriots to stop Trump from, the irony of ironies, breaking democratic norms.
As Michael Anton noted, there was a reason behind the publicity push. “If there is a conspiracy to remove President Trump from office even if he wins,” he wrote, “they’re telling you about it precisely to get you ready for it so that when it happens you won’t think it was a conspiracy; you’ll blame the president.” He’s right of course. Elites of nearly every institution are following the report’s recommendations to a T, laying the groundwork for an election fantastically biased against the President and open to fraud -- and for a coup should Trump manage to win anyway.
And they’re deadly serious about it. Shortly after Michael Anton published his analysis of the project in his widely-read essay “The Coming Coup?,” Nils Gilman, the founder of TIP, took to Twitter to opine that Anton deserves to be executed by firing squad.
Rock the Vote
Meanwhile, the coup-prep continues apace, with serious-faced journalists, deep-staters, celebrities, Big Tech moguls, academics and politicos all doing their part to convince the public that Trump is trying to illegitimately suppress the vote -- which, by the way, is dogmatically Known by Experts to be 100% un-fraud-able. States, they tell us, simply must receive votes after election day, or without a postmark, or maybe with a signature that doesn’t seem to match the one on file, and so on, and so forth. Any resistance to these electoral changes, often enacted by overruling state law through the courts, is painted as nigh-on fascism.
In reality, of course, there will be plenty of reasons to legitimately dispute ballots or election totals. Heritage runs a database documenting more than a thousand proven cases of voter fraud over the past few elections. The New York Post recently interviewed a Democratic operative who outlined his own sophisticated voter fraud efforts in New Jersey and beyond. Especially as courts overrule state rules designed to ensure the integrity of mail-in ballots, there will be plenty of legitimate contestation of ballots after the election.
Take the recent Supreme Court decision affecting Pennsylvania. Chief Justice John Roberts, a reliable barometer of elite feeling if there ever was one, sided with the liberals to require Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots received up to three days after November 3rd, even without a legible postmark. This opens the possibility that an individual could wake up the Wednesday after the election, fill out a ballot, and, so long as his vote arrived without a postmark by Friday, the vote would have to be counted.
Meanwhile, Big Tech and the media reliably inform us that voter fraud is a myth and that any suggestion to the country is dangerous and must be censored. Twitter attached a “fact-check” to a Trump tweet noting that mail-in ballots are likely to be substantially fraudulent. In saying this, Trump was echoing the conclusion of the Commission on Federal Election Reform (headed by Jimmy Carter and James Baker) in 2005, and the position of the New York Times as recently as 2012. But that was then and this is now. Now, Trump is president, and it is necessary to insist that voter fraud does not, and can not, exist.
The reason for this is made evident in the Transition Integrity Project’s report:
Election lawyers use the term “margin of litigation” to describe the range of reported vote tallies that would provoke legal action. Thinking about the upcoming Presidential election, the more important concept might be the “margin of contestation.” In other words, what combination of factors might lead a candidate to conclude that contesting the election is (or is not) in his interest? This is a dynamic and unpredictable calculation because the outcome is likely to be fought not only in court or by counting ballots, but possibly also in state legislatures, in Congress, and on the streets. What happens before Election Day will, to a large extent, determine the margin of contestation. Reporters, pollsters, pundits, political parties, and many others will communicate confidence or concern about the legitimacy of the election. Viral social media memes will play a role as well.
The reporters, pollsters, pundits, political parties, and social media companies have taken heed, and are working now to make the “margin of contestation” as small as possible. In nearly every center of cultural or political influence, elites are painting every political move Trump makes as an illegitimate power grab and are doing everything they can to protect Biden’s chances.
