Nobody knows how to manipulate the press or trigger progressives like Donald Trump. That’s what he’s doing right now. His efforts to cast doubt on the outcome of the election make great headlines. The fight he’s putting up validates his supporters predisposition to embrace conspiracy theories. Overall, it’s more wearing down trust in government and institutions and sowing division instead of healing it. 

A poll out yesterday says that 80% of Americans believe that Joe Biden won the election. Another 13% said the outcome is not decided and just 3% believe that Trump won. Regardless, Trump will continue to maintain that he won the election and most Republicans leaders will keep their mouths closed instead of defending the integrity of the our electoral process. 

As Trump lawyers and minions continue to throw out outlandish schemes to keep the president in the White House, twitter and cable news pundits will repeat the schemes with an air of concern. They should probably just ignore them. Nobody really believes that legislators are going to appoint electors who contradict the will of the voters. Yet Trump loyalists will keep repeating these delusions because they know they can get a response from the media and they can keep their most loyal followers engaged. 

I got a call from one of those engaged Trump supporters yesterday. I’ve known him all of my life and he periodically checks in both to give me his views and to hear more about mine. He said that he’s almost positive that Biden won and is confident that Biden will be sworn in on January 21. That said, he has doubts about the validity of some of the results. He questioned a batch of mail-in ballots in Wisconsin that went for Biden by an overwhelming amount. He doesn’t understand how Trump could lead in states by wide margins on election night and watch them shrink in the following days. And he can’t fathom why North Carolina has not been called for Trump yet. He’s not ready to say the election is illegitimate, but he’s also not ready to say that there’s not mischief, either. 

(As an aside, I asked him about the election and Trump. As I suspected, he was most animated by the protests and racial tension in the country. While he said that racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was beyond a doubt, he also equated the Black Lives Matter movement with the Ku Klux Klan. He noted that more of the protesters appeared to be White than Black and that they threatened and intimidated people, citing the videos of BLM protesters interrupting diners in places like Washington, DC. He said working in Charlotte during the protests made him and his co-worker, a Black woman, fear for their safety.  He also condemned the anti-police message while acknowledging that some police were bad cops. As he put it, we have to have police to keep the peace.)

Trump is talking to people like my friend and the news media, especially conservative outlets, is serving as the messenger. We will continue to see outrageous statements that may not convince the president’s supporters that the election is illegitimate, but will reinforce their belief that government officials, especially Democrats, are not acting in good faith. The whole process is damaging to the country, playing to divisions. It’s a shame that Republicans who know better don’t show more integrity.

It’s all just noise. The drama playing out is for the partisans and the ratings. I’m going to do all I can to tune it out until January 20. As I’ve said, Joe Biden will be President of the United States and Donald Trump will move on to his next attention-seeking role. Paying attention to the manufactured drama is just encouraging bad behavior.

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