Many of our readers have asked why Democrats are so concerned that President Donald J. Trump could “steal” the upcoming 2020 election. Surely, the person who receives the most electoral votes will still become president the same as always…right? Technically, yes, that’s right. The person with the most electoral votes will absolutely become the next president. The problem might revolve around how the winner received those electoral votes.
Traditionally, there are two categories of vote tabulated during any election, local or federal: popular and electoral. The popular vote is exactly how many votes a candidate receives. The electoral vote is the result of a popular vote in a particular state — or so the thinking goes. And the person with the most electoral votes wins the election.
So why are Democrats so concerned?
First and foremost, President Trump has failed to say that he will accept the results of the election. Second, “electors” are the ones responsible for carrying out the will of the people in a given state, and only after a state’s legislative body sends them to the convention. Technically, they are not legally required to do so. We’ve been hearing reports from Republican-controlled legislative bodies in swing states that could send their electors to vote for Trump even if Biden appears to have won the popular vote in that particular state.
How is that possible? Simple: the entire Trump strategy is delegitimizing the vote. Trump will most likely attempt to sue to stop all post-Election Day votes from being tabulated (unless he loses outright on Election Day, but most analysts are expecting a post-Election Day blue wave). He might win those lawsuits. If this happens, then Donald Trump will have effectively “won” even after losing both the popular vote and electoral college.
This was a conspiracy theory in 2016, but no one took it seriously. It has more credence now that Trump actually has presidential power to sway the election.