To hear Donald Trump tell it, Tuesday’s results will either save or ruin the country. Americans will emerge from Election Day ascendant with a strong new leader who heeds their cries, or they will plunge into a dystopian future of hopelessness and violence.
“It’s our last chance,” Trump said in early November in Pennsylvania. But here’s what Trump actually says will happen if he loses to Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.
First, he has said the nation could face a messy fight around the election results themselves. Trump declined to promise at the final presidential debate that he would accept the election results regardless of outcome. “I’ll keep you in suspense,” he said. The following day at a rally in Ohio, he elaborated: “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win,” he said.
So in the event of a Trump loss, he’s hinted at challenging the results or calling for a re-count similar to 2000. “If Al Gore or George Bush had agreed three weeks before the election and waived their right to a challenge or a re-count, there would be no Supreme Court case,” Trump argued in Ohio. “In effect, I’m being asked to waive centuries of legal precedent designed to protect the voters.” (TIME’s David Von Drehle explains here why Trump’s comparison to the 2000 election doesn’t hold up.)
Trump surrogate Roger Stone has gone further, saying there will be a “bloodbath” if Democrats “steal” the election.
But if Trump either doesn’t challenge the results or does and is still found to be the loser, he has said that Hillary Clinton would be tried for crimes in office and impeached. Two nights before the election, he said Clinton’s time in office would be “likely to conclude in a criminal trial.” On Nov. 2, he said, “If Hillary Clinton were to be elected, it would create an unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis,” and raised the specter of impeachment: “Haven’t we just been through a lot with the Clintons?” he said. “Remember when [Bill Clinton] was impeached for lying? … Didn’t we just go through this?”