Appearing on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning, President Trump again told his supporters to believe that if the election doesn’t deliver the result they want, the outcome is inherently illegitimate — that there are no democratically legitimate circumstances under which he and his supporters can lose in a fair election.
By my count, this is the third time he has stated this explicitly in recent weeks. Trump will generally say both that the election is likely to be rigged and fraudulent — say, due to vote-by-mail — and that he can only lose if that happens. Yet the political press usually responds by fact checking only the first half of this, by debunking his claims about fraud.
But the political media seem to largely tolerate or avert their eyes from the second underlying idea — that the political system cannot deliver a legitimate outcome in which he loses. He and his top advisers almost never face any tough questioning about that second series of claims.
That can’t be okay. In so doing, we’re letting the entire deception campaign directed at his supporters to fake-justify his efforts to corrupt the election and so much more go largely unexamined.