How the Transition Integrity Project simulated the upcoming 2020-2021 Post-Election Crisis.
This article is the second part of a four-part series, ““Red Pill Democrats?” Signs grow that the Anti-Trump Coalition may support California Secession.” Click here to read the beginning of this article.
War Games: Not a Game and Not a War
Especially among national security officials, simulations are a common activity. Practicing to manage an imaginary global crisis increases the likelihood that the next real crisis facing the USA ends peacefully.
Similar to crisis simulations in the Government, the participants in the TIP simulations included senior officials from previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican. Other participants included senior political campaigners, nationally-prominent journalists, social movement leaders, and experts on politics, national security, law, and mass media.
All participants are Trump Administration critics. However, it is common to use “friendly” personnel to represent “adversaries” in simulations. In such situations, “adversary” players do their best to play their role in a way that best represents how the real adversary would act. For example, the U.S. Air Force maintains “Aggressor” squadrons whose pilots fly like likely adversaries to help prepare U.S. pilots to win if actual combat should occur.
Seven Groups in Conflict
The TIP ran four simulations using teams of two to three people each. The teams represented:
- The Trump Campaign.
- The Biden Campaign.
- Republican Elected Officials.
- Democratic Elected Officials.
- Career U.S. civilian and military officials.
- Mass Media (all political orientations).
- The American Public (represented by polling experts).
The decision to represent the Trump Campaign, Republican Party, Biden Campaign, and Democratic Party as independent groups with their own goals was crucial. Both campaigns were often surprised to discover that other officials in their party were reluctant to support their strategy. In particular, state governors focused on controlling the COVID pandemic, which they presumed would still be in progress this winter.
The teams were comprised of people that had fulfilled these roles in their lives, or were doing so now. For example, retired military officers related how the U.S. military would respond, or not, actions by other groups.
Each “game” began with a specific set of facts. However, the TIP report makes clear that the participants brought a panoply of current facts into each scenario. One important example was their knowledge of the party affiliation of the Governors of likely “battleground” states.
Although dice rolls added a randomnizing factor, discussions between the participants determined the outcome of each action. The game umpire was the final arbiter.
Apparently, the potential actions of each team were unlimited. For example, in one “game”, Attorney General Barr launched an inquiry into alleged “terrorist ties” between the Biden Campaign and anti-fascist protesters! The Trump team even discussed starting a war to attempt to rally support.
November 3, 2020 to January 20, 2021: Four Crisis Scenarios
In the exercise, the teams played through four different scenarios:
- An Ambiguous Electoral College Result.
- Clear Biden Victory.
- Trump wins the Electoral College, Biden wins the Popular Vote.
- Narrow Biden Victory.
In the first scenario, there were close election results in three critical states: Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina. Although Trump led in early election results, Biden gained steadily as mailed-in ballots were received. Ultimately, after someone destroyed many Biden ballots in Florida, Trump declared a narrow victory. In response to public protests, Trump invoked the Insurrection Act and sent U.S. troops into American cities. Meanwhile, the Democratic Governor of Michigan appointed Biden electors to contest the awarding of 16 electoral votes for Trump. On January 20, 2021, both teams still claimed victory.
In the second scenario, the defeated Trump team focused on looting the federal treasury and trying to avoid prosecution. In this case, the Biden campaign and federal civil servants achieved a rough but effective transition.
The third scenario led to the Biden campaign endorsing dramatic constitutional reforms to guarantee that future presidents have majority support. To gain more leverage, the Biden campaign threatened to endorse secession by California, Oregon, and Washington, if Republicans did not agree. This scenario ended with both campaigns claiming the presidency.
Finally, in the fourth scenario, Biden edged Trump by 1% in the popular vote, and won 16 more electoral votes. In this case, moderate Republicans like Mitt Romney backed Democratic efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis. This scenario ended with Biden becoming president.
Part Three: “Democrats for Secession:” What if Biden endorses #Calexit? (click here)