early and often

Trump Backs Early Voting, But Says It’s Still ‘Election Rigging’

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

As the saying goes, it takes a good while to turn around a battleship. Accordingly, it’s going to take a while for Donald Trump to undo the damage he did to confidence in state-controlled election laws in 2020, when he launched a systematic and deeply dishonest attack on early voting, especially voting by mail. Now Republican leaders and activists have convinced Trump that GOP voters’ refusal to take advantage of every voting opportunity damaged the party ticket in 2020 and will damage it again in 2024. But he obviously cannot admit he made up his demonization of early voting out of whole cloth. So in urging Republicans to start taking advantage of “convenience voting,” Trump is using a characteristically twisted approach, as this new video shows:

See if you can follow the logic here:

Radical Democrats have abused and taken advantage of absentee and early voting laws to build a big lead over Republicans before Election Day. While Republicans have worked to share our beautiful values with voters, Democrats and dangerous groups funded by the far left have simply focused on collecting ballots … But you know what? It turned out not be such a bad idea. This must change for us to win in 2024. We may not like the current system, but we must beat the Democrats at their own game. And then we can make our own rules. Republicans must get tougher and fight harder to cast our votes and get our ballots turned in earlier so Democrats can’t rig the polls against us on Election Day. We cannot let that happen. They rigged the election against us in 2020 and we cannot let that happen in 2024.

… The [RNC] is fighting bad Democrat laws, putting folks on the ground to serve as poll workers and poll watchers, and engaging attorneys to monitor every step of the voting process. Go to BankYourVote.com to sign up and commit to vote early. We must beat the radical left at their own game or we will never recover from this disastrous, crooked Biden administration.

So Trump is simultaneously arguing that encouraging early voting “rigged” the 2020 election and that Republicans must encourage it themselves in 2024. Then when Republicans have won, they’ll “make our own rules,” which presumably means abolishing early voting altogether. It’s a breathtakingly cynical argument, but it’s probably necessary to break the spell Trump cast in 2020 that convinced millions of Republicans that only votes cast in person on Election Day were legitimate.

The good thing about this development is that if most Republicans don’t vote in person on Election Day, we probably won’t see the “Red Mirage” phenomenon that gave Trump an incredibly ephemeral lead on Election Night 2020 and enabled the premature victory claim that bore its evil fruit in the disrupted electoral vote count on January 6. This doesn’t mean Trump will accept any defeat in 2024, but it won’t be quite as easy for him to claim that early voting “rigged” the results if his party is avidly participating.

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Trump Backs Early Voting, Says It’s Still ‘Election Rigging’