Intimidation or Despair? Trump to declare a premature victory
The U.S. president may start fueling premature celebrations at his base this Tuesday, echoing an alleged fraud in early voting.
When it comes to campaigning, Donald Trump has a favorite weapon: Twitter.
It should come as no surprise then if, in the middle of Election Day, the president announces anticipated results through the platform.
As Axios reported, the president has told his inner circle that he intends to declare victory Tuesday night if the numbers indicate he is "ahead," said three sources familiar with his private comments.
If he does, the president wouldn't be taking into account the Electoral College results that depend on large numbers of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania.
Once his intentions were made public, Trump denied to reporters that he intended to declare a premature victory, adding, "I think it's a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it's a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over."
"I think it's terrible that we can't know the results of an election the night of the election," he continued. "We're going to go in the night of, as soon as that election's over, we're going in with our lawyers."
"We don't want to have Pennsylvania, where you have a political governor, a very partisan guy. We don't want to be in a position where he's allowed, every day, to watch ballots come in. See if we can only find 10,000 more ballots."
President Trump: "I think it's terrible that we can't know the results of an election the night of the election." pic.twitter.com/YTAlDRjNzE
— The Hill (@thehill) November 1, 2020
The strategy, by all accounts, seems obvious: the president and his campaign have echoed baseless accusations against the early voting and mail ballot process, claiming that it facilitates election fraud, fearing that this type of procedure will lead to a landslide victory for the Democratic Party and its candidate, Joe Biden.
The New York Times reported that "Trump advisers said their best hope was if the president wins Ohio and Florida is too close to call early in the night, depriving Mr. Biden a swift victory and giving Mr. Trump the room to undermine the validity of uncounted mail-in ballots in the days after."
As Mother Jones explained, while Trump has urged his supporters to vote in person and avoid the mail ballot, his campaign would be prepared to use any scenario in favor, whether to declare fraud or an early victory.
The media recalls how, after the 2016 election, Trump claimed victory early, claiming to have won a popular vote that, the numbers proved, was never his.
Similarly, his paraphernalia is expected to stoke the fires of his MAGA followers this time, in what CNN editor Chris Cillizza has called "intimidation, pure and simple."
"He is trying to work the refs in advance of the big game. He is trying to put the squeeze on election officials while also moving public perception about how long votes should be counted," Cillizza wrote.
Although the national media is expected to stop the spread of false results, the president's early scandal could turn into a snowball ending up in the courts.
However, as much political turmoil as it may raise, and considering the massive turnout in this election — an estimated 90 million people had already voted by the time this story was written — it is hard to imagine that a Tweet could defeat the overwhelming will of the electorate.