Donald Trump doesn’t have a magic wand

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Pundits keep telling us that the further Donald Trump falls behind in the polls, and the more legal trouble he’s facing if he loses reelection, the more motivated he’ll be to cheat, therefore he’ll magically win reelection. Let’s talk about how silly this narrative is.

For starters, the original tax return subpoena made clear last year that a New York grand jury was going to indict Trump. Just because the media ignored this until recently, it doesn’t mean Trump hasn’t understood all along that he’s going to prison if he loses. It’s not news to him. It’s why he spent all this time fighting (and failing) in court to try to stop the subpoena. So the whole “Now that Trump suddenly knows he’s going to prison if he loses, he’s suddenly going to be more motivated to cheat, therefore he’ll magically win” narrative goes out the window.

You can also throw out the “Trump is falling further behind, therefore he’ll be more motivated to cheat” narrative. Are we really supposed to believe there are cheating tactics Trump would try if he’s 12 points down that he wouldn’t try if he’s 7 points down? Come on.

It’s also a false premise that being more motivated to cheat somehow translates to being more effective at cheating. We’re supposed to believe that additional pressure and desperation is going to make Trump a smarter and more competent cheater? We’ve all watched too many movies where the more dire things look for one side, the more inspired that side is to come up with a genius plan that magically saves the day. But this isn’t the movies. This is weirder than the movies, for sure. But real world logic still applies to this election, not movie logic.

The reality is this:

– Trump will try to cheat

– He’ll do it ineptly

– The cheating may help him, it may not

– Falling further behind does not magically help him

– Desperation tactics have a low percentage of working

– If you’re worried, go register some more people to vote

“But Russia will magically rig the election for Trump again!” Wasn’t effective last time. If not for Comey’s letter, Russian meddling wouldn’t have been enough to put Trump over the top. “But the post office is his new magic wand!” No it isn’t. “Bill Barr is Trump’s magic wand!” No. “Kanye is his new magic wand!” Still no.

   

Each of these attempts at cheating can potentially shift the results by a point, or a half a point, in Trump’s direction. So yes, we have to watch out for them. But none of them are magic wands. Cheating in an election is really hard – and it can always be overcome by turnout. Run up the score against Trump on election day, and he loses. It’s that straightforward.

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