The nightmare scenario many political reporters and authoritarian experts have long warned about has finally arrived: President Trump is seeking to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the election as his pathway to victory has all but vanished as every single vote is being counted.
In a completely unhinged and disturbing Authoritarian meltdown, Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to falsely claim that the election was being stolen by election officials who were working hard to count every vote.
Just before 1 a.m., Trump falsely claimed on Twitter: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!
At 10:04 a.m. Trump tweeted: “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!”
At 10:17 he again tweeted: “How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?”
Just before noon, Trump tweeted: “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!”
“They are working hard to make up 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!” he added a few minutes later.
In every tweet, Trump attempted to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election. Twitter hid the majority of Trump’s tweet behind a warning that read: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”
There are no reports of widespread fraud or coordinated efforts by state election officials to “steal the election” as Trump has falsely claimed.
Trump also declared a premature victory early Wednesday morning during a televised, often incoherent rant from the White House.
Donald Trump’s premature claims of victory are illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian.
Count the votes. Respect the results.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 4, 2020
Trump just said “we did win the election”
an outrageous, authoritarian lie
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) November 4, 2020
No matter how this election comes out, it is a tragedy that millions of people want this authoritarian, anti-constitutional sociopath to remain in the Oval Office. https://t.co/P9TtgMNnLk
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) November 4, 2020
Trump accused Democrats of "trying to disenfranchise" his voters. This is complete projection.
He called the routine vote-counting process a "fraud."
In technical terms, this is dangerous, authoritarian shit.
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) November 4, 2020
Counting votes isn't stealing the election. It IS the election.
Anyone who says otherwise is trying to subvert democracy. It's authoritarian. It's undemocratic. And it's unacceptable. The press must not mince words in condemning these reckless and dangerous statements. https://t.co/cXP7s4Kr28
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) November 4, 2020
The correct framing journalists should be using when asking Republicans about Trump’s attempts to stop legally-cast ballots from being counted:
“Do you support Donald Trump’s authoritarian coup?”
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) November 4, 2020