If you’ve been following the Trump campaign’s fairly obvious fallback plan for how to reverse an impending election loss, you know it depends a great deal on disinformation. By demonizing mail ballots as fraudulent and likely to be discarded or not delivered on time (even as the campaign and its allies fight like hell in court to reduce their availability), Team Trump hopes to convince some anti-Trump voters to not vote at all and its own voters to cast in-person ballots before or on Election Day. If this produces an Election Night lead for Trump nationally and in key battleground states as intended (since in-person votes tend to be counted first), Trump has the option of claiming victory and then warning that later ballots cast by mail are suspect and should not be allowed to change the result. If enough ignorant or biased media and voters buy into this line of BS reasoning, he could seriously contest a defeat.
The path from that sort of chaos to a Trump second term is tricky and unclear, but it shouldn’t be allowed to get that far. Intensive education of voters on the true ins and outs of voting by mail could blow up a Trump scheme to preempt a Biden win. And so it’s not surprising to learn, via Greg Sargent, that the Biden campaign is planning on doing some educating of its own:
[T]he Biden campaign tells me it’s planning massive expenditures in educating voters about mail balloting, with two goals: To get people to initiate the vote-by-mail process as early as possible and follow it through, and to inform people that mail balloting is secure.
“We are investing heavily in making sure voters understand what he is trying to do and are not deterred by falsehoods,” Bauer said, adding that this will include “urging voters to obtain and cast their ballots early, early, early.”
The earlier Biden voters cast mail ballots, the less likely it is that even a deliberately messed-up postal system will fail to deliver them by the various state deadlines for counting them. Earlier voting, moreover, makes it less likely mail ballots will be counted long after Election Day, giving Trump less time to declare the counting at an end.
Add in some intensive media education about the importance of showing some patience in reporting the results of a coronavirus-influenced election, and you just might secure an environment in which Trump cannot pull a fast one. Alternatively, Biden could beat the incumbent so badly that Trump is never really ahead, but it’s smart to have multiple contingency plans.