We're assuming that the likely outcome is a Biden win that's obvious to all objective observers. But in a Trump/Fox/QAnon world, objective reality has no meaning to roughly 40% of the population. It's also likely that Biden will win (if he does win) by less than the current 7-point margin the polls are showing for him, because of Republican vote suppression, incorrectly submitted mail ballots, and the usual problem Democrats have persuading many people who don't like Republicans that they need to vote Democratic to keep Republicans out of office.
So I'm expecting a Biden win by about 4 points nationwide, with the states that put him over the top being very close. And that's where Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Kevin McCarthy, and the rest of the GOP "establishment" come in. They've accepted -- or openly endorsed -- nearly everything Trump has done to degrade our country. "Establishment" Republicans were yelling "Voter fraud!" long before Trump was, back in the Bush years. Why should we assume that they'll abandon Trump when he's making the same claim after the election?
After the election, Trump won't be saying he lost but won't leave -- he'll be saying he won, and in all likelihood McConnell, Graham, and others will be saying the same thing. Fox News and the New York Post and The Federalist and The Washington Post's Marc Thiessen and Hugh Hewitt will be saying the same thing. Trump will find lawyers who will file court briefs saying the same thing. And some judges will agree -- maybe even Supreme Court justices.
In other words, Trump won't try to reject the election outcome. He'll attempt to change it. And we'll have to fight more than just Trump if we don't want this effort to succeed.
All of these efforts have one thing in common: they are designed to cast doubt in the public’s mind about the legitimacy of the election. It is yet another example of how Trump and his enablers have become “merchants of doubt.” When using that descriptor to explain how Republicans were attempting to spread lies about Biden’s’ involvement in Ukraine, this is how journalist Paul Waldman described the origins of that strategy (emphasis mine):In 1969, a memo written at the Brown & Williamson tobacco company explained how they and their colleagues in the industry could push back against the growing public perception that their products were giving people cancer. It wasn’t necessary to disprove the scientific consensus, the author wrote, only to inject a sufficient amount of doubt into public debate so it would be seen as an unresolved controversy with two sides.
There is no unresolved controversy about the validity of mail-in ballots. But by injecting doubt into the public discourse, the merchants of doubt are attempting to create a level of chaos, unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a presidential election. That is precisely what Trump is counting on.