PT 134 | Worst Case Scenario


There is a lot of concern, if not outright fear, about what’s going to happen after Election Day. Are you ready for the worst case scenario? Whether Donald Trump retains his seat of power or Joe Biden manages to snatch it away from him, there is a decent chance for things to get ugly somehow. People are bound to get furious whichever direction this takes and, believe it or not, each side is pretty much convinced that they are doing what’s best for America. This is where Bill Stierle’s expertise in dealing with conflict comes in handy. Listen in as he discusses these things with Tom on the episode.

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Truth And The Worst Case Scenario, Part 1

Bill, I have a weekly discussion with friends for many years. The reality is there’s a lot of concern, if not outright fear, about what’s going to happen after election day. I find some people I know who are not supporters of Donald Trump are fearful. They don’t want to get feeling good about the election that it’s likely that Joe Biden wins. They think even if Joe Biden wins, they’re not going to believe that Donald Trump is going to leave the White House until they get to January 20th and there’s an actual inauguration of Joe Biden. They don’t want to have hope almost because they don’t want to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.  

There’s a little preemptive emotional safety there that people create for themselves.

There’s another interesting thing. There were these two polar opposite concerns. One, a friend who is fearful that if Joe Biden wins that the militias are going to come out and wreak havoc, like the ones that were going to try to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. There was a similar fear of someone on an opposing view that if Donald Trump wins, there are going to be riots in the streets that make the Black Lives Matter protests look like a campfire. I think a lot of America is not feeling good now.  

Welcome to Bill Stierle’s world of dealing with conflict. To our audience, you know that we take on difficult things and there’s a certain practice to stepping in and through worst-case scenarios that show up in our world. How do you have compassion and empathy for people? When Donald Trump wins, there’s anger and furiousness that he wants. When Joe Biden wins, there’s anger, furious, doubtful and skepticism that he wants. The person’s body has been activated in such a way that there is such a strong emotional experience that violence could show up. Violence could be taking out from one American to another American. This person that has done this thing shot and killed somebody, has now to face the same thing that the young man that was the shooter up in Wisconsin has to face. He’s in jail or wherever he is, and he’s waiting trial for double murder charges for shooting people in the street and attempted murder for the third person.

He’s thinking he’s in a place of a young man that has personal empowerment charged to him. The President gave him the command, not directly and actively, but passively with that certain permission. His need for respect and self-worth is being met by shooting people on the street. That’s what compassion looks like. We shake our head and go like, “It wasn’t.” For him, it was. The problem with the militias is for them it is, “I’m fighting for America.” You’ve got to almost take a breath and take a gulp. For them, it’s about restoration, “We’re going to kidnap this governor to restore government to the people.” There was no end game in that. Did you think about how this is going to play out of the court? Did you think about what holding hostage or kidnapping somebody might do to that experience? Their fantasy was, “Donald Trump is with us. He’ll pardon us. Look at how he’s pardoned all these people already.” Usually, pardoning takes place at the end of a presidency. It doesn’t take place at the beginning. He broke norms by starting pardoning people right away.

That’s not the thing you want to work on at the beginning. You’ve got to establish your presidency. His answer is, “No, I want to do the things at the top of my mind. I am going to set injustices and then I’m going to pivot to this other thing over here.” Meanwhile, the rest of us are on a durable wheel like the second mouse that happened to jump on because they thought it would be a good idea, and then getting swung around by the first mouse.

How do we deal with all these feelings of anxiousness, uncertainty and fear of what’s going to happen? We’ve got to live through a few more weeks before it’s determined. Even if it’s determined, that’s where a lot of those conflicts may happen. How can we cope with this?  

We are working in a place that is potentially scary. We also have to deal with the feeling of numb and scared. There’s one thing that we are sensitive to is that when our need for truth isn’t met, we feel doubtful. When our need for trust isn’t met, we feel skeptical. The way this experience is going is not just truth and trust are being pushed, but when our need for safety is being met, we’ll feel hesitant, anxious, scared about the need for safety, not being met pre and post-election. I would be surprised if this sentence wasn’t true, but this will be the largest voting election ever. I have some sense of certainty by saying that this is going to be the largest number of voters that show up at the polls ever percentage-wise, for sure.

When our need for truth isn't met, we feel doubtful. When our need for trust isn't met, we feel skeptical. Click To Tweet

I tend to believe the same thing, Bill.

We’ve been lucky to get 50% of people to vote. I would like to think that 70% will show up, only 30% will stay at home. I’d like to think that 80% will show up and 20% stays home. That is what I don’t know. I do know it’s going to be the largest but it might not be that large. Let’s do a little friendly wager for a dollar. Do you think it’s going to be 60%, 70%, 80% of the 307 million people in America that will come out to vote? A certain percentage of that is kids.

I don’t know how much. I’ll try to find out how many people are registered to vote. Do you want to do this based on a percentage of registered or of people that are old enough to vote, but may not have registered?  

