Don’t Be Too Shocked if the Election Isn’t Over Tomorrow

I know we’re all sick to death of it. One more day of this garbage, and then life will go on, right? Not necessarily. There are lots of ways this thing could drag out for a while. I wouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief until I heard a concession speech from someone.

Here are some scenarios that could happen, and they could overlap with each other. Even if each one by itself isn’t probable, they add up to form a significant percentage of likely outcomes for Tuesday:

1. Clear victory, disputed by the other side

Polls, as of today, suggest that Hillary will win the states she needs to win to secure a victory, but expect the slightest hint of any of this (or even something new, but similar, and/or completely made up) to be blown way out of proportion and become the top story this week:

A. From the Right

After all the huffing and puffing about voter fraud from Breitbart, Drudge, O’Keefe et al., as well as directly from Trump himself, there is broad grassroots belief that the system is rigged. People on the right are primed and ready to believe that the Democrats have committed widespread, systemic fraud involving illegal immigrants, the homeless, or the deceased. Whether it’s true is less important for the post-election day outcome than whether people are ready to believe it.

Which do you find easier to picture: Donald Trump is a combative billionaire, who has spent decades building a “brand” and a cult of personality and flirting with the idea of running for president. If it looked like he lost, would he go gently into that good night? Would he just allow Hillary Clinton to become president, a woman who, in his words, is “nasty,” “crooked,” “corrupt,” and “should be in jail?” Or would he cast doubt on the result? If you support him, which would you prefer? That he give up, or try? Therein lies the outcome.

B. From the Left

Less prominent have been suggestions of voter intimidation by Trump’s “poll watchers,” or just run-of-the-mill “patriots,” and even the possibility of voting machines being hacked by… the Russians! But because these stories are much less prominent in the left-space as I perceive it, and generally treated with healthy skepticism, I have to think it’s less likely that a surprise Trump victory would be disputed on these grounds. Although, the very surprise nature of it might lend credence to such theories.

If it comes down to it, which do you find easier to picture: Hillary Clinton is a former first lady, senator, and secretary of state, who has been preparing for decades to be the first female president, backed by the vague inevitability of being on “the right side of history.” If it looked like she lost, would she go gently into that good night? Would she just allow Donald Trump to become president, a man who is, in her words, “unqualified to be president,” backed by “a basket of deplorables,” and who trades in “racist lies?” Or would she cast doubt on the result? If you support her, which would you prefer? That she give up, or try? Therein lies the outcome.

2. Electoral College tie, or sub-270 plurality

If no one wins a majority of the electoral college votes (270), even if they won the most votes, a whole other process goes into effect, which I detailed a bit in my last post.

3. Faithless elector(s)

The electoral college isn’t just a points system, it actually still has “electors,” people who vote on behalf of the people of their states. What if they vote contrary to we the people? There are rules governing this, but what if those rules are broken? The stakes sure are high this election.

This is not a very likely scenario, but not impossible, and it has precedent.

4. Recount a la the 2000 election

Remember that? Combine with scenario 1), and what happens?

Just brace yourself, is all I’m sayin’.

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