The sitting president continues to denounce alleged voter fraud as tallies of mail-in ballots tilt the balance in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The US presidential election is as close as ever, leaving Americans and observers around the globe on the edge of their seat. As election officials continue to tally ballots cast early and by mail, President Donald Trump is taking to Twitter to lash out at mail-in voting.
In several tweets, some of which Twitter flagged as misleading, Trump questions the integrity of mail-in voting and advances his voter fraud theory.
“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!” he claimed in a now-flagged tweet.
Americans woke up to a razor-thin margin on November 4, with Associated Press (AP) projections giving Biden 238 electoral votes and Trump 213. A candidate needs 270 to win.
AP’s popular vote tallies early Wednesday morning also gave Biden a 1.2% lead over Trump.
Still, the outlook was not great for Democrats this morning.
Trump held leads in multiple swing states: Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, where 67 electoral votes are at stake.
Biden, meanwhile, held slim leads in only two swing states, Nevada and Wisconsin, which account for 16 electoral votes.
Trump’s unsurprising reaction
Trump was confident enough in his leads to prematurely declare victory during a White House Speech at a 2 a.m. on Wednesday. Decrying mail-in “voter fraud,” the president argued that states in which he is currently leading over Biden should be called in his favor, despite how many ballots remain uncounted in those states.
He expressed shock at the pace of the election, saying he was planning to declare victory on Tuesday night. “We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything. And all of a sudden it was just called off,” he said.
“We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the rest,” he continued. “It’s a very sad moment. We will win this, and as far as I’m concerned, we already have won.”
Given Trump’s significant early lead in Pennsylvania and his major wins in Florida and Texas, the president’s confidence made sense to him and his supporters.
How uncounted votes could turn the electoral tide
But millions of ballots have yet to be counted—and in certain states, they are still coming in by mail. The US has yet to call the victors in Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Alaska.
In Pennsylvania, for example, where the counting of mail-in ballots did not begin until after the polls closed on November 3, Trump had — and continues to maintain — a strong lead over Biden. But the Keystone State is still waiting to count some 1.4 million legitimate ballots, with 77% likely favoring Biden, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Trump’s initial 700,000-vote lead in Pennsylvania is shrinking. The Guardian, citing AP, reports that Trump is now leading by less than 500,000 votes in Biden’s home state, which swung Republican in 2016 for the first time since 1992.
Tides are turning in Michigan, as well, with Biden overtaking Trump’s lead by more than 40,000 votes as the state counts mail-in ballots—stirring the president’s ire.
“How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?” he queried on Twitter.
Responding to a now-flagged photo that depicts Biden gaining more than 128,000 votes in Michigan, Trump tweeted: “WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?”
The inevitable rollercoaster of 2020 election results
Election experts attribute Biden’s post-Election Day momentum to the trend of Trump-supporting voters casting their ballots in person on November 3, whereas Biden voters did so early or by mail, heeding warnings of COVID-19 contamination at crowded polling centers.
Delays in counting mailed-in ballots may have triggered a “red mirage” in some states, in which early results based purely on Election Day ballots favor Trump. Later tallies of mail-in votes then reveal a “blue shift” in favor of Biden.
The same applies to Biden in the event of a “blue mirage.” Initial polls in states that began counting early and mail-in ballots before Election Day may have put the Democrat in the lead. November 3 ballots then tipped the scale towards Trump.
The sitting president believes mail-in voting invites voter fraud and has pushed this narrative throughout the election season without evidence to back it up.
Knowing that he has enthusiastically urged his supporters to flout mail-in options and made a thinly-veiled attempt to upend the US postal service, Trump appears concerned that Biden is gaining ground in states he thought he clinched.
“They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
In a follow-up tweet that is now flagged as misleading, he added: “They are working hard to make [my] 500,000 vote advantage in Pennsylvania disappear — ASAP. Likewise, Michigan and others!”
It could be weeks before Americans get a clear winner of the presidential election, and projections may shift throughout the tallying process. Energized by his supporters, Trump may very well intend to follow through with the pledge he made Wednesday morning to fight the results of the unprecedented race before the Supreme Court.