Looking and sounding worn down today, Donald Trump said this at his rally: “If we win on Tuesday or — thank you very much, Supreme Court — shortly thereafter…” In so doing, Trump just gave away the game. He doesn’t think he has any chance of winning the popular vote or the Electoral College, and his only hope of victory is if the court bails him out.
Trump seems to be severely overestimating the Supreme Court’s willingness to throw away its own viability in order to save him if the election isn’t close. If the deciding swing state comes down to 500 votes or something (like in 2000), then yeah, the Supreme Court will probably hand it to him. But even this Supreme Court knows it can’t pull off throwing out millions of ballots. Millions of people would be in the streets. There wouldn’t really be a government or a country anymore.
Even the Justices who lean toward Trump understand this. Trump is fantasizing if he thinks that’ll happen. We’ve already seen two of Trump’s own Supreme Court appointees go against him on his tax returns, because they wanted to make sure they remained viable in a post-Trump world. Yet Trump still thinks the court is going to magically bail him out no matter what. But then narcissists like Trump always do confuse their transactional allies for fawning loyalists.
This is symptomatic of someone who is backed into a corner, sees no realistic way out, and is now bargaining with himself about a magically simplistic movie-style rescue. Trump seems less invested in making this happen than he is in convincing himself it’ll somehow happen. As David Frum put it on Twitter: “The Supreme Court already knows what he wants. Trump just made it a lot harder for them to do it.”
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report