“Trump has laid a set of traps designed to discredit and demean the electoral system.”

Anne Applebaum, writing for The Atlantic:

Now, having spent months talking darkly about the rules being rigged against him, he [Donald Trump] has laid a set of traps designed to discredit and demean the electoral system so that some Americans, at least, lose their faith in it. This has been said by others, but it bears restating: That Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan did not finish counting their votes on Tuesday night is no accident. In all of these states, Republican legislators prevented their election boards from counting postal votes before Election Day. In the midst of a pandemic that Democrats take more seriously than Republicans do, after Trump himself told his followers that voting by mail was suspect, the partisan gap between in-person and postal voters was always likely to be stark.

But even if Trump’s Hail Mary pass quickly fizzles, even if his attempt to stay in the White House is drowned out by the reality of the vote count and a tsunami of “Biden won” headlines, that doesn’t mean Trump will admit that the election was fair—ever. Even if Trump is forced to make a grudging concession speech, even if Biden is sworn in as president on January 20, even if the Trump family is forced to pack its Louis Vuitton suitcases and flee to Mar-a-Lago, it is in Trump’s interest, and a part of the Republican Party’s interest, to maintain the fiction that the election was stolen. That’s because the same base, the base that distrusts American democracy, could still be extremely useful to Trump, as well as to the Republican Party, in years to come.

Just like George Costanza from Seinfeld once said, “Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

November 8, 2020
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