Let me take just a moment to give voice to my inner fears. Let us suppose that Trump seeks the nomination in 2024 (whether in prison or not, it makes no real difference – Debs actually ran for the presidency while in jail on the Socialist ticket and got several million votes.) If he does, I think it quite likely that he will get the nomination because I cannot imagine the eight or ten or fifteen other Republicans vying for the nomination agreeing to back one candidate against Trump. Suppose Biden runs again and the result is roughly the same – an enormous popular victory for Biden and a modest electoral college victory in which there are several important states which Biden wins by relatively modest margins. Suppose, as seems likely in that case, that enough of the closest states in the Biden column have Republican legislatures.
In this set of circumstances, which do not strike me as terribly unlikely, suppose that the Republican legislatures simply vote to send slates of Trump electors to the Congress. Suppose that slates of Biden electors are also sent from those states. Suppose that on January 6, 2024 the House and Senate meet and imagine at this point that the Democrats control the Senate, having picked up one or two seats in 2022 and the Republicans control the House. If the House and Senate do not agree on whom to seat as president, the matter, I believe, goes to the House with each state delegation voting as a unit.
Suppose that under this set of assumptions, Trump, who has clearly lost the election, is declared the winner by a majority of the House state delegations voting as units. In short, suppose the Republicans in conformity with the specifications of the Constitution, steal the election. I simply cannot believe that California, New York, and the other Democratic states will accept this result. Suppose the Supreme Court refuses to consider the matter on the legally correct grounds that it is for the Congress to settle the issue.
At this point, American democracy, such as it is and as it has been at least during my lifetime, is over. What would the outcome be? I honestly do not know. Whom would the Army obey? Whom would the National Guard obey? Whom would the District of Columbia police and the capital police obey?
This keeps me up at night.