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Will Biden Cling To Power In 2024 The Way Democrats Predicted Trump Would In 2020?

The greatest threat to a peaceful transition of power comes from the incumbent and his administration.


In 2020, a group of leftist academics, politicians, and journalists, augmented by Republicans afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome, came together under the name the “Transition Integrity Project” (TIP-2020) to produce a report. Notable participants included John Podesta, former Bill Clinton White House chief of staff; Michael Steele, former Maryland lieutenant governor and former chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Jennifer Granholm, the secretary of energy and former governor of Michigan.

TIP-2020 was an extended brainstorming session where a hopelessly mirror-imaging left fantasized about scenarios where President Trump would never admit defeat and use extraordinary, unconstitutional, and violent means to remain in office.

What happened, of course, was a disorganized mob descending on a Capitol that was virtually undefended, thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s concern for optics — hardly the stuff of a successful coup.

Revealingly, the TIP-2020 team themselves admitted to the likelihood of violence on the left aimed at influencing the election, with page 9 of their report noting, “Team Biden almost always called for and relied on mass protests…”

But one thing that TIP-2020 got right is that an incumbent president poses the greatest threat to an orderly transition of power after an election. What TIP-2020 was blinded to is that the left is more inclined by ideology to see elections in existential terms — hence, “defending democracy” requires opposition to former President Trump by any means necessary.

This has resulted in a series of unprecedented legal cases against Trump. Lawfare has replaced campaigning as the preferred method of prevailing in an election.

With this concern, Professor Adam Ellwanger approached the Heritage Foundation’s Mike Howell in the spring with the idea that conservatives should assemble their own Transition Integrity Project. Ellwanger understood that, unlike Trump, Biden’s team was far more likely to get serious about employing extraconstitutional means to maintain Biden’s hold on power.

Identifying Likely Post-Election Threats

As it happened, Mike Howell was a veteran of the Coming Border Crisis simulation I designed and led in December 2020 — an effort that predicted with great accuracy the chaos on the border unleashed by Biden’s policies. Howell contacted me and asked me to assemble an academic exercise that would apply the rigor of military war gaming to the problem of anticipating how the 2024 election might feature unprecedented efforts to reverse an election loss.

The result was an effort that ran for 10 days and was completed on June 21. It brought together 50 experts, including a former Democratic U.S. senator, former high-ranking federal officials, retired military and law enforcement officers, attorneys, journalists, and academics in the Transition Integrity Project 2024 (TIP-2024).

TIP-2024 ran two simultaneous academic exercises to look at the what-ifs arising from the coming campaign season through the post-election certification period.

The primary takeaway from the effort is stark and clear: The greatest threat to a peaceful and routine transition of presidential power always comes from the incumbent president.

We conducted these exercises to educate the public about possible disruptions and threats to the upcoming presidential election. The team role-played various scenarios set against a backdrop of significant domestic and international issues, including inflation, mass illegal immigration, ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, escalating tensions from a bellicose China, and more.

TIP-2024’s simulations revealed four main threats to a free and fair election and a peaceful transition of power:

Lawfare: The use of the U.S. Department of Justice to claim civil rights and voting rights violations at the state level, potentially intervening in state certification of election results.

Terrorism: Deployment of organized domestic violence to intimidate state and local officials from following election law.

Information Shaping: Legacy and social media conducting information operations to ensure the public sees the official version of reality.

Federal Law Enforcement: Federal law enforcement used to arrest opponents of the regime.

These scenarios underscored that the incumbent administration has significant means to disrupt the election process. The Biden administration, like any other incumbent administration, is well-positioned to leverage governmental power to influence the election outcome. This includes using federal agencies and law enforcement to suppress opposition and manipulate the information landscape.

An Administration Willing to Defy the Constitution

The Biden administration has shown a consistent willingness to defy constitutional limits and norms, from border policies to routine court rulings. This raises concerns about their potential to use executive power to maintain control, particularly as they claim that the opposition is an existential threat to democracy.

Recent polling shows a majority of Americans believe Trump is more trustworthy to protect self-government than Biden. This distrust in the current administration’s intentions further highlights the need for vigilance and preparation for potential election disruptions.

TIP-2024’s exercises provide a roadmap for understanding and anticipating these threats. They emphasize the importance of securing the election process and ensuring a peaceful transition of power. TIP-2024 key recommendations are:

Maintain vigilance against lawfare: It is crucial to recognize politically motivated legal actions as a form of election interference and to challenge them vigorously in courts.

Promote transparency in federal agencies: Intelligence and law enforcement decisions should be transparent and free from ideological bias to maintain public trust.

Secure the electoral process: States must enforce existing election laws and precedents, ensuring that voter eligibility and identification laws are strictly followed.

Prepare for public demonstrations: Peaceful demonstrations defending constitutional governance and lawful elections should be organized to counteract procedural abuses.

Expect and counter disinformation: Efforts by foreign adversaries to interfere in the election should be anticipated and countered with public awareness and accurate information dissemination.

The lessons from TIP-2024’s exercises are clear. The greatest threat to a peaceful transition of power comes from the incumbent and his administration.

As we approach the 2024 election, it is imperative to remain vigilant, uphold the rule of law, and ensure that the voice of the American people is heard and respected.

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