Here we go! Trump is looking forward to declaring an early victory on election night if he’s ahead in the polls at the end of the night, according to a Sunday Axis report.
According to the outlet, Trump has shared his plans with some members of his inner circle, and suggested that he will move forward with them even if the Electoral College count is still contingent on outstanding ballots from key states.
Trump called the Axios story a “false report” in a press interview later that evening, but then went on to more or less describe how he intends to do exactly the thing he denied. “I think it’s terrible that we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election,” he told reporters on Sunday. “It’s a terrible thing when ... states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over. ... We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”
The president has been making comments to this effect for months now: He’s repeatedly refused to say whether he’ll accept the results of the election, created the perfect conditions (some of which are pre-existing) for his supporters to doubt them, and made it clear enough that he’ll seize on any lead he may have to claim victory over Biden.
In these final days leading up to Election Day, Trump has been especially intent on perpetuating the false idea that it’s typical for voters to receive final election results the night of a presidential election, when in fact this never occurs. Though cable news networks and media outlets typically call the race on election night, states spend the days and weeks that follow calculating final results.
With so many absentee and mail-in ballots this election, just eight states expect to have unofficial results reported by midday on November 4. And some states that could decide the race, like Pennsylvania, don’t allow mail-in ballots to be counted until after polls have closed.