It’s not exactly a stampede, but Republican leaders are edging toward acknowledging President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, with Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio declaring him the winner — and a growing chorus of Senate Republicans pressing for Mr. Biden to be given classified intelligence briefings.
While only four sitting senators in the president’s party have publicly congratulated Mr. Biden, other Republicans are creeping gingerly in that direction, and Republican state elections officials are pushing back against the Trump campaign’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
By Thursday, several top Republicans in the upper chamber — including Senators John Thune of South Dakota, the majority whip, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — said the Trump administration should reverse its refusal to grant Mr. Biden access to daily intelligence briefings traditionally given to an incoming commander-in-chief.
Their statements were modest, but were nonetheless a sign that the president’s Red Wall on Capitol Hill might be more of a temporary barrier than a permanent political bulwark.
“We need to consider the former vice president as the president-elect. Joe Biden is the president-elect,” Mr. DeWine, who had previously taken a wait-and-see approach, told CNN on Thursday.
The movement on the issue of the briefings began Wednesday, when Senator James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma, told a home-state radio station that he would intervene as soon as Friday if Trump administration appointees did not began sharing intelligence information with Mr. Biden.
The first-term senator added that doing so would ensure continuity of governance “if Joe Biden is elected, which it looks like he is,” Mr. Lankford told radio station KRMG.
And Mr. Grassley, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, told reporters on Thursday he thought Mr. Biden should be in the loop. “I would think — especially on classified briefings — the answer is yes,” he said.
“Yes, I think so,” Mr. Graham, a close Trump ally, also said about Mr. Biden receiving the briefings.
Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who has already congratulated Mr. Biden for winning, was more emphatic. “President-elect Biden should be receiving intelligence briefings right now,” said Ms. Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It’s probably the most important part of the transition.”
Two powerful forces are preventing most Republican senators from going further than pushing for the briefings.
First is fear of Mr. Trump, who refuses to concede and threatens defectors.
And second is the more acute factor of runoffs in January for Georgia’s two Senate seats, which will require near-maximum turnout from those voters committed to Mr. Trump’s cause for Republicans to win both.
But electoral math, which adds up to a Trump loss, is intervening.
On Wednesday night, Karl Rove, a key player in President George W. Bush’s campaigns, wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, “This Election Result Won’t Be Overturned,” pointing out that recounts often change hundreds but seldom tens of thousands of votes.
“The president’s efforts are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden’s column,” wrote Mr. Rove, following the lead of his former boss, Mr. Bush, who congratulated Mr. Biden on Sunday.
Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump from around 10,000 to nearly 150,000 votes in the states where Mr. Trump has suggested fraud was perpetrated.
One of them is Arizona.
On Wednesday, the state’s attorney general, Mark Brnovich, a Republican, told Fox News that state officials had received about 1,000 complaints about the election but found “no evidence” of widespread voter fraud.
“It does appear that Joe Biden will win Arizona,” he said.
After more than a week of vote counting and only periodic election calls, the shape and the resulting stakes of the next Senate have finally come into sharp relief: Party control will be determined by a pair of runoff elections in Georgia in January, and who wins those races will have profound implications on President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s policy agenda.
Senate race calls made on Wednesday formalized outcomes that were widely expected, with Senators Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, both Republicans, holding onto their seats and giving their party a 50-to-48 advantage.
If Republicans win either Georgia race on Jan. 5, they will maintain control of the chamber. Democrats must win both seats in the traditionally conservative state to leverage Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote and take control.
If Democrats do win both races, close aides to Mr. Biden and economists who helped advise his campaign say the president-elect will try to push through a large stimulus plan for the flagging economic recovery — most likely along the lines of the $2.2 trillion that House Democrats approved this fall.
His stimulus plan under such a scenario would include hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments that have lost tax revenue amid the pandemic recession, extended unemployment benefits for people who lost jobs during the crisis and a new round of aid for small businesses.
Mr. Biden’s team is also developing a government employment program — called the Public Health Jobs Corps — that would put 100,000 Americans to work on virus testing and contact tracing.
A narrow majority in the Senate would also give Mr. Biden the chance to push through tax increases on corporations and the rich to fund ambitious plans like rebuilding roads and bridges, speeding the transition to carbon-free energy and helping Americans afford health care.
But if Republicans win at least one Georgia seat, Mr. Biden will most likely need to settle for a wave of executive actions that would bring more incremental progress toward his policy goals while trying to cut compromise deals with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.
