What To Do If Trump Refuses to Concede
Like all Democrats I am hoping that Biden/Harris win in an indisputable landslide. Even though the polls are leaning toward a Biden victory right now, the race is still extremely close in battle-ground states and a tight electoral college is still a possibility. By now, you know all the things you could have been doing to help swing this election toward a Biden victory on November 3rd. Now votes are being cast and its time to start planning for November 4th. The period between November 4th and January 20th has the potential to be the most politically instable time in modern electoral history.
Trump has been signaling almost daily that he has no intention of a peaceful transition of power. Like all people my age and older, I still have nightmares about the 36 days it took to settle the 2000 presidential election, and that was between two parties who at least wanted the public to believe they were reasonable and measured. From a legal perspective, the Gore team still had legal avenues to continue to dispute the election, even after the Supreme Court decision of Bush vs. Gore, but he chose to concede for the good of the country. I think all but the fiercest Trumpian cult members know that given the option between himself and the country, Trump will always choose himself. On top of that we have a Republican party hell-bent on maintaining power even at the expense of democracy.
This isn’t alarmist. Many respected historians and journalists believe Trump will never concede this election. Earlier this summer a bipartisan group of 100 politicians, historians and journalists conducted a series of war-games on various scenarios that could occur during the transition called the Transition Integrity Project. They issued a report in August, and the only scenario that didn’t result in legal battles, disruption, and/or a constitutional crisis, was an overwhelming and clear Biden victory.
Starting today we need to prepare for what we the people, can do to stop Trump if he refuses to concede. Modern history has many examples of successful popular uprisings against coups and the US is no different if we work together. You have two main steps ahead of you and they are totally do-able.
Educate yourself and share that information
There are some great guides out there on how to defend democracy and what tactics have worked in other countries. Some of them are below. Start by brushing up on important dates and procedures in the presidential election, so you know what people are talking about and when deadlines are approaching. Next, at least skim the likely scenarios the Transition Integrity Project played out. This will help you figure out what is happening before its too late and what may still happen in the days and weeks to come. Read, or even just skim, a guide or two, and then share what you’ve learned with people you know. Suggest they read a guide or two. If you are really feeling fired up, attend a training to be a leader. The more educated people are on what can happen and what they can do, the better. Following are links to resources to educate yourself.
• Key election dates and terminology (pdf)
• The Transition Integrity Project Report (pdf)
• Hold the Line: A Guide to Defending Democracy (pdf)
• Commitment to Uphold Democracy Campaign Planning Guide (Google doc)
• Hold the Line Training Session – Oct 27 4:30-6:00pm PT (zoom pre-registration)
• Choose Democracy Training – Oct 27, Oct 28, or Oct 30 4:30-6:30pm PT (zoom pre-registration)
Make a plan of action and connect with people locally or online
Once you know what some scenarios are, decide what actions you can take to defend democracy. If you are able-bodied, low risk for Covid-19, and don’t have family-care responsibilities, you should grab a mask and take to the streets. There are pre-planned actions all over the country. If you don’t see one in your city, get together with friends and plan one. People will join you.
These are the currently planned protests:
Note – these are “on call” beginning Nov 4th but could occur later or be ongoing. Click the link to sign up for activation notifications.
San Francisco and Oakland
• San Francisco Civic Center – on call from 3pm Nov 4th (general protest)
• San Francisco Twitter headquarters – on call from 5pm Nov 4th (calling on Twitter to manage Trumps tweets)
• Oakland Oscar Grant Plaza – on call from noon Nov 4th (general protest)
• Menlo Park, Facebook Headquarters – on call from 4pm Nov 4th (calling on Facebook to prevent the spread of disinformation)
For other locations:
If you don’t find an event near you and want to coordinate or host an event:
• Protect The Results Event Host Toolkit (google doc)
Be an activist from home:
If you need to stay home, you can still help by making phone call, sending emails, using social media to inspire others, and supporting protestors. Hopefully, you already learned how to do some of this during the BLM protests and in the run-up to the election. Here are some links to help coordinate from home action:
• Protect the Results Social Media Toolkit (google doc)
• Protect our Democracy State Election Officials contact template
• Protect our Democracy County Election Officials contact template
• Protect Our Democracy Elected Officials contact template
• Ways to Support Street Protestors From Home (this is from the BLM protests but the same advice applies)
No matter what, get ready to take some form of action. If we don’t have to, we can all breath a sigh of relief and take a a little time to rest. If we do have to take action, preparing means you will be less anxious and ready to move that much faster.