A Washington Post op-ed published Thursday suggested Americans should prepare for war if the election result is anything but a landslide for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The op-ed, titled “What’s the worst that could happen?” is written by Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University. In it, Brooks notes that the Transition Integrity Project, which she co-founded, “built a series of war games,” gathered participants “and asked them to imagine what they’d do in a range of election and transition scenarios.”
“A landslide for Joe Biden resulted in a relatively orderly transfer of power. Every other scenario we looked at involved street-level violence and political crisis,” according to Brooks.
The op-ed goes into detail regarding “four scenarios experts consider most likely” in terms of the 2020 election.
“We explored the four scenarios experts consider most likely: a narrow Biden win; a big Biden win, with a decisive lead in both the electoral college and the popular vote; a Trump win with an electoral college lead but a large popular-vote loss, as in 2016; and finally, a period of extended uncertainty as we saw in the 2000 election,” Brooks wrote.
Since asking Biden and President Donald Trump was not possible, the project relied on “participants with similar backgrounds.” Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and and conservative commentator Bill Kristol were among those on the GOP side. All have been described as “never Trump” or “not Trump Republicans,” the Boston Globe reported.
“In each scenario, Team Trump — the players assigned to simulate the Trump campaign and its elected and appointed allies — was ruthless and unconstrained right out of the gate, and Team Biden struggled to get out of reaction mode,” according to Brooks.
Perspective: The election will likely spark violence — and a constitutional crisis.
In every scenario except a Biden landslide, our simulation ended catastrophically. https://t.co/E3tugZBuBj
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) September 3, 2020
Each exercise resulted in both Democrat and Republican participants calling for “supporters to take to the streets,” the op-ed continued.
“Team Biden repeatedly called for peaceful protests, while Team Trump encouraged provocateurs to incite violence, then used the resulting chaos to justify sending federalized Guard units or active-duty military personnel into American cities to ‘restore order,’ leading to still more violence. (The exercises underscored the tremendous power enjoyed by an incumbent president: Biden can call a news conference, but Trump can call in the 82nd Airborne,)” Brooks wrote.
According to the op-ed, despite noting that the “war games” largely resulted in mass violence and chaos, it “doesn’t predict the future.” Brooks finished by laying out ways to prevent an apparent upcoming war, from protecting the electoral process to military powers preparing for a “possibility that politicians will seek to manipulate or misuse their coercive powers.”
“Mass mobilization is no guarantee that our democracy will survive — but if things go as badly as our exercises suggest they might, a sustained, nonviolent protest movement may be America’s best and final hope,” Brooks wrote.
Author: Shelby Talcott