The Boston Globe wrote about what Trump might do next. He could graciously concede his loss, but that doesn’t look likely. He could try to undermine the legitimacy of the election, by tweeting that it was rife with fraud, as he has done on Twitter and his public statements.

“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump said in a statement that was issued while the president was reportedly out playing golf. “Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor.”

He could try to overturn the election results by another method:

Ian Bassin, who worked in the White House counsel’s office during the Obama administration and now serves as executive director of the Washington-based nonprofit group Protect Democracy, worries more about Trump’s legacy.

“While I think the president poses an immediate danger to the functioning of the federal government … I’m actually more concerned about the threats Trump, and especially Trumpism, will pose to our country in coming years,” he said.

Democracy can survive smaller anti-democratic movements, he said, but when they grow to represent large swaths of the population, there are grave risks.

“He has unleashed a toxic political virus on the nation — a mix of white supremacy and authoritarianism — that is not going to be so easy to contain, even if he leaves office,” Bassin said. “So while Congress, courts, and responsible executive branch officials will have to protect our institutions from any Trump-led assaults during a potential lame-duck period, the rest of us have our work cut out for us.”

But there may be more pressing concerns, especially if Trump leans on Republican legislatures in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia to dismiss the results and submit a slate of electors to Congress who favor him, as some right-wing commentators have been suggesting.

Such a move may be unlikely, but it’s allowed by the Constitution, which designates that states appoint electors “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” Since the 19th century, the popular vote in each state determined the slate of electors. But as recently as 2000, after the deadlocked election in Florida, the Supreme Court affirmed in Bush v. Gore that states “can take back the power to appoint electors.

William John Antholis, director of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, which specializes in presidential scholarship, said the size of Biden’s lead would make that approach more difficult, given that it would require multiple states to take the unprecedented step of overturning the will of voters.

“Every state that Biden wins will reduce the possibility of something crazy happening,” he said.

While Trump has lost the popular vote decisively — by more than 4 million votes, so far — some 70 million Americans voted for him, or nearly 48 percent of the electorate. His ultimate fate in the Electoral College, however, won’t be clear until the tight races in several swing states are certified.

Antholis hoped the margin would be great enough for other elected Republicans to recognize that the election was lost and persuade Trump to do so as well.

“Trump’s decision-making sometimes appears mercurial, but he does talk to a lot of people, and the messages those people provide to him, I think, will determine the fate of the country,” he said.

No matter what he hears, Trump is facing legal peril if he leaves office and loses his immunity from prosecution as a sitting president.