Trump's messaging strategy has been blown to pieces as Biden comes within striking distance of the White House
- As the Democratic nominee Joe Biden continues leading President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, Trump has grown increasingly frustrated and any messaging strategy he may have had has gone up in smoke.
- Before Election Day, Trump insisted that the winner of the race be called on November 3 itself.
- On election night, when no winner was called, Trump prematurely and falsely declared himself the winner and claimed there was "major fraud" in the election.
- The next day, Trump went from declaring himself the winner to demanding that some states stop counting ballots — which he can't do — and insisting that others keep counting, which they were doing anyway.
- On Twitter, he tweeted posts alleging widespread election and voter fraud; tried to unilaterally claim electoral college votes in states Biden won or that hadn't projected a winner; and reflected a fundamental misunderstanding of how the electoral process works.
- On Thursday, Trump reiterated his demand to "STOP THE COUNT," apparently unaware of the fact that if officials actually stopped counting ballots when he wanted them to, Biden would win the election.
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Democratic nominee Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump in the race for the White House, as of Thursday morning.
With victories in key battleground states like Michigan and Wisconsin, Biden has racked up 253 Electoral College votes compared to Trump's 214, according to Decision Desk HQ. Several states are yet to be called but Biden is within striking distance of the 270 votes needed to win the election.
Faced with the prospect of losing to a man he spent months hammering as corrupt, doddering, and mentally deficient, Trump has grown increasingly frustrated and dejected, and any messaging strategy he may have had has been blown to pieces.
Before November 3, Trump insisted that the winner of the 2020 election be called on election night itself.
"Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd," he tweeted on October 26.
(Fact check: there have been no widespread issues with mail-in ballots, and experts say this year's election was among the safest and most secure because of the use of paper ballots and voting machines with verifiable paper trails. The winner of the election is also never finalized on election night, regardless of what news networks project, and it's routine for ballots to be tabulated in the days after Election Day.)
As election night progressed into the early hours of November 4, Trump took to the podium to prematurely and falsely declare himself the winner of the race, even though millions of ballots across states hadn't yet been counted.
"We were getting ready to win this election," Trump said around 2:30 a.m. ET at the White House. "Frankly, we did win this election." He went on to say there was "major fraud on our nation," without providing evidence to support the claim.
As the day progressed, the president went from declaring himself the winner to demanding that the battleground states he was ahead in stop counting ballots and that those he was behind in continue counting. Trump's statements carry no legal weight since election officials in all states will continue tabulating ballots until every vote has been recorded.
Biden is projected to win Michigan and its 16 electoral college votes as well Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes; he is closely trailing Trump in Pennsylvania and Georgia. On Wednesday afternoon, the Trump campaign demanded a recount in Wisconsin and filed lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia to stop them from counting votes.
Taking their cue from the president, Trump supporters descended on a vote-processing center in Detroit, Michigan, and chanted for election officials to "Stop the count!" At another facility in Maricopa County, Arizona, where Biden is currently ahead, Trump supporters shouted, "Count that vote!"
The president's Twitter feed reflected a similarly incongruous logic, in which he tweeted and retweeted posts alleging widespread election and voter fraud; tried to unilaterally declare himself the victor of several states that had either been called for Biden or hadn't yet projected a winner; and reflected a fundamental misunderstanding of how the US election process works.
(Fact check: Trump can't claim a state's electoral votes on his own. There is no evidence that a "large number" of ballots in Michigan were "secretly dumped," and it's also unclear how they could have been "secretly" discarded if the issue was "widely reported," as Trump claimed.)
(Fact check: Trump's lead in several states didn't "magically disappear." It was widely expected that in states that started counting and tabulating votes on Election Day, Trump would have an early lead because ballots cast on November 3 would favor him, while mail-in ballots — which would be processed as the night went on — would favor Biden. For that reason, election experts anticipated a "blue shift" in some states and a "red shift" in others that allowed officials to start processing mail ballots before Election Day.)
(Fact check: the mail-in vote skewed strongly in Biden's favor in part because Trump spent months alleging that voting by mail would lead to a fraudulent and "rigged" election result. Some Republicans were also concerned that Trump's comments would end up backfiring and hurting his own voters, so they quietly worked behind the scenes to urge GOP voters to cast mail ballots, even as Trump warned against it.)
On Thursday, as Biden continued leading Trump in the electoral vote count, some people in the president's orbit said election officials shouldn't rush to call a particular state's winner.
"What's the rush?" former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on "Fox & Friends," in a stark departure from Trump's repeated insistence that the winner of the election be called on election night itself.
Shortly after Conway's interview, Trump again took to Twitter and wrote in all caps, "STOP THE COUNT!"
As several reporters and data journalists pointed out, if election officials actually stopped counting ballots when Trump wanted them to, Biden would win the election.
Follow Business Insider's live coverage for accurate and up-to-date information about the election results.
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