The peaceful transfer of power from one presidential administration to the next is one of the hallmarks of American democracy.
But like so many norms that aren't explicitly enshrined in the Constitution, it's not something that Donald Trump appears to have much interest in.
For Trump, rules are made to be broken, and if some schmuck forgot to write them down, and simply expected that our nation's top public officials would abide by an honor system ... well, that's his fault!
Case in point, most presidential elections in American history were over and done with on Election Day, as one candidate would concede to another based on vote totals reported by election officials and reputable media outlets.
The outcome was never official at that point, but trust in our democratic process was strong enough that no one would allege widespread corruption unless they had a mountain of evidence to support such an outlandish claim.
Trump has no such evidence, and by every metric, he lost the election -- but you can bet he won't be conceding anytime soon.
For weeks now, we've been exploring the various strategies the president might employ in order to create the illusion that he legitimately won the election.
Trump could steal the Electoral College with the help of state legislatures in key battleground states, but doing so would necessitate a massive coordinated effort with participation from hundreds of Republican officials, many of whom would be putting themselves at risk of legal prosecution.
Recent firings of officials in top national security roles have led to fears that Trump might be planning a bloodless coup, but again, it seems unlikely that he has the loyal support he would need for such an uprising.
What seems more likely is that the president will continue to undermine American democracy via Twitter, falsely claiming that he won and casting doubt on a system that seemed to work just fine for him four years ago.
This mass misinformation campaign combined with a legal effort in which the president's lawyers are brazenly asking judges to throw out votes that don't suit their purposes could cause the fight over the 2020 election to drag well into 2021.
It's an unprecedented situation that will likely call for unprecedented actions from those seeking to ensure that the will of the voters is carried out.
And it's even got some pundits wondering aloud about the possibility of impeaching Trump during the lame duck portion of his presidency.
Usually, the months between Election Day and Inauguration Day are a period of inactivity punctuated by small, symbolic gestures from the outgoing president.
But Trump refuses to see himself as the outgoing president.
So in order to avoid the ugly scene of a 74-year-old man being dragged from the White House on January 20, it's possible that Congress might need to act quickly to bring charges against a lame duck president.
It seems absurd, but then again, everything about this situation is absurd.
Many experts believe Trump's fear of criminal prosecution after he leaves office might lead him to take increasingly drastic action to hold on to power as the date of Joe Biden's inauguration draws nearer.
This might include creating such a disastrous environment that it will be impossible for Biden to govern once he does take office.
An insider recently told Esquire that on the foreign policy front, it's Trump's goal to set "so many fires that it will be hard for the Biden administration to put them all out."
If such an allegation were ever credibly issued by a person in a position to testify, Congress would be left with little choice but to impeach, even if Trump had only a few weeks -- or days -- remaining in his presidency.
Trump was impeached once before, of course, and obviously those charges did not result in his removal from office.
But there's a difference between covert abuses of power and something as blatant as an ousted president simply refusing to leave office.
Trump refusing to concede even after Biden is sworn in would be a national embarrassment the likes of which this country has rarely seen.
And if that appears to be even remotely possible as the big day draws near, you can expect an unprecedented level of bipartisan cooperation.
As well as one very humiliating forced exit for President Trump.