The way elections normally work is that both candidates running for office usually wait until there is no clear path to victory for their opponent before they declare themselves the winner.
Remember I said “normally.”
According to an Axios exclusive, Trump has told those close to him that he plans to prematurely declare victory on election night if he sees favorable returns despite uncounted ballots, thusly signaling to his minions to go apeshit should he lose once all ballots have been counted.
Instead of campaigning like a normal president seeking election, Trump’s been sowing seeds of misinformation about massive voter fraud, mistrust in mail-in voting and claiming that the fix is in for him to lose. In fact, the only way that Trump won’t rail against the system is if he’s declared the victor on election night.
And Trump’s plan to declare victory early wasn’t just a fly-by-night comment; he’s gone into detail with exactly how he’s going to do it. The plan it seems is to claim that all mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3 are illegitimate, even though, Axios notes, that it could take several days or weeks to count those ballots. The belief is that in-person voting will favor Trump and mail-in voting will favor Joe Biden.
So how could all of this go down? Well, the Hill looked at a possible scenario in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state Trump needs to carry if he plans to win, to show how an early declaration of victory could add to massive headaches.
From the Hill:
On Tuesday night, the early count in the pivotal state of Pennsylvania is expected to favor the president because of state laws against counting mail-in ballots before Election Day. However, the ongoing count is expected to narrow the margin between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who leads in most polling of the state.
Kathy Boockvar (D), who leads Pennsylvania’s State Department, said the commonwealth expects the full count to take days because of the high volume of mail-in ballots this year, 10 times the number cast in 2016.
“I expect that the overwhelming majority of ballots in Pennsylvania, that’s mail-in and absentee ballots as well as in-person ballots, will be counted within a matter of days,” Boockvar said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.
The Hill does note that while declaring victory after Pennsylvania wouldn’t really do shit expect cause confusion among his followers considering Trump would have to carry or be ahead in “Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas on Tuesday” to win.
Republicans have already “filed lawsuits in several battleground states seeking to toss ballots received after Election Day, even if they were postmarked before Nov. 3. The Supreme Court ruled last week that North Carolina can count ballots that arrive by Nov. 12 can be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, but cemented a strict Nov. 3 deadline in Wisconsin,” the Hill reports.
Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign communications director, told Axios the report was “nothing but people trying to create doubt about a Trump victory. When he wins, he’s going to say so.”
There is going to be some fuckshit coming out of the Trump administration on Election Day and it’s best we just prepare ourselves for it.