In recent weeks, Democrats have pondered numerous nightmare scenarios involving the upcoming election, most notably the fear that President Trump will either prematurely declare victory or refuse to concede if he loses. But senior Biden campaign adviser Bob Bauer is worried about something else: That all the talk about an Election Day fiasco could become a self-fulfilling prophecy and discourage voters from going to the polls in the first place.
“I think the election will come off [and] I think it will come off successfully,” Bauer, a former White House counsel in the Obama administration, told the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast. “We have to separate some of the fact from the fiction here, particularly because I’m concerned that voters are going to be completely bewildered and wonder whether there is an electoral process that they really ought to bother participating in.”
Bauer said he has a great deal of confidence in election officials around the country to safeguard the results. He also scoffed at the more outlandish scenarios some have fretted about.
"For a while, for example, people really wondered, ‘Well, could literally Donald Trump by emergency decree alter the date of the election?’” Bauer said. But given that the date for the election has been fixed for more than a century by federal statute, Bauer said he doesn’t worry about such a far-fetched scenario coming to pass.
“One thing people do not recognize is that across the country there is just an extraordinary amount of work being done by conscientious election officials working with civil society and other organizations to put this election on a secure footing that will enable voters to participate and will enable the public to have confidence in the results,” Bauer said.
Along with former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith, Bauer is the author of a new book “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency,” which offers a road map for how to reform the executive branch after Trump leaves office. The book includes specific proposals concerning presidential conflicts of interest, foreign influence on elections and law enforcement independence.
In his interview with “Skullduggery,” Bauer conceded that “given the experience of the last several years” it is important to prepare for “contingencies, including some of the darker ones.” But he insisted that it is a mistake to highlight Trump’s more shocking claims.
“I think some of what you hear in the public space on this subject is a little bit fantastic,” Bauer said. “What I’m always worried about is elevating the rhetorical excesses of Donald Trump. He wants us to believe the election will be chaotic, he wants us to believe there will be rampant fraud, he wants us to believe that it will be illegitimate unless he wins.”
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