Credit: Lorie Shaull/Wikicommons

Given what we’ve already seen from Donald Trump, I don’t think it is possible to fathom the depths to which he will go to cheat in the 2020 election. That isn’t simply because, by exonerating him, Senate Republicans will give him carte blanche to do as he will. It also has a lot to do with what Yoni Appelbaum wrote.

[Conservatives] are losing faith that they can win elections in the future. With this come dark possibilities…When a group that has traditionally exercised power comes to believe that its eclipse is inevitable, and that the destruction of all it holds dear will follow, it will fight to preserve what it has—whatever the cost.

We’ve already seen that Trump has been willing to:

  1. At minimum, welcome Russian interference in the 2016 election,
  2. Extort Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election,
  3. Publicly state that he would be willing to take information from a foreign government that damaged his opponent, and
  4. Smear his most likely opponent in 2020, Joe Biden.

A few days ago, David Roberts made a prediction on Twitter that I was willing to bet would prove to be true.

This is an obvious prediction, but I want to get it on record. The GOP just released Trump from any accountability for trying to cheat in the upcoming election. That’s one sign of many that they are going to try to rig the election, in a range of illegal & semi-legal ways.

Now, what do we know about the reactionary mind? When it is contemplating or planning some offense, it must convince itself that its opponents are *already doing* whatever the offense is—so that it has “no choice” but to do it too. Projection. Predictable as clockwork.

Put 1 & 2 together & you get my prediction: starting pretty soon, conservatives are going to start accusing Dems of cheating & election fraud. They might find some half- or quasi-truth to hang it on, but that’s not necessary. The bubble can just invent stuff these days.

They are going to start these accusations early & aggressively, which offers two advantages. First, when Dems start pointing out *actual* examples of cheating & election fraud, cons will say they’re just doing it in response, trying to wriggle out of something.

And more importantly, putting accusations in the air early means that when their own cheating & fraud are pointed out, the media will cover it as a “both sides are accusing each other of cheating, isn’t partisanship terrible” story.

Even as Roberts was composing that thread, the first half of his prediction was coming true.

Tom Fitton, president of the conservative activist group Judicial Watch, wrote Sunday morning that “eight Iowa counties have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to register.”

That notion, based on a Judicial Watch report purporting to find similar irregularities in hundreds of counties across the country, is false, according to state officials and a Washington Post review of the most up-to-date data.

The lie, however, continued to spread.

The debacle of the Iowa caucuses was just the spark the Trump campaign was looking for. His campaign manager and sons didn’t waste a minute in running with it.

Of course, Republican members of Congress also got in on the action.

The table has now been set for Trump to engage in election fraud and, if caught, rely on the media to respond with “both sides do it.” Mark my words, that is the minimum of what we can expect.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.