I’m just going to go with the registered voters. The ones that haven’t gotten out of their cheap seats and did their civic duty. We already know that they’re not even taking the step to get on the court to vote. The chances of them working through would be low. I’m going to be optimistic and say around 70% is going to vote. That’s my best optimism. I’m going to allow you to go higher or lower to get the money.

This is like The Price is Right, where if you bid a dollar and anything between there, or you have to bid above and whatever. As you were talking, Bill, I looked up at that. As of 2018, there were 153 million people registered to vote in the United States. There’s been a significant increase in registered voters since 2018. I don’t have anything projecting yet how many voters there will be in 2020, but I’m beginning to keep looking at that as we’re talking here. I agree with you. This election is going to be a record turnout.

I haven’t done a lot of study or research on this. I don’t have any frame of reference to base it on, but what we’ve seen already with the states that have early voting, people are showing up in such large numbers to vote, even on the first days. Weeks ahead of election day, there are people lined up all day long to vote. They recognize this as an important election. They want their votes to count. I think that the percentage of registered voters that are going to vote is going to tip over the 80% mark. It’s going to be higher. I hope I’m right. The interesting thing too is I had an opportunity to have an hour-long discussion with a husband and wife couple in Australia.  

That was a very interesting conversation. There are many things we could talk about that, which I don’t want to take the time to do now. They kept asking me lots of questions about our government and our politics. They genuinely were curious and they don’t understand how we all think and act. That’s maybe a story for another time. One of the things that came out of that is they didn’t understand why more Americans don’t vote because you have the right to vote. Why doesn’t everybody vote? They wondered why isn’t it required for Americans to vote because in Australia, it’s compulsory. If you are a citizen of Australia of a certain age, you must vote.

That struck me as a little odd because in America, we cherish our freedoms, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of choice. Along with that comes the freedom to exercise your right to not vote. To me, it makes logical sense why we don’t require people to vote, but regardless we don’t require people to vote. There is going to be a percentage of registered voters and I’m going to say at the end of the day, it’s going to take over 80% of registered voters.

PT 134 | Worst Case Scenario

Worst Case Scenario: When Donald Trump wins, there’s anger and fury that he wants. When Joe Biden wins, there’s anger and fury that he wants.


With early voting, there’s a lot of speculation that comes with that, the need for trust in the vote, the number of people that you vote. It’s a head shaker. Let’s get back to the violence piece because I found that very important for us. If Donald Trump wins, what are protests going to look like? If Joe Biden wins, what does that protest looks like? Here’s the way to think about it. Whenever I’m going into the worst-case scenario, I prepare myself under two specific things. What language needs to be spoken towards both groups of disenfranchised people. What needs to be said by Republican leaders after Donald Trump has lost? Do they jump off the rat ship early and go like, “The President lost in my state. We’re not going to do a recount of this state?” If a Republican senator does that, that will send this course or the permission for others to do that.

Interestingly, Bill, you know what the scenario that’s most likely to happen. Imagine this scenario, Joe Biden wins the presidential election. Donald Trump is casting doubt, trying to claw his way to hang on to power. Mitch McConnell has lost his Senate seat. This is a scenario I’m putting, a hypothesis. He is on his way out, regardless of whether Republicans have gained or maintained control of the Senate or not. Let’s assume for a moment Mitch McConnell has lost. The Republican senators that will speak up to try to get Donald Trump to accept defeat and go quietly are going to be the ones that are jockeying to be the leadership of the new Republican party that’s left in ashes here. It’s going to be those ambitious Republicans who want to try to turn the page on the Donald Trump era.

It doesn’t have to be, “Get out of here, buddy,” or any other labels or names. They can do it very compassionately and respectfully. It sounds like, “From the numbers that we’re seeing, President Donald Trump does not have enough votes to carry this State. He feels doubtful and skeptical about trusting the results. I feel confident about trusting the results. He may want to be president. This State did not vote for him to be president. There’s no need to recount these votes because I trust the people of this State to count the votes correctly.” Notice what the senator did is to get respect and loyalty to say, “I’m not going to tolerate this anymore. I’m going to stay with what my people say. He might call me names. He might point it out. He might call me weak. He might call me not confident, but to be honest, the people that voted for me in this State want to see that I can stand up and stand for them.”

All of a sudden, he’s flailing like a bully that’s being ignored. You’re doing it in a respectful, compassionate way. You’re not railing on and getting stuck with this way or that way or going like, “I’m going to go with what the numbers are telling me. I’m going to stay with the people of this State, the great State of whatever. The people have spoken and they’ve spoken in a way that says that the president is not voted by this State. I’m feeling a great deal of confidence that they’ll electorate will follow what the people of this State have mandated.”

