For many American voters as well as for many observers around the world, the tension is at its height. It is Tuesday that millions of voters go to the polls. While many surprises are possible, pollsters are almost unanimous in considering that the odds of a victory for Joe Biden are higher.
Assuming the Democrat secures a clear victory and the results are not disputed, the president will have to leave the White House on the morning of January 20, 2021.
Whether one is a supporter of the president or not, one must recognize his extravagant character, his impulsiveness and his contempt for convention. For two and a half months, even beaten, Donald Trump will still enjoy very important powers.
Among the prerogatives of which he could still avail himself, we find that of granting pardons. Several presidents, Republicans and Democrats, took advantage of their last days to grant a large number.
Besides a cascade of pardons for members of his entourage who are behind bars, one wonders if he would not push the audacity to use this power for himself.
Among other gestures or decisions to pay attention to, experts told POLITICO earlier this week that they were not ruling out the possibility of the president engaging in a cleansing of the state apparatus, officials whom he associates with a deep state determined to undermine his administration.
This purge of the administrative apparatus could well extend to senior officials of several services. We are already considering departures at the head of the CIA, the FBI or public health. Anthony Faucy, harshly condemned by the president, would lose his post.
More worrying than the elements stated so far, one can legitimately wonder about the preservation of the archives of this administration. Would Donald Trump and his entourage scrupulously respect the legal provisions which oblige them to preserve all the documentation related to the decision-making process of the members of the cabinet?
The historian that I am can only wish that these precious sources be preserved, which will eventually serve to understand and explain the functioning of this administration.
The last concern I raise may sound alarmist, but it should not be ignored. Several American publications have raised this point in recent weeks. Until the very end, Donald Trump remains the Commander-in-Chief.
Not only does the president have nuclear weapons (a disaster scenario), but it cannot be excluded that he uses his last two months to carry out major military operations.
Generals and military officials have already mentioned that they could oppose a decision of their president if they consider that it violates international laws or treaties. To my knowledge, never seen before.
The Trump presidency is, and has been, anything but conventional. So don’t expect the transition to be if the Republican president is defeated.