The election is actually multiple elections. Each state controls its own election process. Harvard professor Daniel Carpenter described a scenario in which Biden “wins a plausible victory and Republicans move to undermine it.” He posed a hypothetical situation in Arizona or North Carolina where Biden wins a state majority but the state legislature decides to give their delegates to Trump.
Barton Gellman reported in The Atlantic that “the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.”
If states refuse to certify or report slates of electors to the Electoral College, that will result in “underpopulation” and force the election into the House of Representatives, according to Carpenter. “[I]f the Electoral College is underpopulated and the courts don’t intervene, or maybe even if they do, the election is thrown to the House,” he said. The states would then vote by delegations. The Democrats have a majority of members, but the Republicans have a majority of delegations because each state has equal voting power and there are more red states than blue states.
Trump wants Amy Coney Barrett on the high court to resolve just such a dispute in his favor. Barrett did research and provided assistance with briefing for Bush v. Gore, in which a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court overturned the Florida Supreme Court’s order of a statewide manual recount in a very close election.
Barrett, who helped install George W. Bush as president, would likely be a loyal foot soldier in Trump’s army as well.