All of a sudden, that governor or that senator or the congressman has gotten a lot of cover because all he’s got to do is say, “I already said it. I’m going with people. I’m not going with the president. I’m going to trust my poll workers rather than going into the speculation that he keeps creating. He may call me some names about that. He might say that I’m breaking ranks from the party. I’m not breaking ranks in the party. What the Republican party stands for is,” and they can launch themselves into a new leadership narrative and say, “I could take the heat. Who would like to talk badly about me? I’m going to trust what the poll takers and the voters are going for because I know as a Republican, he’s going to be running again in two years, I’m going to need their damn votes. This guy is going to be gone or even if he is in there, I’ll resign or what.” In other words, they’re going to take the high road finally to pick an integrity piece.

I agree with you that some senators are more likely to do that, but who we know is not going to take the high road is Donald Trump.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence will not take the high road.

You talk about the worst-case scenario. If we want to prepare ourselves, what’s the worst thing that Donald Trump could say?  

When you become compassionate to the person that is feeding you BS, you can get the truth faster. Click To Tweet

I’m glad you mentioned that. I started brainstorming on this issue and we started working on collecting possible sentences, “It’s time for real Americans to rise up.” The problem with that sentence is you’re not telling them to do anything. You’re leaving that up to them with their own mindset about what the word rise up means. Who are they going to act out on, non-real Americans? What subjective piece do they have to do for non-Americans? Who is going to get hurt or experience death because of that simple, tragic sentence?

Joe Biden needs to have a counter sentence to that sentence ready in the queue to launch at greater things, “Americans, it’s time for us to come together and to cooperate and collaborate as this nation moves forward.” He has to set a visionary sentence to counter the destructive sentence that I mentioned. He might not say that, but he has said things similar to that in the past. That is a sentence I need to be ready for. Language preparation is what they say to have ready for the debates. I want to share with you, Tom, the preparation was not done well enough in either of the debates. I was dissatisfied with both parties being able to talk and keep telling the same talking points over and over again. It’s not like Kamala Harris didn’t know what he was going to say. She’s been saying it for years already. It’s the same stuff, “Trust the President.” She didn’t have a better compassionate sentence to that sentence ready to go.

Bill, you feel irritated.

Those people don’t have skills.

It doesn’t surprise me about Kamala Harris quite honestly, because her nature as a prosecutor is not all that inherently compassionate.

No, it is not. That’s a great catch there. Her education and training in communicating is arguing with somebody that is presenting an alternate truth and keep going after facts and information until they agree with you. She’s more truthful, but the way it needs to go, we have talked about this 50 times, when you become compassionate to the person that is feeding us BS, you get the truth faster. This person’s talking about protection. If he’s talking about protection, he’s not talking about the issue.

You know who’s more compassionate of the two, and it is clearly Joe Biden. He does speak with more compassion in general in setting his vision and things like that. Joe Biden could step on a few landmines of his own if he says the wrong thing.  

One of his tragic sentences is he needs to leave now or he’s fired. It will infuriate the people that are loyal and say, “He’s not fired. You’re never going to get the job.” All of a sudden, it’s like, “We’re not letting you come because we’ve already put you in the box of communism. That gives us the right to hurt or injure anyone of the people that we deem has voted for you.” It’s a very unsettling time. His compassionate sentence might be saying, “The President is feeling uncomfortable with the way the votes are currently. He is struggling to trust the poll takers, the workers and the people that are accountable because it’s important to have good accounting. The President is not trusting the accounting as of yet to show that I have more votes and that their legal votes, that they’re registered voters and their votes that count. I happened to get more in this State than he did.

PT 134 | Worst Case Scenario

Worst Case Scenario: Whichever way the election goes, the worst statement Donald Trump can say is, “It’s time for real Americans to rise up.”


Joe Biden doesn’t have the even voice that I do because he’s not grounded on a need. He’s going like, “Logically, this guy should leave.” The answer is, “We haven’t been in logical land for years.” A lot of times, even Republicans will say, “What is he doing? That’s the worst thing he can do ever.” All he’s doing is coming down the narrative of what a person that wants it his way and has run on that premise, “I want it done my way.” This is a topic we can do in our next session because there are many different tragic things to get ready for. We’ve not only got to get ready for between now and the election, but we also need to get ready for all the things that are going to be said and done between November 4th and January 20th. We’ve got to get ready for the different tragic things that are going to come up.

This is the worst-case scenario for either Joe Biden winning or Donald Trump winning. I’m being completely agnostic here. I don’t have to pick. I do have one that meets more of my values than the other one does, but I’m a regular American. My sister wants to vote the way she wants to vote. She’s going to vote for Donald Trump because there’s a primary value she believes that he can get for him around abortion and the right to birth. That’s what she’d like people to have and do.

I look forward to talking more about the worst-case scenario because we need to be prepared. If we can get anybody from the Joe Biden campaign to tune in, we can help them prepare a little bit.

I think truth and the worst-case scenario part two is coming up.

That sounds good.  

Thanks a lot, Tom. This has been great.

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