All the King’s Horses, Etc.

For months, people have wondered what would happen if Trump loses but refuses to concede and vacate the White House. No matter what the final vote count is, if Trump loses I don’t expect him to concede. But we may not need to send the U.S. Marshals to evict him from the White House. He may be long gone by inauguration day.

This week Trump has made noises that he may leave the country if he loses. Since Trump doesn’t understand humor or jokes, we can assume he is seriously considering leaving the country if he loses and that his internal polling numbers are telling him he’s going to lose. The question is, would that be before or after the January inauguration? Jonathan Chait:

Perhaps one thing on the president’s mind is the developing criminal case against him. He faces serious legal jeopardy by prosecutors in Manhattan and New York State for what seems to be on its face fairly cut-and-dried criminal fraud in his private business dealings. It is also possible that, having left office, prosecutors may turn over some rocks and discover more criminal behavior as president of the United States. (The Department of Justice has a policy of not charging the President with crimes, but that expires if he leaves office.)

Especially if the election result is an unchallengable landslide — and we don’t know that it will be, but let’s pretend — Trump very well might try to flee the reach of prosecutors before he is officially out of office. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he’s gone before Christmas.

But that leaves us with the question of where he might go. Without the powers of the presidency, he’s likely to find he doesn’t have many friends in the world. And then there’s his debt problem. Yesterday a writer at Forbes published an analysis of Trump’s known debts and assets that suggest he’s more than $1 billion in debt, not just $400 million. And, of course, we don’t know who holds all of that debt. Trump may be wanting to avoid whoever that is, also. But if he flees the U.S. to escape prosecution, will he be able to take his Secret Service protection with him?

At the Atlantic, Graeme Wood writes that after the election Trump might vacate the presidency and leave Mike Pence in charge, with the understanding that Pence will pardon him for any federal crimes he might have committed. (Presidential self-pardons are constitutionally iffy.) However, at the moment it’s New York and Manhattan after his ass. And if he’s indicted later at the federal level for ongoing obstruction of justice, Pence’s blanket pardon may not mean much.

Wood also doesn’t think Trump will either try to start a civil war to stay in office or leave the country but instead will go back to his old patterns of grifting.

I think this scenario is in fact the most likely one, if Trump loses the election. And it may even be his preferred scenario, better than an outright victory (which would require another four years of onerous employment), better than showing up on Inauguration Day and having to duel Joe Biden for the right to be sworn in. As for the prospect of civil war: Trump is a coward, and all evidence suggests that he would run from the responsibility, even more burdensome than normal service as president, of overseeing the violent fracture of America. A civil war sounds like a lot of work. The easiest path is also the most lucrative. Get on Marine One, protesting all the way, and spend the rest of your days fleecing the 40 percent of Americans who still think you are the Messiah, and who will watch you on cable news, spend their money on whatever hypoallergenic pillow you endorse, and come to see you whenever you visit their town.

And that’s plausible also, assuming he can wiggle out of his legal problems.

The Biden campaign wants you to know that their internal polls are showing a tighter race than the public polls, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Vote, dammit.

As I’ve written before, the Trump campaign is preparing teams of lawyers to go in and stop the count of mail-in votes in states where Trump has an election-night lead. This is still our primary concern. However, the huge early voting numbers may save us.

Chris Smith at Vanity Fair:

While no one in Bidenworld is projecting a landslide, or showing any sign of overconfidence, the candidate’s braintrust has been gaming out what to do if Biden is declared the winner, especially if it’s by a modest margin—and Trump refuses to accept the results. “Look, we may need the entire campaign operation to move to Pennsylvania to ensure that absentee ballots are counted,” a Biden adviser says. “That’s going to require money and manpower, and we’re making sure we have all of that.” Longtime Biden senior aide Ron Klain, plus campaign legal heads Dana Remus and Bob Bauer, are among the top staff thinking through the multiple court actions that might be necessary.

But it’s also the case, Smith says, that Trump is unlikely to want to be photographed  being hauled out of the White House kicking and screaming, which is what would happen eventually. If it comes to the point that it’s obvious even to Trump that Biden will be inaugurated, Trump will more than likely just leave. Maybe in the dead of night.

And then on that day — it’s like a miracle, Trump will disappear. For a while, anyway.

11 thoughts on “All the King’s Horses, Etc.

  1. Perhaps it's possible he will not only leave the country but also the planet.  What about his offspring?  Will they just fade into the woodwork or try to pursue political objectives of their own?  Personally, I just want to see the end of this nightmare.cool

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  2. Russia would seem like the obvious destination.  Snowden's been there for years and remains beyond the reach of US law enforcement and apparently intelligence agencies.  Only thing is, what use would Putin have for Trump, having failed to complete the Putin gambit of using Trump to undermine and destroy US democracy without firing a shot, by virtue of his being too damned egotistical and dumb to see it through?  Trump would have to become, in mob parlance, something he understands, an "earner" and would have to use his grifting skills from Russia to funnel money to Putin.  Maybe he'll run Nigerian prince type email scams on his gullible supporters, e.g. help me get my money out of the US by using your account to funnel money.  One thing's for sure, he has a pool of potential marks in his supporters who'll buy anything he tells them.  

