On today’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski teased an upcoming segment with James Carville and Steve Schmidt by saying it would be a “debate.” But the only contest between the two was to see who could be more critical of Donald Trump. And Schmidt, senior adviser to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, won that contest hands down.

Schmidt actually said that the “peaceful transition of power” would be “in doubt” if Donald Trump loses, suggesting he might refuse to concede and rouse his supporters by claiming the election was rigged.

Schmidt described Trump’s appeal to his base as being “toxic for democracy.” But when it comes to poisonous statements, it’s hard to top Schmidt himself, by suggesting that Trump might throw the country into crisis by refusing to recognize the election results.

MIKE BARNICLE: This theme, though, which Steve raised, it’s been raised elsewhere as well: illegitimacy. It’s an illegitimate election. It’s a rigged election. Donald Trump has a core constituency that’s not going anywhere. It’s going to stick with him and believe in him and what he says no matter what. This does not bode well for the future of the republic that this is going to be out there for years to come. The illegitimacy, the rigged election, the emasculated presidency.

. . .

STEVE SCHMIDT: I mean, to your point, this is incredibly toxic for a democracy. The first person who addresses the Victor in a presidential election that matters, right, isn’t the staff. It’s the opponent. It was John McCain calling Barack Obama. Very difficult moment. I’ve been on both sides of this. The Bush campaign and the McCain campaign. But making that concession call, that kicks off the process of the peaceful transition of power. The loser grants legitimacy to the winner through the concession speech and initiates–

JAMES CARVILLE: Al Gore, if one guy could have taken his army and gone in the woods and conducted guerilla warfare, it would have been Al Gore —

SCHMIDT: That process that culminates with the inauguration, it begins with that concession call. I think all of that’s in doubt in this campaign.


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