Donald Trump’s found his strategy and he’s sticking to it.
After several weeks of bad polling and a weekend highlighted by his administration’s obstruction of justice, an unfavorable memoir, and weak rally attendance, Trump has honed in on his 2020 election messaging—voter fraud.
Win or lose, Trump will claim the 2020 election was a rigged endeavor designed for him to lose. He did the same throughout the 2016 cycle, repeating the “rigged” charge even after he won. This time around, as several states move to mail-in ballots due to COVID-19, Trump knows the voter fraud claims will play well with his base. It doesn’t matter that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in the United States, that mail-in voting is strictly regimented (from ballot weight to the actual material it’s printed on), and that politicians, including Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, regularly vote by mail. Between mail-in balloting and his other persecution plays, Trump has more than enough material to repeat his bogus voter fraud claims until and well after Nov. 3.
SCOOP by @tomlobianco Vice President Mike Pence and his wife mailed in their ballots for Indiana's June GOP primary, according to a copy of the state's voter files obtained by @Politicsinsider ($) https://t.co/DDusgvWLxU
— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) June 22, 2020
The irony of Trump hammering election fraud is that elections are indeed rigged—just not against Trump or the politicians who enter them. Nonwhite (specifically Black) minorities have been disenfranchised for decades, and the COVID-19 pandemic provides a fresh excuse to hang those voters out to dry.
Kentucky cutting number of polling places for Tuesday’s primary from 3700 to 200
There will be one polling place for 616,000 registered voters in Louisville’s Jefferson County, where half state’s black voters live
This is going to be a disaster https://t.co/Xn61pDqleN
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) June 19, 2020
What’s happening in Kentucky will affect tomorrow’s primary—including the state’s hotly contested Democratic Senate primary—but could also bleed into November. While several states have extended mail-in voting through the general election, many others have dragged their feet, almost intentionally. That could mean more polling station closures and fewer election volunteers.
Trump won’t talk about that election fraud though, because it likely helps him. The Republican Party has been disenfranchising Black voters for years; as Trump’s polling numbers dip even lower, it’s safe to assume that his chances are better if fewer people, particularly people of color, vote. But it hardly matters when it’s all rigged against him, anyway.