I need to find a wormhole and cross over into the alternate dimension where this Daily Beast story was written, where there aren’t another 100,000 people dead by January 20 and the country hasn’t been swallowed up in a maelstrom of disease.

Sounds like a pretty sweet reality. Much sweeter than ours, for sure.

Here’s actual reality on November 11, 2020, with every epidemiologist in the country seemingly convinced that December and January will be even harder than this…

…and here’s the alternate reality where Biden inauguration planners are imagining some sort of gathering on the lawn outside the Capitol as he takes the oath of office:

“What do you do if our people don’t show up and his do?” asked one official involved in inaugural preparations. “They probably will and the last thing you want is a MAGA rally on the Mall when Joe Biden is sworn in as president…. I think [Trump] would want to make it as much of a shitshow as possible.”…

“I think it’s going to be almost impossible to keep people away from the Mall,” the official said. “If Saturday is any indication of how people want to participate, it is going to be hard. Part of the point of it is to allow people to participate and the cathartic nature of it being the end of Trump. People are going to want to go.”…

But Trumpism presents an entirely different dimension of potential disruptions. Already, Trump-supportive groups have signaled that they intend to organize in D.C. to protest Biden’s win. This weekend, a rally is scheduled in D.C. to include pro-Trump women’s group Women for America First, members of the far-right Proud Boys, and some white supremacists who marched in the 2017 Charlottesville rally. Another entity called the Stop the Steal Caravan, led by a host from conspiracy-theory hub Infowars, is driving from Austin and plans to arrive in Washington on Friday.

The senior adviser who helped organize a recent inaugural said that it would be a personal surprise if Trump didn’t encourage something similar for when Biden’s inauguration was scheduled. It would be similarly surprising if Trump himself even participated.

One Biden advisor predicted that not only would Trump not attend the swearing-in — which is all but a given — but that he might depart the White House and head straight to a rally to start attacking Biden at literally the first available moment after leaving office. Devoting his first hours upon returning to civilian life to delegitimizing the new president as he tries to unify the country with his inaugural address would certainly be on brand.

But it’d also be on brand for Biden to dispense with an inaugural ceremony altogether in the name of averting a mass gathering during COVID. His supporters are plenty stupid enough to show up and party on the Mall anyway, but I think a diligent messaging effort by Team Joe and other Democratic leaders in advance urging them not to show up and risk spreading the virus will keep the crowd size down. If I were Biden, I wouldn’t even take the oath in the traditional spot. Just do it with John Roberts in the Capitol rotunda or at the White House with a small group of friends and family looking on. It’s a bummer that he won’t get a big live crowd for his inauguration the way his predecessors did, but average people have sacrificed much more because of COVID than that.

Even if he wanted to have a crowd and give people an afternoon reprieve from social isolation, the optics would be so bad given his “safety first” message on coronavirus that the backlash afterward would cost him politically. “Officials who have been involved in talks around inauguration planning said public safety would be top of mind,” the Daily Beast added, with “the [normally] crowded dais instead filled with socially distant Cabinet officials and family members only.” Assuming they do hold a traditional outdoor swearing-in at the Capitol, my guess is that the Mall will be blocked off and that chairs will be set up six feet apart on the grass for select invitees — Biden cronies, Democratic donors, presumably a few hundred voters from around the country selected in some manner. It’ll be a “symbolic” inauguration.

Speaking of delegitimizing Biden, our friends in the polling industry have given us a new problem to try to solve today. Are Americans buying Trump’s claims that the election was stolen or are they not? No way, says Reuters:

The Reuters/Ipsos national opinion survey, which ran from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday, found that 79% of U.S. adults believe Biden won the White House. Another 13% said the election has not yet been decided, 3% said Trump won and 5% said they do not know.

The results were somewhat split along party lines: about six in 10 Republicans and almost every Democrat said Biden won

The poll also found that 72% think the loser of the election must concede defeat, and 60% think there will be a peaceful transition of power when Trump’s term ends in January.

Trump’s “I was cheated!” pitch isn’t working. But wait, says Elliott Morris of the Economist — according to his data, it’s working just fine:

It’s a good thing last week’s election results established that polling is a garbage industry on par with astrology or reading chicken entrails or we’d have ourselves quite a pickle in trying to reconcile this data. Needless to say, pro-Trump Republicans aren’t the first group to resort to conspiracy theorizing to explain a painful election loss. Four years ago, 66 percent of Democrats said they thought Russia had tampered with the vote count in the election to help Trump win, a claim that’s never been made by U.S. intelligence or electoral officials. In 2016 lefties saved their expression of opposition to the new president for the day after the inauguration, when they held the Women’s March. Are Trumpers going to wait too? Or will they crash the party, to the extent that anything even vaguely resembling a party is held on January 20?