Tax increases, even for the ultrarich, would almost certainly be off the table, as would expanding the Affordable Care Act to give Americans the ability to buy into a government insurance program like Medicare. Mr. Biden would continue to push for infrastructure and health care bills, economists around him say, but he would be unlikely to win support for his full agenda in those areas.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke on Thursday with Pope Francis, who joined other foreign dignitaries in congratulating the former vice president on his election victory, the Biden transition team said.
The transition office said that Mr. Biden thanked the pope for “promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world,” and pledged to work with the pontiff on climate change and “caring for the marginalized and the poor.” Mr. Biden also spoke of working with the pope on “welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities,” a sharp contrast from the current policies of President Trump, who has strictly tightened American borders to limit the entry of migrants and refugees.
The call holds particular significance for Mr. Biden, a lifelong Catholic and only the second Catholic to occupy the White House, after President John F. Kennedy.
“My idea of self, of family, of community, of the wider world comes straight from my religion,” Mr. Biden wrote in his 2007 memoir, “Promises to Keep.” (He added that the influence was as much cultural as theological.)
Mr. Biden has expressed public admiration for the current pope.
“Politics is something more noble than posturing, marketing, and media spin,” Biden said in a speech last month, quoting Pope Francis. “These sow nothing but division, conflict, and a bleak cynicism.”
President Trump, by contrast, openly tangled with Pope Francis during the 2016 campaign and had tense relations with the Vatican over issues like climate change, immigration and China. When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Rome in September, Pope Francis declined to meet with him, apparently angered by Mr. Pompeo’s claims that the Vatican “endangers its moral authority” by agreeing to deals with Beijing regarding church operations in China. (Mr. Pompeo met with Catholic critics of the Pope instead.)
Mr. Biden has held calls with at least seven world leaders this week, bolstering a clear global consensus that he is the rightfully elected American president even as President Trump continues his false claims that the election was marred by fraud and that Mr. Biden lost.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with three more foreign leaders on Wednesday, in the latest show of international support for his election victory. He committed to an early meeting with one: President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.
In a statement, the Biden transition team said the president-elect had participated in “congratulatory calls” with Mr. Moon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan. The calls with three of America’s closest allies came the day after four that Mr. Biden held with Western European allies, in a return to traditional diplomatic protocol after years of President Trump’s haphazard foreign interactions.
Mr. Biden spoke with each leader about the coronavirus pandemic, the global economy and “strengthening democracy,” according to descriptions of the calls from the transition office. While the State Department would typically help facilitate such calls for a president-elect and supply him with translators if necessary, a source familiar with Mr. Biden’s calls over the past two days said the Trump administration had refused to provide such assistance.
But even as Mr. Trump continues to make false charges of voter fraud and claims to be the true winner of the election, virtually all of the world’s major leaders have now acknowledged that Mr. Biden will be inaugurated in January. The few holdouts include two autocratic allies of President Trump — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil — as well as President Xi Jinping of China.
In a Twitter post, Mr. Moon said he and Mr. Biden affirmed their countries’ “robust” alliance and desire for a “peaceful and prosperous” Korean Peninsula.
During their 14-minute phone call, Mr. Moon noted Mr. Biden’s “long experience in state affairs, his excellent leadership and clear vision,” said Mr. Moon’s spokesman, Kang Min-seok. Mr. Biden praised South Korea’s largely successful fight against the coronavirus, comparing it with the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic.
The two leaders agreed to meet as soon as possible after Mr. Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Kang said.
Mr. Moon’s government hopes that the Biden administration will restart stalled negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and drop Mr. Trump’s talk of reducing U.S. troop presence in South Korea, which now numbers 28,500.
“As president, I’ll stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extorting Seoul with reckless threats to remove our troops,” Mr. Biden had written in an opinion column published by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency days before the election.
Top congressional Democrats renewed calls for a sweeping coronavirus relief package on Thursday, insisting that voters had given President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his party a mandate to fight the pandemic aggressively.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader in the Senate, cited record-breaking infections across the country, along with the presidential election results, to justify their position that any package must be much larger than what Republicans had been suggesting.
By holding firm to keeping $2.4 trillion in new spending as their starting point, Democrats appeared to be closing the door on the possibility of a year-end compromise with Republicans, who have proposed spending a fraction of that amount.
“This election was maybe more a referendum on who can handle Covid well than anything else,” Mr. Schumer said. “The Donald Trump approach was repudiated and the Joe Biden approach was embraced. That is why we think there is a better chance of getting a deal in the lame duck.”
