To get expert opinions on the fate of the nearly 245-year-old democracy, a group of students from the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and Department of Political Science conducted a survey and a path selection game with 150 members of political science professional associations who specialize in elections, both in the United States and abroad. The results are published in the Keough School’s latest policy paper, “American Democracy at Risk: A Comparative Perspective.”
The most damaging scenario to US democracy, a situation the experts overwhelmingly expect (80 percent likelihood), is President Trump refusing to leave office if he loses—regardless of the context or margin of victory—and rejecting a Supreme Court ruling against him. The group also finds that demonstrations and potentially violent responses are somewhat likely in case of a Trump defeat, but predict a Biden loss would make them even more likely. In fact, the policy paper authors wrote that a recent study revealed “a meaningful minority of partisans are open to electoral violence, with about one in five voters stating that violence would be at least ‘a little’ justified if the other party were to win the election.”
Before the results are even tallied, the experts point to other areas of great concern such as attempts at voter suppression, foreign interference and the removal of ballot drop boxes.