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"Now All I Need Is a Vote of 6-3 to Win a Second Term"

Mark Karlin: Trump and Barr appear cocky and supremely confident that they will steal the 2020 election through a number of possible different strategies

Trump Is Thinking as He Pressures McConnell for a Pre-Election SCOTUS Confirmation

George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 by a 5-4 vote, with the decision written by Antonin Scalia. (Stephen Masker)

George W. Bush was elected president in 2000 by a 5-4 vote, with the decision written by Antonin Scalia. (Stephen Masker)

Donald Trump, bolstered by the authoritarian ravings of Bill Barr, is openly and rabidly declaring that the Republicans will have to suppress Democratic votes for him to win a second-term and to keep the Senate in the hands of the GOP.

Indeed, in March, Trump said on “Fox & Friends” that he opposed Congressional Democratic proposals to expand enfranchisement, including mail-in voting for anyone who wants it amidst the pandemic and enhancing election integrity because, “They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

Despite being down in the polls for several months, Trump has been delegitimizing the election by charging that the Democrats are rigging the vote. He has particularly focused on false claims that mail-in voting is rife with fraud, even though there are states, such as Oregon and Colorado, who conduct their election entirely by mail-in ballots and have experienced little if any fraud.

As a recent commentary outlined, Trump is planning on declaring victory the night of November 3 if he is ahead in the popular vote because most Republicans are voting in person, while a massive number of Democrats are voting by mail. Trump will declare that he has won a second-term. His consigliere, Bill Barr, will issue a bombastic duplicitous legal statement, based on nothing but his loyalty to his authoritarian mob boss, Donald J. Trump. Barr will state some magical legal theory that the mail-in votes counted after November 3 should be destroyed because Barr has determined they are fraudulent.

Trump and Barr appear cocky and supremely confident that they will steal the 2020 election through a number of possible different strategies

The purpose of this will be to control the narrative, which will likely be echoed by the media, that the Democrats, particularly Biden, are trying to “steal” the election from the Republicans. In some ways, there is a certain poetic justice at work. After all, Trump and his cult followers regard only white Christians as “true” Americans. Democrats are the enemy of white supremacy and threaten minority white patriarchal rule and, therefore, are indeed illegitimate.

As BuzzFlash pointed out in an August 20 commentary, this is right out of the George W. Bush 2000 election playbook, in which the infamous “Brooks Brother Riot” shut down recounting in Florida. Then the Bush campaign hit the federal courts while launching a media offensive that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman were trying to steal the election from Bush. As BuzzFlash noted on August 20,

Yes, ultimately it came down to a partisan 5-4 Supreme Court vote to install Bush in the White House, but with control of the false narrative, that Gore was trying to overturn the will of the voters, Bush’s campaign was able to stop any further recount after Miami-Dade gave up, out of fear for the safety of the recounters, on trying to get the vote right. This allowed Bush campaign staff and supporters to push the media toward a stance that Bush had won and Gore was trying to change the vote count. Bush supporters mocked Gore as a “loserman.”

Given that Trump has weaponized his followers to be prepared for Democrats allegedly “stealing” the election and “warned” of potential violence in the streets as he moves toward dictatorship (he is once again saying he is owed a third term), it is not surprising that a growing number of American voters [are] losing confidence in the 2020 election.

On August 19, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany once again confirmed that Trump might not accept a defeat given alleged and unproven “voter fraud.”

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Trump and Barr appear cocky and supremely confident that they will steal the 2020 election through a number of possible different strategies, but controlling the narrative so Trump’s followers take to the streets believing that the post November 3 counting of ballots is a criminal effort to deny Trump a second term is essential to their efforts. It was vital to Bush in 2000 too, as Gore and the Democrats appeared oblivious to the optics and media spin that they were trying to fraudulently steal a victory from Bush who was just ahead by 537 votes when the Florida State Supreme Court ordered a recount. If the recount had transpired, Bush would have likely lost by thousands of votes out of nearly six million cast.

However, what has Trump and Barr’s attention is that Gore actually winning Florida didn’t matter, because Bush only needed five votes on the United States Supreme Court.

In future commentaries, BuzzFlash will discover some other options that are making Trump and Barr very confident of stealing the 2020 election, including an obscure provision in the Constitution, located in the 12th Amendment, which might be an option in an electoral college in disarray. Thom Hartmann and Greg Palast have written about how the 12th Amendment might be used by Trump to be elected by a Congress that would only have one vote for each state, meaning that the Red State vote of Oklahoma would be worth the same as the entire state of California.

However, that is for another commentary. Trump is demanding McConnell fill the court seat left empty by Ginsburg’s passing for two reasons: one, he thinks it will energize his reactionary supporters; and, two, he sees a 6-3 conservative majority as his backstop to award him the presidency out of pure partisan politics.

If the seat isn’t filled, Chief Justice John Roberts might side with the three liberal judges, a ruling that would end with the stalemate. So, Trump wants a reliable GOP Federalist society hack to ensure if the election ends up in the Supreme Court, he would end up winning the election, as Bush did, with a 5-4 or 6-3 vote, depending on how Roberts votes. Either way Trump would be “elected,” although as Bush was, by the Supreme Court, despite in all likelihood massively losing the popular vote.

And that is why Trump will put intense pressure on McConnell to “warp speed” his nominee through confirmation in record time. McConnell is likely to want the vote after the election in the lame-duck session so as not to jeopardize his GOP Senators who hold the balance of the Senate in their hands.

Trump, meanwhile, wants the insurance of knowing that a 6-3 election win likely awaits him in the Supreme Court. All Trump has to do is create enough chaos with the help of Bill Barr and the RNC to put the fate of many states that chose Democratic electors in doubt.


That is one of his victory strategies, and the Democrats should be aware that threats of packing the courts won’t stop Trump from winning a second term on a 6-3 vote.

Mark Karlin