But whatever Trump’s intentions, it seems far-fetched for him to stay in power. Courts are rejecting his legal team’s claims, and even Republican officials in key swing states are unwilling to support outlandish proposals to hand Trump electoral votes in states that he lost. Republican senators are saying that Biden should start receiving classified intelligence briefings, a de facto acknowledgement that the former vice president needs to be prepared to take over on Jan 20.
So, it seems that America’s democracy has survived mostly intact for now. An election was held, the opposition party defeated the ruling party, and the opposition party will take control of the government. That said, the last week has been far from reassuring. If the election had come down to just one state, would Trump be even more recalcitrant? If it were a closer election, would the broader GOP more openly support Trump’s efforts to stay in power? Would the Supreme Court, which includes six justices appointed by Republican presidents and some justices who seem strongly aligned with the party’s goals, have interjected in a way that boosted Trump?
It’s hard to know the answers to these questions. Democratic values are almost certain to be upheld this time — that is, the election determined who will be in charge, and the transfer of power will ultimately be peaceful. But it’s not totally clear that these values will be upheld the next time a Trump-like figure emerges. American democracy is likely to survive Trump, but his tenure has raised important questions about the state of America’s democracy and whether it will endure in perpetuity.