Trump’s hoaxes and fake news have become so normalized as iterated false claims, that we cannot now admit his victory is anything other than horseshoes and hand grenades. He simply won’t have a 2000 election result even if he can’t get a 2004 election result. At present count there will be 10,000 lawyers employed to address any challenges which should not be the normal condition of US elections. Nor should it be the far-fetched weirdness predicted by some resembling Hayes-Tilden. Lawfare cannot win when we know of so much corruption and malevolence on which Trump’s presidency is based. Votes must first be counted. The likelihood has now moved to 4% for Trump to win the electoral college.
Behind the scenes: Trump has privately talked through this scenario in some detail in the last few weeks, describing plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he has won.
- For this to happen, his allies expect he would need to either win or have commanding leads in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona and Georgia.
Why it matters: Trump's team is preparing to falsely claim that mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3 — a legitimate count expected to favor Democrats — are evidence of election fraud.
Details: Many prognosticators say that on election night, Trump will likely appear ahead in Pennsylvania — though the state's final outcome could change substantially as mail-in ballots are counted over the following days.
- Trump's team is preparing to claim baselessly that if that process changes the outcome in Pennsylvania from the picture on election night, then Democrats would have “stolen” the election.
- Trump's advisers have been laying the groundwork for this strategy for weeks, but this is the first account of Trump explicitly discussing his election night intentions.
The other side: “It comes as no surprise that Donald Trump and his campaign plan to declare victory before all the votes are counted. That has been his strategy for months, and nobody should fall for it,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement to Axios.
“It's why he is demonizing mail-in ballots and sabotaging the postal service. … We will not allow that to happen. Every vote must and will be counted.”
— The Philadelphia Inquirer (@PhillyInquirer) October 23, 2020
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) November 1, 2020
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) November 1, 2020