US President Donald Trump has doubled down on baseless claims of corruption and fraud in the 2020 presidential election, as growing vote tallies continue to suggest an eventual victory for Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden.
Speaking from the White House around 7pm local time, Trump again challenged the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which continue to provide hope for Biden in key battleground states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump said, while providing zero evidence of any actual voter fraud or illegal ballots. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”
A downtrodden Trump said his opponents are “trying to rig an election”, and referred to a series of legal challenges his administration has launched against the counting of mail-in ballots.
“It will perhaps end up at the highest court in the land, we’ll see,” Trump said.
He took a detour to rag on pre-election polls which showed Biden as a strong favourite, saying they were “suppression polls” deliberately designed to discourage Republicans from casting their votes. The majority of polls overshot the actual support for Biden, there’s nothing to say they were deliberately wrong.
While his speech riffed on his long-running claim that mail-in ballots are dodgy (they’re not), and that ballots submitted after deadline day shouldn’t be counted (there’s no evidence they are being included), Trump’s speech was a glimpse of what might come next: concerted attempts to undermine the validity of the final result.
Trump supporters have already attempted demonstrations outside key ballot-counting locations, to say nothing of the hard-right groups already emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric, who seem unlikely to see a Biden win as legitimate.
On the other side of this particularly shitty political divide, Democrat voters – who believe Biden will win, thanks to mail-in ballots being counted after election day – are pushing for officials to count every last one.
Ballot boxes dancing to Missy Elliot is how Philadelphia is doing right now pic.twitter.com/eQgbDuUS35— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) November 6, 2020
As it stands, Biden holds 264 of the 270 electoral college votes required to win the presidency. Trump has 214. The door isn’t totally shut on eight years of President Trump, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely he will hold onto power by any legitimate means.