How Desperate?

Today is one of those days where good news gets mitigated by bad news and vice versa. There’s a lot of noise in the polls … the good news seems to be that Biden is doing so well in the Great Lake/Upper Midwest states that Ohio and Iowa are looking increasingly positive for him. The bad news is that Arizona seems to have joined Florida in trending back towards a 50/50 race. National polls are all over the place, bouncing between a 5 to 10 point Biden lead. One particularly noisy YouGov tracking poll is getting outsized attention because Trump apparently had one really good tracking day that cut his deficit from 7 to 5 in the three day average. Really, don’t make too much of it.

Along these lines, there was some positive news yesterday from FBI Director Christopher Wray who not only threw cold water on the notion that voter fraud is rampant, he also gave excellent advice about countering foreign interference that was similar to what I wrote yesterday — exercise critical thinking when examining everything. But, just to prove that 2020 will 2020, the White House Chief of Staff slammed Wray today for making those comments. So here we are.

It’s bizarre that there is any oxygen to be gasped beyond all of that being taken up by the expected Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement on the Supreme Court, but strangely enough, Trump did find a way to step on his own message and put his own authoritarian leanings front and center this week. Trump’s comments about not accepting the results of the election, reinforced a day later, has freaked everyone out, which is good, they should have been freaked out already.

The thought that enters my mind amid all of this is … at what point does Trump figure out that the kind of fight he envisions isn’t remotely worth it? If the polls are roughly correct and he gets defeated by about 7 percent in the popular vote and loses the Electoral College by about 100 votes, why continue griping about it? Why threaten our system of government?

I have a theory of what Trump is thinking. I think what scares Donald Trump the most is that he’s going to spend the next four years of his life going from one deposition and trial to another, that he’s going to be indicted in state and federal courts and face a blizzard of lawsuits that could bankrupt him (again.) Given this likelihood, he wants to stay in power just to avoid all that.

But if he can’t succeed in retaining power, I think he has a Plan B … create a bargain chip for himself. Threaten to blow the whole system to high heaven and use his 6-3 Supreme Court as leverage to cut the deal of a lifetime. And that deal is simply to get a pardon and blanket immunity for it all. He will drop all of the election challenges in exchange for calling off all the dogs, not just the federal, but state and civil as well.

Whether Biden can or would bite on such a bargain, we’re going to have to wait and see. But I’m convinced that this is why Trump is not going to just throw away his last piece of leverage after defeat. He’s going to play the Blagojevich game and decide that a Presidential campaign concession is a very valuable thing, get the most value you can for it, don’t just toss it away casually.

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