Hours after their remarks, the top Democrats talked to Mr. Biden by phone, stressing in a statement afterward that they were on the same page about the “urgent need” for Congress to provide funds to support Americans struggling in the pandemic, as well as the nation’s health care system, before he takes office. It had been unclear how actively Mr. Biden, the incoming head of the party, would involve himself in negotiations before his inauguration.
Leaders in both parties have acknowledged the need for another round of stimulus, but they have yet to agree on the scope and cost of a second package, with Republicans insisting on a much smaller bill than what Democrats — and even the White House — had been advocating ahead of the election.
But the potential for agreement appeared to narrow further on Thursday, with a top Republican indicating that Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, was no longer planning to rely on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to cut a deal with Democrats.
“There hasn’t been any discussion yet between McConnell and Pelosi, but McConnell is not going to rely on Mnuchin anymore to do the dealing,” Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters on Thursday morning. “I think he’s intending to take it over and try to get something going.”
Mr. McConnell, for his part, told reporters on Capitol Hill that “my view is, the level at which the economy is improving further underscores that we need to do something at about the amount that we put on the floor in September and October,” referring to the targeted $500 billion packages Senate Republicans tried to pass before the election.
The price tag Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer were discussing, he said, “is not a place I think we’re willing to go, but I do think there needs to another package.”
But Ms. Pelosi portrayed Republicans as “cold-hearted” for insisting on a smaller relief package and tried to upbraid them.
“It’s like the house is burning down and they just refuse to throw water on it,” she said.
Both sides will also have to reach an agreement on critical spending legislation to prevent a lapse in government funding on Dec. 11, with either an agreement on the dozen annual must-pass bills or another stopgap spending bill.
Nine days after the election, the basic results are clear: Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the presidency, Democrats kept control of the House but with a smaller majority, and control of the Senate will hinge on runoffs in January for Georgia’s two seats.
But 13 House contests remain uncalled — as do Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina in the presidential race, though they won’t change the final result. Here’s an overview of the vote counts in the House races as of Thursday afternoon.
California, 21st District: Republican David Valadao is leading Representative T.J. Cox, a Democrat, by 2.8 percentage points with 91 percent of estimated votes reported.
California, 25th District: Representative Mike Garcia, a Republican, is leading Christy Smith, a Democrat, by just four-hundredths of a percentage point — 159 votes — with more than 98 percent of estimated votes reported.
California, 39th District: Young Kim, a Republican, is leading Representative Gil Cisneros, a Democrat, by 1.2 percentage points with more than 98 percent of estimated votes reported.
Iowa, Second District: Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, is leading Rita Hart, a Democrat, by two-hundredths of a percentage point — just 48 votes — with 89 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, First District: Representative Lee Zeldin, a Republican, is leading Nancy Goroff, a Democrat, by more than 20 percentage points with 77 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, Second District: Andrew Garbarino, a Republican, is leading Jackie Gordon, a Democrat, by more than 15 percentage points with 78 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, Third District: George Santos, a Republican, is leading Representative Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, by 1.5 percentage points with 72 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 11th District: Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican, is leading Representative Max Rose, a Democrat, by more than 15 percentage points with 85 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 18th District: Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat, is leading Chele Farley, a Republican, by 2.9 percentage points with 78 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 19th District: Representative Antonio Delgado, a Democrat, is leading Kyle Van De Water, a Republican, by three percentage points with 81 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 22nd District: Claudia Tenney, a Republican, is leading Representative Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, by 11 percentage points with 80 percent of estimated votes reported.
New York, 24th District: Representative John Katko, a Republican, is leading Dana Balter, a Democrat, by more than 20 percentage points with 78 percent of estimated votes reported.
Utah, Fourth District: Burgess Owens, Republican, is leading Representative Ben McAdams, a Democrat, by about half a percentage point with more than 98 percent of estimated votes counted.
Corey Lewandowski, a Trump campaign adviser who has been working on efforts to bring lawsuits contesting the election outcome in several states, tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, a person briefed on the diagnosis said Thursday.
He attended a crowded election night party at the White House that several other people who later tested positive also attended. The latest figure to join their ranks was Jeff Miller, a Republican strategist, according to a person with knowledge of the situation on Thursday.
Several hundred people gathered at the election night event in the East Room for several hours, many of them not wearing masks as they mingled and watched election returns.
Mr. Lewandowski had been in Philadelphia for days since attending the event, and believes he may have contracted it there, the person said.
The other people who had previously tested positive after attending the election night event were: Mark Meadows, President Trump’s chief of staff; Ben Carson, the housing secretary; David Bossie, an adviser to Mr. Trump who is leading the charge on the election-related lawsuits and other efforts; and Brian Jack, the White House political director.
