WASHINGTON – Apart from politics, there is only one outcome of the US 2020 presidential election that could bring relief to the Pentagon organizers: a clear victory. It is someone who will be baptized.
In the months leading up to Tuesday’s election, U.S. military officials were forced to consider possible collapse in the disputed election, including protests like the one in June over racial injustice that brought the National Guard to the streets.
A controversial vote could dispel the kind of baseless speculation that has forced the U.S. general to assure lawmakers that the military will not play a role in resolving any election dispute between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic Alliance opponent Joe Biden.
The decisive outcome could reduce such concerns by reducing the risk of a long-running political crisis and the protests that it could bring, say current and former officials and experts.
“The best thing for us (the military), would be a landslide in some way,” said a U.S. security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, expressing the feelings shared by many officials.
“It gives the soldiers a ‘Get Out of Prison for Free’ card,” said Risa Brooks, a Marquette University professor of political relations.
A week before the election, a Ipsos poll showed Biden leading Trump nationally by 10 percent, but the numbers were strong in the battlefields that would decide the election and give Trump his surprise in 2016. The coronavirus epidemic has added to the uncertainty this year, changing how and when Americans vote.
As one of America’s most respected institutions – rated more than in Congress, the presidency and the Supreme Court in a referendum – the US military has struggled to remain politically neutral during a year marked by epidemic, civil unrest and both presidential elections suggesting support for US troops.
The president, who is proud of his extensive support for the military, has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he decides Tuesday’s results are fraudulent and has called for the military to be mobilized under the 200-year-old Insurrection Act.
“Behold, it is called rebellion. We just sent them in and they made it a lot easier, ”Trump told Fox News in September.
Biden, on the other hand, suggested that the military would ensure a peaceful transfer of power if Trump refused to step down after the election.
US Army General Mark Markley, who was elected last year by Trump as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been adamant that troops do not get out of the way if there is an opposition vote.
“No role should be played by U.S. troops In determining the outcome of the U.S. election Zero. There is no role there. ”
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Trump has been turning to the military all his time in office to do tasks such as helping to defend the southern border of the United States and Mexico and to show determination in his response to the coronavirus, even placing a military commander in a bid to distribute the drug.
Peter Feaver, a national security expert at Duke University, warned that America’s willingness to look at the military when there is a crisis could create public anticipation, no matter how misguided, that it could also help solve the electoral crisis.
“If things go awry and it is November 30 and we still do not know who the president is … that is where the growing military pressure will increase,” Feaver said, thinking of a situation where street protests are increasing as democratic religion ages.
The speculation focuses on Trump’s possible use of active troops to end protests – something the military recommends he does in June, but Trump can do so legally if he chooses to apply for the 1807 Insurrection Act.
Steve Abbot, a retired military commander who has approved of Biden, said Trump’s risk of using the Insurrection Act “undoubtedly affects uniforms in the Pentagon.”
Mike Smith, a retired chief of staff leading a group of national security experts who support Biden, said he was concerned that Trump could easily return to the military to show strength in the post-election crisis.
National Guard officials in many provinces said they were contacting police departments about what they would need in case the security situation worsened, but added that such planning was part of what the military was doing.
“We’ve had a lot of planning meetings, so we have a lot of options available,” said Army Major General Jeff Holmes, Adjutant General of the Tennessee National Guard.
Air Force Major General Daryl Bohac, head of the Nebraska National Guard, emphasized, however: “This is not new, this is what we do every year at various events.”