“Trump leans into voter fraud playbook, preparing to cry foul if he loses expected Biden rematch”


For months, Trump has been alleging that he could be the victim of fraud in November, making the same sort of explosive, groundless allegations that fueled the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and have continued to spark a wave of threats against election workers nationwide. Trump made similar allegations before the 2020 election, predicting for months there would be widespread fraud that November and contending he could only lose if the election was stolen from him.

“He’s doing it out in full view,” said David Becker of the Center for Election Innovation & Research and coauthor of “The Big Truth,” about Trump’s 2020 election lies. “If he is the Republican nominee, he has made clear that he’ll lie about an election that he’s lost.”

His continued false claims about the 2020 election have resonated with Republican voters, a majority of whom believe Biden was not legitimately elected despite all evidence to the contrary. Trump lost dozens of court challenges, his own attorney general found no evidence of widespread fraud, and reviewsaudits and recounts in the battleground states where he contested his loss all affirmed Biden’s victory.

Rachel Orey of the Bipartisan Policy Center said Trump’s preemptive allegations of fraud have become built into the nation’s political culture.

“It’s been normalized. I think what in 2020 was seen as somewhat outlandish is now an anticipated part of the process,” Orey said. “And, we see more and more candidates adopting the election denial tactics that Donald Trump is using, either as a way to thrust themselves into the national spotlight or as a way to fundraise.”

Setting the stage to blame an election loss on fraud has clear consequences, Orey said, pointing to the fact that threats and harassment against election officials after 2020 were especially severe in battleground states that Trump narrowly lost.

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