After another event at the White House — a celebration of Mr. Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Sept. 26 — more than a dozen aides, reporters and guests who were in attendance or came into contact with people who were there tested positive for the virus. Mr. Trump also tested positive and was hospitalized for a few days in early October.
Richard Walters, the chief of staff of the Republican National Committee, has also tested positive for the virus, according to a person with knowledge with the situation. He did not attend the election night event at the White House.
Almost from the moment the election ended, President Trump and his allies have relentlessly attacked the integrity of both the voting and vote counting, a narrative they have sought to advance in nearly 20 lawsuits filed in the past eight days as they refuse to concede the race to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
While these suits have alleged systemic fraud in at least five states, the evidence offered has fallen short of that. At least so far, the arguments offered in these cases have been limited, narrow and, according to several judges and experts, unlikely to affect — let alone to overturn — the outcome of the race.
In some of the cases, emergency requests to stop the counting of votes or invalidate some votes have been denied by judges, some of whom have treated the campaign’s lawyers to scathing commentary from the bench.
Here are some examples:
Nevada — A suit filed there last week by Trump allies was intended to stop elections officials from using a vote-counting software that they claimed was illegal. The lawyers based their case on a single sworn statement by a voter named Jill Stokke, who tried to vote on Oct. 28, but was told someone had already returned her ballot by mail. A judge denied the request.
Michigan — Republican poll challengers filed a lawsuit in state court claiming there were multiple fraud conspiracies in the voting and counting in Detroit. The case was based in part on an affidavit from a poll worker who said voters were being pressured to vote for Mr. Biden. A similar suit was filed in federal court on Wednesday, and included complaints from Republican poll workers who said they were made to feel uncomfortable at polling places in Detroit or felt local elections officials had treated them poorly.
Pennsylvania — Four state residents — a farmer, a retired pastor, a nurse anesthetist and a corrections officer — filed a suit in Federal District Court in Williamsport, Pa., alleging that state elections officials cheated during the vote count in several counties. State lawyers dismissed the suit as a group of “unsubstantiated stacked hearsay allegations” that was founded on a “hope that their unidentified expert will analyze data they do not have.”
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. named Ron Klain, a veteran Democratic operative and a decades-long confidant, to be his White House chief of staff on Wednesday, the first step toward putting in place his administration’s senior leadership.
Mr. Klain, a lawyer with deep experience on Capitol Hill, advising President Barack Obama and in corporate board rooms, served as Mr. Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president and has been seen for months as the most likely choice to manage his team in the White House. Known for steady nerves, he also has a fierce wit, which he has frequently unleashed on President Trump on Twitter.
He was particularly critical of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, having served as the “Ebola czar” under Mr. Obama during an outbreak of the deadly disease in 2014. A video of Mr. Klain lecturing Mr. Trump about the pandemic was widely viewed during the campaign.
In a statement, Mr. Biden called Mr. Klain an “invaluable” adviser, noting in particular the work they did together during the economic crisis in 2009 and the Ebola outbreak.
“His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Klain has gone in and out of government over the past several decades, at times practicing as a lawyer and later working with Steve Case, the founder of AOL, in a venture capital investment firm called Revolution.
Mr. Klain thanked his well-wishers in a tweet on Wednesday night, saying that he was “honored by the President-elect’s confidence” and that he would “give my all to lead a talented and diverse team in a Biden-Harris” White House.
The choice of Mr. Klain, 59, who first went to work for Mr. Biden in the late 1980s when Mr. Biden was a senator from Delaware and Mr. Klain was a recent graduate of Harvard Law School, signals that the president-elect intends to rely on a tight circle of Washington insiders who have been by his side for years.
Advisers have said that Mr. Biden will announce other top White House staff members in the coming days, even as Mr. Trump refuses to accept the results of the election, tweeting “WE WILL WIN!” on Wednesday evening.
Mr. Biden is not likely to reveal his cabinet picks until around Thanksgiving, several people close to the transition said.
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s abrupt installation of a group of hard-line loyalists into senior jobs at the Pentagon has elevated officials who have pushed for more aggressive actions against Iran and for an imminent withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan over the objections of the military.
Mr. Trump made the appointments of four top Pentagon officials, including a new acting defense secretary, this week, leaving civilian and military officials to interpret whether this indicated a change in approach in the final two months of his presidency. Mr. Trump also named Michael Ellis as a general counsel at the National Security Agency over the objections of the director, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone.
There is no evidence so far that these new appointees harbor a secret agenda on Iran or have taken up their posts with an action plan in hand. But their sudden appearance has been a purge of the Pentagon’s top civilian hierarchy without recent precedent.
