President Donald Trump
Credit: White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Donald Trump called in to Fox and Friends on Monday morning to once again spread the conspiracy theory about mail-in voting being fraudulent.

Here’s what he said:

“I go by the election,” Trump said when the hosts of “Fox and Friends” asked for his response to concerns that he won’t allow a peaceful transition of power in the event of a Biden victory.

Then the President added: “Now with that being said, I have to tell you that if you go with this universal mail-in, where you send millions of votes–in California tens of millions of ballots being sent to everybody and their dogs, okay? Dogs are getting them, okay? People that have been dead for 25 years are getting them–you have to see what’s happening. Then you’re never going to have a fair election.”

“I’ll say this: You’re never going to have a fair election,” he repeated.

Of course, all of the president’s claims about California are a lie, which is demonstrated by the fact that the Republican Party of North Carolina is sending out applications for mail-in ballots with Trump’s picture on them next to a headline that reads: “Are you going to let Democrats silence you?”

All of that came after both Trump and his economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the quiet parts out loud when it comes to providing both state election officials and the Post Office enough money to handle the increase in mail-in ballots during a pandemic.

The president made it clear that he would deny funding in order to block mail-in voting, while Kudlow referred to voting rights as a “liberal left agenda,” saying “that’s not our game.” As if it wasn’t already clear, by suggesting that voting rights are a liberal agenda, Republicans have now managed to make themselves the party that is against protecting the right to vote.

The one thing we can be certain of is that all of this points to the fact that Donald Trump knows he’s losing, which represents obliteration to him. So as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, the plan seems to be to claim victory on election night when in-person ballots will be tallied and then claim fraud as mail-in ballots are counted. Since the latter claim will have no actual data to prove fraud, the reality-based community will know that it’s a lie while his supporters will claim the election was rigged. In other words, massive chaos will erupt over the outcome of the election.

That is precisely what Trump is hoping for, not necessarily because he wants to win, but to provide his delusions with cover when he loses. You might remember that this president still hasn’t admitted that he lost the popular vote in 2016—claiming that millions of people voted illegally. He went through the process of setting up a commission to document that, but it failed miserably and shut down pretty quickly. But Trump still brings the subject up when his delusions need cover.

It is important to keep in mind that this president’s most loyal supporters are only a secondary target for these kinds of claims. First and foremost they are designed to assuage his own narcissistic ego and protect himself from the kind of annihilation that he assumes comes from losing. The truth is that, even as Trump started his life in business with millions of dollars he inherited from his father’s shady career, he was a constant loser until Russian cash and Mark Burnett came along to help him maintain his delusions. This president has actually been a loser all of his life and has managed to perfect the art of denying that reality. It might be the one skill he possesses.

But this time, the cost of Trump’s delusions will be felt by all of us with the chaos that ensues. What we have is a president who is willing to destroy our confidence in the electoral process in order to protect his own ego. That’s the kind of thing we’ve known this president is capable of doing for a long time now. The true cost to our democracy comes from a Republican Party that has been willing to aid and abet this criminal president. This country’s institutions haven’t failed us. Impeachment would have been an effective remedy if the president’s party hadn’t given him a pass on abusing power and obstructing justice.

That is why I always go back to the seminal moment when Representative Adam Schiff laid it all out during the senate impeachment trial: “[Trump] has betrayed our national security. He has compromised our elections. And he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. Truth matters little to him. What’s right matters even less. And decency matters not at all.” Even with that prescient warning, Republican Senators (with the exception of Mitt Romney) were willing to give this president a pass.

Now that same president is undermining our voting rights, which are at the heart of our democratic process, with the goal of creating chaos to assuage his own narcissistic ego. In order to correct what’s wrong, we must clearly identify the problem. One political party in this country is providing support for a president who has gone rogue over and over again in pursuit of his own personal interests. Trump wouldn’t be president right now without a complicit Republican Party. So let’s be perfectly clear about who is responsible for our current situation.

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