Behind the scenes, Trump advisers and allies are increasingly resigned to a Biden victory, according to people familiar with internal discussions, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private conversations.
But few so far are actively discouraging the president or his campaign from pursuing all legal paths to contest the results. Only a smattering of Republican senators have acknowledged Biden’s victory, and there has been little coaxing on the part of senior GOP lawmakers to help Trump come to terms with his loss. Some said there is value in ensuring the integrity of this year’s results, while others described a chaotic and scattershot operation that they hoped would eventually push Trump to cooperate in a peaceful transfer of power.
“What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change,” said one senior Republican official. “He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.”
Still, Trump’s rhetoric has inflamed some of his supporters around the country, who have gathered in small “Stop the Steal” protests and declared that they do not have faith in the results.
The downside is convincing millions of people that the election was stolen and further delegitimizing the process, without any credible evidence of widespread fraud or problems. This is quite dangerous for the health of American democracy, as I argue in Election Meltdown.