    But whatever, if he goes I hope he takes the entire family with him.

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  3. tRUMP is the KKKapo (KKKrapo?) of the largest American crime family in America's history, and he, and his, deserve whatever nasty retribution(s) justice and Karma have in store for them.

    Will tRUMP stay or go? 

    Frankly, I don't give a shite as long as he quickly and peacefully leaves the Awful Orifice in his White Supremacist's House so that Biden and Harris can begin thoroughly fumigating the premises – and have teams of Shaman drive the bad juju out, so that the Oval Office and the White House can be returned to their rightful owners: "We the people!"  And OUR  representatives: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    Maybe Putin, or MBS, or some other of tRUMP's favorite DICKtators will take him and his family of IMMIGRANTS in?

    But who will take the tRUMP KKKLAN in if he already owes several hundreds-of-millions, or billions, of dollars?  What's he going to use to pay for rent and armed security?!?  His smile and sunny disposition?

    He'll no longer be useful, so all that will remain, is the idiot. 

    And DICKtators don't allow failed wannabe's to stay in their country's rent-free!

    Bad luck, but GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!!

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  4. Trump hasn't thought it through. He can hide from his prosecutors, because they're lawful, but where can he hide from his creditors? They're lawless.

    My advice to him is to turn himself in. Prison can protect him from 'Polonium' Putin.

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  5. We're fortunate that Pence's pardon won't cover state crimes.

    As for the huge debts, it's not clear whether his properties, if liquidated would cover them. It's not uncommon for real estate developers to have outrageously bad looking balance sheets.

    Assuming he can mollify his creditors, the only thing he has to fear are the various states coming after him, and he can fend these off in the courts, for awhile. And so unless somebody is coming after him with an arrest warrant, I'm not so certain he needs to leave in the middle of the night, before Jan 20.

  6. We will never be free of Orange Julius. If he actually loses and leaves office… then if he leaves the country he will set up a "government in exile" … then if he stays here he will govern via twitter. If you strike him down, he shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

    Don't even dream of these situations though. He is a cornered animal and will increase his swindles to retain the protection of the presidency. Stand back and stand by. The GOP has absolutely no morals and will do anything to retain their power momentum so they will use the whole thing as a gambit for total control. And then everything that goes wrong will, of course, be engineered by their propaganda outlets to be someone else's fault. 

    As Bender B. Rodriguez would say, "we're boned".

    (No end to the nightmare).

  7. We will never be free of Orange Julius. If he actually loses and leaves office… then if he leaves the country he will set up a "government in exile" … then if he stays here he will govern via twitter. If you strike him down, he shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

    Don't even dream of these situations though. He is a cornered animal and will increase his swindles to retain the protection of the presidency. Stand back and stand by. The GOP has absolutely no morals, is completely lawless, and will do anything to retain their power momentum so they will use the whole thing as a gambit for total control. They are going for the brass ring right here, right now. And then everything that goes wrong will, of course, be engineered by their propaganda outlets to be someone else's fault. 

    As Bender B. Rodriguez would say, "we're boned".

    (No end to the nightmare, only a slow descent into mass poverty).

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  8. An interesting article. If Trump does not leave the US, he will be charged and tried in NY state. Florida would have to extradite. There aren't a lot of places that don't have extradition to the US. Once he's out of office, what advantage does a country get for defying the US State Department if they ask for Trump if/when he hides out. 

    There's a weapon that the US government has that MIGHT be employed – freeze Trump's assets in the US, cash and property, if he won't show up for trial. That would be called for if Trump is evading NY state prosecutors AND all (or most) of Trump's US properties suddenly go up for sale and Trump is skipping around the globe dodging subpoenas and extradition. 

    Has this been done in a criminal case? I don't know. But if the law and order candidate gives the justice system the middle finger from overseas, it looks like two-thirds of his assets are in the continental US. We should let Trump go if he wants but hold on to his money until/unless he faces a jury. 

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  9. “The Biden campaign wants you to know that their internal polls are showing a tighter race than the public polls”

    This may the line they’re pushing to assure voter turnout. While Hillary lost for a number of reasons, turnout may have been lower because many thought she was a shoo-in. Biden’s campaign doesn’t want to risk it.

  10. The NYT did a killer editorial today entitled The Case Against Donald Trump.  It inspired this comment from j.p.c. 

    Dear, beloved America, be proud of yourself. You've shown great strength and resilience in having survived four years of a spiteful fool who accidentally stumbled into the White House. It was a home invasion of some consequence, but our media and free speech defended well. The Greeks wrote tragedies with actors using masks to portray different characters. Trump is both writing and acting out his own. Trump's Greek tragedy is playing America, a country of enormous potential and hope we all came, and come, to live out. America's accidental President has

    decided to write and act out his own scenario, enabled by Senators deluded by power. The audience of this tragedy, "Trumpissm", watches in dismay as the final scene is coming.

    Trumpty Dumpty is having his great fall.  We can only hope his final scene is the end of this tragedy and travesty.

  11. How will the Powers That Be distract us from their piracy if we don't have Dick to kick around any more?

    The poor fool thinks he is strong enough to fade into oblivion.  Most of us will gladly help with that plan

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