Donald Trump might not accept the results of November’s election if he loses. Should Joe Biden win the presidency, a top former Justice Department official told Yahoo News she does not believe Trump will leave the White House quietly. The official, Yanita Gupta ran the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) civil rights division from 2014 to 2017. She now works for a bipartisan group that is preparing for the eventuality of Trump contesting the election results, should he lose.
Gupta said the president’s attacks on vote-by-mail efforts is one of the signs he’s setting up an argument he didn’t lose, even if he does by a wide margin.
“He’s already talking about how this will be a rigged election and saying if more and more people are voting using these so-called mail-in ballots, that the election will be rigged.”
Gupta acknowledged on Yahoo News’ Skullduggery Podcast that some might think her concerns are a “cuckoo crazy conspiracy theory,” but she and her group are looking at Trump’s attacks on absentee ballots as a real problem.
Gupta added the coronavirus pandemic makes it even more likely that Trump will question election results. She also said members of the media need to resist the urge to announce returns early, even if it appears to be a lopsided victory for either candidate.
“In a country where the media wants to be the first to call the election, there’s breaking news alerts at every moment, we may need to educate ourselves and the media and resist the urge to be the first out of the gate to call the winner because we aren’t going to be able to call the winner on election night. It’s going to take days… so we’ve got to be setting the tone and the culture right now to anticipate that in order to have every ballot counted.”
Several states have announced expanded absentee voting rules in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. California is one state that Trump has singled out as a place where he believes corruption will run rampant. Earlier this spring, governor Gavin Newsom announced the state would send absentee ballots to every registered voter in the state. Officials are trying to lessen the burden and worry of having to go in person to vote in the middle of a pandemic.
The Republican party has even launched a lawsuit against California and Newsom alleging the state’s plan will lead to voter fraud. Other states like Michigan and Nevada have also drawn the ire of Trump for their absentee ballot policies.