Saturday, October 31, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He said he expected the Supreme Court to rule in ways that would let him win the election.

Pennsylvania is likely going to be the "tipping-point state" in the election—the state that puts the winner over the margin of 270 votes. Trump can still win it, but the odds aren't in his favor: 49 of the last 50 polls in the state have Joe Biden winning. Trump, either via his campaign or the state party, has filed a huge number of lawsuits looking to minimize turnout or disqualify mailed absentee ballots, which will heavily favor Democratic candidates this year. 

It's unclear whether this will be enough to sway the state's totals away from Biden, but it's very likely that post-election lawsuits will go to the Supreme Court, which Trump just appointed a new justice to. That appointee, Amy Coney Barrett, conspicuously refused to say that she would recuse herself from election lawsuits, even though Trump said before her confirmation that he expected Barrett's vote would break ties on election matters in his favor.

At a campaign stop in Pennsylvania today, Trump said this:

If we win, if we win on Tuesday—or shortly thereafter, thank you very much Supreme Court—shortly thereafter, if we win, let me tell you, if we win, you're going to see a stock market that's going to go like a rocket ship. 

Lately, Trump has been trying to discredit legally cast votes that are counted later in the process, even though they were received on time. This appears to be an attempt to declare victory immediately on November 3, and then delegitimize any Biden "comeback" as legally-cast votes are counted. Of course, even in a normal election with a clear winner, counting and canvassing goes on for weeks.

Election laws are complicated, and candidates who are losing elections sometimes turn to the courts. But Trump is the first presidential candidate in history to campaign on being installed by a politically friendly court.

Who cares?

  • Nobody who thinks they'll actually get the most votes in an election tries this hard to keep people from voting.
  • In a democracy, voters pick the government, not the other way around.