Best read of the week: What if?

The Election that could break America” in The Atlantic, by Barton Gellman

On the drive back from vacation, during which my brain had been happily feasting on “The Warmth of Other Suns” while my body basked in the warmth of the sun shining down on a Lake Huron beach, my father and I got into an argument about the future of America. I don’t remember the details now (we were both tired from too much fun and relaxation, I guess) but the upshot was:

Dad: No matter what the outcome of Election Day 2020, Trump very well might refuse to concede, encouraging his minions across the country to hold control by physical force and using the courts to back up his right to power.

Kate: Nonsense!

Now, we don’t know what Nov. 3 holds but my father was more tuned into what experts on election history, succession, the rule of law and tyrants have to say about the possibilities than I was. A peaceful transition of power is not assured.

This Atlantic cover article by Barton Gellman makes that point, backed up by many possible scenarios.

What if Trump refuses to concede? Gellman tells us what could happen, and it’s scary. And fascinating to think of how smoothly presidential power has flowed from one leader to the next in my lifetime—and decades before.

I guess it’s better that I know what could happen than to be surprised by what does.

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