Marshaling the Troops
Take, for example, the recent revelations in the New York Post about the Biden family corruption. The story was hardly out before the entire ruling class had mobilized to silence it. Big Tech hid and censored it on their platforms. Members of the intelligence community leaked to the press that it was certainly part of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by, who else, Russia (we now know, of course, that they did this despite not having a shred of evidence supporting their claims). The press then refused to cover the allegations of corruption except to falsely mark them as “discredited.” The first reporter who dared ask Biden about the story was attacked and ridiculed, first by Biden and then by celebrities and fellow journalists online. The next who tried only got halfway through the question before the other “journalists” present made a show of derisively laughing the question down as Joe turned around and walked away.
But, of course, there are many such cases. The Biden campaign seems to know that it has the leeway to do pretty much whatever it wants without institutional pushback -- they can take a few days off 15 days from the election without question, for example, or refuse to tell voters whether or not Joe Biden is going to pack the Supreme Court.
The one area of society that the TIP intelligentsia seems to be concerned about are the hodgepodge of riot organizations. After giving lip service the lie (more popular in June) that the “peaceful protests” only became violent because of undercover right-wing agents provocateurs, they note some concern when it comes to the, er, “racial justice activists and others” who organized the riots, and upon whom the Biden campaign might have to rely:
“During TIP’s exercises, Team Biden almost always called for and relied on mass protests to demonstrate the public’s commitment to a ‘legitimate’ outcome, with the objective of hardening the resolve of Democratic elected officials to fight and take action, and to dramatize the stakes. As a practical matter, however, participants in the exercise noted that racial justice activists and others will likely act independently of the Biden campaign – players repeatedly cautioned that these social movements are independent, not beholden to, or a tool of, the Democratic party. Their support or Biden’s ability to mobilize them cannot be taken for granted. [...] If anything, the scale of recent demonstrations has increased the stakes for the Democratic Party to build strong ties with grassroots organizations and be responsive to the movement’s demands.”
Elsewhere in the report, the participants note that, in the event of a contested election, “this may well be a street fight, not a legal battle; technocratic solutions, courts, and a reliance on elites observing norms are not the answer here.” If the Biden campaign feels it needs to recruit Antifa and BLM into its “street fight,” and why wouldn’t they, look for them to make heavy concessions to these movements in the event of a contested election. One needs only to glance at the demands of the BREATHE Act, BLM’s flagship legislative proposal, to see what sort of concessions these might be.
Make no mistake. The ruling class has laid the groundwork already. Any Trump victory will be painted as illegitimate. Actions in the post-election period as minor as securing voting sites, ending violent protests, or even litigation will be painted as authoritarian voter suppression, justifying an extreme response.
Hillary Clinton has already urged Biden not to concede “under any circumstances.” Reporters from publications as esteemed as Playboy are asking the President to commit to a transfer of power “win, lose, or draw” and sounding the alarm when he refuses to do so. Tech companies like Twitter are vowing not to allow Trump to declare victory until two “authoritative, national news outlets” approve.
If there is a silver lining, it is that these people are not especially smart. If there is another, it is that the laws of the United States are on our side, if only we can muster the political will to keep them in place. The Claremont Institute and the Texas Public Policy Foundation ran their own wargame analysis in response to TIP, largely focusing on an area that TIP neglected entirely: the law, historical precedent, and Constitutional system of the United States. In their wargames, far from the histrionic projections of the TIP report, it was this that the Trump team turned to, seeking “to have state election law followed” as the Biden team sought “to negate state election law to maximize the counting of late or flawed mail-in ballots.” Gaming through the possible crises, they found in any event that the Constitution and the American system of government was a strong enough “‘transition integrity’ procedure” to withstand them.
Conservatives have long known that the institutions are against us. The Trump years have only made this clearer. The opposition is fiercer and more vicious than ever before, and what was previously undercover is now said blatantly. What few powerful institutions could be counted as Republican-friendly are all but entirely gone. The Democrats are now the party of the media, Hollywood, the academy, the rich, corporations, the media, and the rioters. We’ll see if it’s enough to take down Donald Trump, but, either way, Republicans are going to have to reckon with the top-down revolution sooner or later.
Frank Cannon is president of the American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @FrankCannonAPP.