Either Donald Trump is incredibly reckless and stupid or he has just launched another attack on the security of the coming November 3 election as part of an overall strategy to challenge the results if he loses to Democrat Joe Biden.
The advice he gave his supporters in North Carolina yesterday to both vote by mail and then go to the polls and vote seemed intended to either rig the election in his favor or cause enough confusion to cast doubt on the results -- and thus provide grounds for a court challenge if he loses. And that would probably be the best case scenario.
Voting twice is illegal and inviting people to vote twice also is a crime. You would think the President of the United States would know that, so it's logical to assume Trump is simply attempting to bolster his unproven contention that voting by mail is an invitation to fraud.
It is clear from poll after poll that Trump stands to benefit from a low voter turnout, which is why he continues to whip up the enthusiasm of his ardent supporters to make sure they vote while attempting to discourage voting by those who oppose him, many of whom prefer to vote by mail in the midst of the pandemic.
Faced with an uproar of criticism, Trump sought to clarify his remarks with this tweet today:
“Based on the massive number of Unsolicited & Solicited Ballots that will be sent to potential Voters for the upcoming 2020 Election, & in order for you to MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS & IS COUNTED, SIGN & MAIL IN your Ballot as EARLY as possible. On Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).”
So what happens if people vote by mail, send it in fairly late, learn at the polling place that it had not been received, and then vote in person -- and then, that mailed-in ballot arrives and is discovered to be a duplicate vote? Imagine the confusion that would result if this happened on a massive scale. Imagine what Trump would do. Would he not say, "I told you so? This election needs to be thrown out!" He would refuse to leave office, and a Constitutional crisis would ensue.
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump wasn't encouraging people to vote twice, only to make certain their votes are counted.
“He wants verification,” McEnany said. “Democrats want a whole new fraudulent system of mail-in voting never tried before in American history, and what Democrats are saying to you is, ‘Trust us, but don’t verify.’ What this president is saying is verify your vote.”
But Trump's comments on Wednesday prompted North Carolina election officials to warn voters not to follow his advice.
The state's Board of Elections cautioned that it is a Class 1 felony to intentionally vote twice and said it is illegal to solicit someone to do that.
The Board's executive director, Karen Brinson Bell, said voters should not go to the polls on Election Day to verify that their mail-in ballots had been counted.
“The State Board office strongly discourages people from showing up at the polls on Election Day to check whether their absentee ballot was counted,” Bell said. “This is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”
What to Expect if Trump Loses?
If Trump supporters do follow his vote-twice advice further jeopardizing the accuracy of the election results, it will only add to the dissension and divisions that already exist and are certain to worsen, especially if Trump loses.
Rosa Brooks, TIP co-founder, wrote this today in The Washington Post:
"Trump refuses to concede, alleging on Twitter that “MILLIONS of illegal ALIENS and DEAD PEOPLE” have voted in large numbers and that the uncounted ballots are all “FAKE VOTES!!!” Social media fills with posts from Trump supporters alleging that the election has been “stolen” in a “Deep State coup,” and Trump-friendly pundits on Fox News and OAN echo the message."
Then, it gets worse, she writes.
Attorney General William P. Barr opens an investigation into unsubstantiated allegations of massive vote-by-mail fraud and ties between Democratic officials and antifa.
Massive pro-Biden street protests begin, demanding that Trump concede, prompting Trump to tweet, “REAL PATRIOTS MUST SHOW THESE ANTIFA TERRORISTS THAT CITIZENS WHO LOVE THE 2ND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER LET THEM STEAL THIS ELECTION!!!”
In this scenario, writes Brooks, violent clashes erupt around the nation, resulting in injuries and death, and Trump declares that “UNLESS THIS CARNAGE ENDS NOW,” he will invoke the Insurrection Act and send “Our INCREDIBLY POWERFUL MILITARY and their OMINOUS WEAPONS” into the streets to “Teach these ANTI-AMERICAN TERRORISTS A LESSON.”
Is this what lies ahead? Is Trump deliberately following a strategy of fostering confusion, distrust and discord because he knows he is finished if a proper, legal election is conducted?
Is this the state of our nation?