- - Monday, August 24, 2020

Recently, David Plouffe, erstwhile 2008 Barack Obama campaign manager, remarked after watching the former president’s speech at this year’s virtual DNC convention that “there has never been one like that [referring to Mr. Obama’s rhetoric] It’s alarming to hear it. He’s basically saying if this election goes to Donald Trump, our democracy could be over.”

Mr. Plouffe, senior vice president at Uber, and Exhibit A of how Washington grift-o-nomics works, should know better than to trade in this kind of language, especially on television (even if it is just on MSNBC). His comments remind one of the introduction to The Federalist Papers, where Alexander Hamilton warns of “the perverted ambition of another class of men, who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial confederacies than from its union.”

Now, Mr. Plouffe did note his “alarm” over the drift of Mr. Obama’s speech, so perhaps it is unfair to impute to him a desire to see the United States balkanize. But, as it turns out, it’s not unrealistic to fear that the left triggers a constitutional crisis of some sort come November.

In late July, a group of high-level politicos got together to war-game different scenarios in a Trump-Biden contested election. Four different outcomes resulted. As you can imagine, most outcomes flourished into the doomsday prospect of President Trump refusing to step down. However, since this is the refrain we hear most in the media, and given the political slant of some of the members taking part in the simulation, color us unsurprised.

But what was interesting was the result of one scenario in particular. One in which John Podesta played the role of Joe Biden. As The New York Times summarized:

“But Mr. Podesta, playing Mr. Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College.

“In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Mr. Trump took office as planned. The House named Mr. Biden president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump. At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for cues, and waited to see what the military would do.”

We may laugh at this eventuality, but, and especially in light of recent unrest and mob-kowtowing by prominent elected officials, is it really so ludicrous?

Remember how ugly and extreme — all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — the Bush-Gore contest became. Well, that happened under the best circumstances. Comparatively, we are in a powder-keg moment. And the mob knows it. Met with little to no resistance during the protests-turned-riots (still ongoing in some places!), the fringe left — and its mainstream puppeteers — won’t think twice about burning cities if Mr. Trump wins.

For his part, the president is not making things easier. He, too, is responsible for unhelpful comments, and is already, a few months out, calling into question the validity of the election.

Neither side is giving an inch.

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Biden can control what their followers say. But they can moderate their own speech and the speech of inner-circle dealers like Mr. Plouffe. All it takes is one, quick public show of communal face with the promise that both parties will abide by the results of the election. Whether those results are adjudicated in court is neither here nor there. The point is that, by whatever means of resolution, ultimately one side will stand down.

Because if they don’t, it won’t be the British taking advantage of the situation, but the Chinese.

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