Most of the officials and former officials interviewed this week agreed that there was a large element of score-settling and attention-grabbing by Mr. Trump and his aides as they have defied calls to concede to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
WASHINGTON — For four years, Vice President Mike Pence has walked the Trump tightrope more successfully than anyone else in the president’s orbit, staying on his good side without having to echo his most incendiary language.
But in the final weeks of Mr. Pence’s term, his relationship with President Trump faces what may be its toughest challenge yet.
Mr. Pence must now balance his loyalty to an enraged president making baseless claims of voter fraud against his own political future and reputation. He also has to deal with how Mr. Trump’s talk of running for president again in 2024 could leave him with no lane to run in. It would be difficult for Mr. Pence to even start raising money if the president is floating his own name.
So far, Mr. Pence appears to be handling the pressure much as he has over the past four years: appearing to be unflinchingly loyal while also steering clear of engaging in Mr. Trump’s pressure campaigns.
In the last few months of Mr. Pence’s vice presidency, his advisers want him focused on leading the coronavirus task force and helping the two Georgia Republicans facing runoffs that will determine whether the party maintains its Senate majority.
Those advisers said they would prefer that the vice president steer clear of the Trump campaign’s legal fights over the election, and so far, Mr. Pence has been careful not to repeat Mr. Trump’s most baseless attacks on the electoral system.
In his brief remarks last week after election night — he kept them to 53 seconds — Mr. Pence tried to make what amounted to a non-endorsement of the president’s claim that the election was a “major fraud on our nation” into something that sounded like unquestioning support.
“As the votes continue to be counted, we’re going to remain vigilant, as the president said,” Mr. Pence said at the White House. “We’re going to protect the integrity of the vote.”
For almost a week afterward, Mr. Pence was not seen or heard in public, though it was reported that he spent time with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office on Friday. The president is scheduled to have lunch with him on Thursday.
The Postal Service’s inspector general has informed Congress that a worker who had made allegations of ballot corruption at a facility in Erie, Pa., had disavowed his claims, which Republicans had called evidence of widespread fraud in Pennsylvania’s voting.
Richard Hopkins, a postal employee in Erie, “completely” recanted allegations that a supervisor was “tampering with mail-in ballots” after investigators questioned him, the inspector general’s office said on Tuesday, according to the Democratic leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Not long after the Democrats’ announcement, Project Veritas — a conservative group that researchers say has run a disinformation campaign to delegitimize the voting process — released a video in which Mr. Hopkins said that he had not actually recanted his statements.
Mr. Hopkins had claimed in a sworn affidavit given to President Trump’s campaign that he overheard what he believed to be a discussion about backdating postmarks on ballots that arrived at the postal facility after Election Day.
Ballots must have been postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3, to count. The implication of Mr. Hopkins’s claim was that postal workers had backdated ballots that should have been disqualified.
In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots received after Election Day have been separated from those that arrived by Nov. 3 and have not been counted yet. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has won Pennsylvania without them.
Only about 130 mail-in ballots arrived after Election Day, out of about 135,000 ballots cast in Erie County, the chairman of the county’s board of elections said in a statement.
MOSCOW — When the strongman ruler of Belarus declared an implausible landslide victory in an election in August and had himself sworn in for a sixth term as president, the United States and other Western nations denounced what they said was brazen defiance of the voters’ will.
President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s victory, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month, was “fraud.” Mr. Pompeo added: “We’ve opposed the fact that he’s now inaugurated himself. We know what the people of Belarus want. They want something different.”
Just a month later, Mr. Pompeo’s boss, President Trump, is now borrowing from Mr. Lukashenko’s playbook, joining a club of truculent leaders who, regardless of what voters decide, declare themselves the winners of elections.
That club counts as its members far more dictators, tyrants and potentates than leaders of what used to be known as the “free world” — countries that, led by Washington, have for decades lectured others on the need to hold elections and respect the result.
The parallel is not exact. Mr. Trump participated in a free and fair democratic election. Most autocrats defy voters before they even vote, excluding real rivals from the ballot and swamping the airwaves with one-sided coverage.
But when they do hold genuinely competitive votes and the result goes against them, they often ignore the result, denouncing it as the work of traitors, criminals and foreign saboteurs, and therefore invalid. By refusing to accept the results of last week’s election and working to delegitimize the vote, Mr. Trump is following a similar strategy.
The United States has never before had to force an incumbent to concede a fair defeat at the polls. And merely by raising the possibility that he would have to be forced out of office, Mr. Trump has shattered the bedrock democratic tradition of a seamless transition.