Monday, June 22, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He pre-delegitimized the 2020 election, in case he loses.

Trump spent the morning of the first working day after his disastrous Tulsa rally sowing the seeds of doubt about the legitimacy of the 2020 election. 


Trump, of course, sought Russian help for his 2016 campaign and was impeached for trying to force Ukraine to interfere in 2020. In fact, undermining Americans' faith in the legitimacy of their own government was the main goal of that Russian interference.

As usual for Trump's talk about mail-in ballots, none of this is true—not even the World War One reference. There was no presidential election during the United States' time in that war. But soldiers deployed away from home voted by mail in the 1944 election without incident. In fact, expanding the troops' access to ballots was a major priority for the federal government.

Trump himself votes by mail; so does almost every voter in five states, and mail-in absentee ballots are available in every state. Mail-in voting is extremely popular, and even after Trump's recent attempts to demonize it, Americans support expanding it to anyone who wants it by more than a two-to-one margin

Trump, who famously said in October of 2016 that that election was rigged unless he won, is more or less openly trying to give himself an excuse to delegitimize the 2020 race if he loses. He believes—falsely, as it turns out—that making it easier for voters to cast a legitimate ballot hurts Republicans.

It's hard to see why Trump would bother unless he was fairly convinced he was going to lose. If that's the case, he's in good company. Polls in June are snapshots of the current mood, not a prediction. But in that snapshot, Trump is losing badly to Joe Biden.

Why should I care about this?

  • "Elections are only legitimate if I win" is the philosophy of a dictator.