On December 19, 2016 the electoral college will vote.
Based on the vote, Trump should receive 306 votes and Clinton will have 232.
However, it is possible for many electors to change their vote. They aren't bound by it.
There's currently a very well funded attempt to influence electors to flip their votes on December 19th to change the outcome of the election.
Despite expectations that it is far fetched, it has a high chance of success. As of today, there are enough electoral votes in play to flip the outcome.
The three outcomes in discussion right now:
- Trump falls short of the electoral count (270) to become President and the election is sent to Congress for a decision.
- Clinton gets more than 270 electoral votes and becomes the President.
- A dark horse candidate (Kaisitch, etc.) would get the votes to become President.
In my view: all of these outcomes would end in a disaster.
Why? Most of the country sees this election as already decided.
The voters have spoken. Any change the outcome of the election at this juncture would be widely seen as illegitimate.
What would happen next would be worse.
Trump would claim this is a coup d'etat and gather widespread support. Most of the states (which are Republican dominated) would support him on this.
Until January 20th, chaos would ensue. Violent conflict would be widespread as groups (pro or against Trump) form and take action.
I haven't fully gamed this out but I suspect Trump would be able to gather enough support to become President regardless of the electoral college result (anything less would result in a messy street level civil war). Fear of continued chaos would force this.
The moment he is sworn in, he would invoke a state of emergency and quickly move to arrest anyone connected with the plot to nullify the election and anyone calling for violence.
By the end of March, thousands of people could even find themselves in Guantanamo. -labelled as terrorists/traitors they would be denied access to legal representation or any outside contact until the emergency is over.
Trump, strengthened by emergency powers and without an effective opposition (fear of being put on a list), would now be able to rule as a semi-dictator.