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And professor of political science at the University of Exeter Jason Reifler has also admitted the prospect of an increasingly resentful Mr Trump remaining in the White House for almost three months was a “concern”. Mr Trump has already indicated he will seek to contest the result in the courts after Mr Biden was declared President-Elect yesterday.
Former pollster Prof Reifler said the 74-year-old’s insistence that he had been cheated as a result of voter fraud – despite providing no evidence to back up his claims – was a powerful motivation to seek a political comeback in 2024.
Prof Reifler said: “His advisers have already talked about whether he will run again 2024.
“I think that it will be harder to separate him from the Republican Party than some Republicans expect.
“We will see – it wouldn’t surprise me.
“In terms of his willingness to hold grudges and not being able to accept being on the losing end of something and being ‘beaten’ by someone, if somebody said I had to place a bet on whether he would run again or not run again, I would place the bet on he would try to run again.”
While there is no constitutional requirement for a defeated candidate to concede, it has become a standard part of the process, and Prof Reifler cited John McCain’s acclaimed speech in Phoenix in 2008 as a prime example.
He added: “I think it is helpful. I think it is useful for both parties to be able to move on to the next chapter.
“In order to respect the democratic transition of power there has to be this element of respecting the outcome of the election.
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“It is good for democracy and most Presidential level candidates observe that.”
Prof Reifler said: “If I recall Clinton did so, with some reservation, because the outcome of the election was the outcome of the election.
“It was particularly hard for Clinton and Al Gore in 2000 because they won the popularity vote and only lost because of the electoral college system.”
Mr Trump has given no indication he is ready to throw in the towel, despite suggestions son-in-law Jaren Kushner has urged him to do precisely that.
Prof Reifler said: “I don’t think before the election we expected that to happen.
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“I would say that he is behaving exactly in the way that he said he was going to behave days, weeks and months ago.
“And anybody who is surprised by it has not been paying close attention.
“Trump has shown through his entire presidency that he is not going to grow into the job and I don’t think he would do it at the end.”
Regardless, Mr Trump will remain President until Mr Biden is sworn in on January 20 – and Prof Reifler highlighted a number of reasons why that could be a potential problem.
He said: “I think he can certainly have a negative effect in that it takes attention away from the immediate administration.
“But at the same time I think there is space for Biden to do whatever he wants.
“It may set up a cleaner break for Biden.”
He added: “In terms of the exact politics of a messy transition if Trump is petty about defeat, it’s a little bit tricky to know.
“My biggest fear is that just because Biden has won, does not mean that the already bad and increasingly dire COVID-19 situation in the United States is fixing itself.
“And the extent to which whilst still President, Donald Trump does not organise or allow the federal government to improve the response of the United States is my biggest concern.
“The transition stuff will eventually be hashed out but the public health crisis needs federal attention and addressing.
“The easiest thing to happen is Congress could come up with a plan and response that comes from the legislature and even if Trump were to veto it, it could then be passed and enacted almost immediately on taking office.”
Addressing the prospect of an outgoing President with a grudge in the White House for the best part of three months, Prof Reifler said: “It is a concern in terms of how he will behave and what he will do.”
In a reference to the fact that he was still in possession of the nuclear codes he added: “Hopefully it does not come to a far-fetched adventure movie/spy/thriller novel plot in the closing days – I don’t think it will come to that.
“Thank God under Roosevelt we changed to date of transition – until the 1930s it was in March.”
Bookmaker Coral is currently offering odds of 10-1 on Mr Trump facing off against Mr Biden in four years.
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