- President Donald Trump creates a narrative in case the November elections result in a “red mirage” – when Trump appears to win on election night but loses after the postal vote is counted.
- The data firm Hawkfish, which works with Democrats, warned of the scenario. Their CEO said, “It looked like Donald Trump was in the lead and he basically wasn’t when every ballot is counted.”
- Trump has been trying to discredit mail-in votes for months, suggesting in response to Hawkfish’s claims that this could be a “rigged election”.
- Trump allies warn that widespread postal voting could harm Republicans and that it is even part of a conspiracy to reject the election results.
- Experts say there is no evidence that the system is unsafe, pointing out that the practice has been widespread with no issues in previous elections by both Democrats and Republicans.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Predictions of a “Red Mirage”
But for Trump and his allies, they have also proven to be an opportunity to preventively shape such a scenario as treason, in which dark forces conspire to rob him of victory.
The scenario was designed by Josh Mendelsohn, CEO of the data company Hawkfish, which is funded by Michael Bloomberg and works with Democrats.
In an interview with Axios, he described the “very real possibility” that election night data from personal votes would indicate a strong lead for Trump.
He said that postal ballots that take longer to count could leave Joe Biden the winner after a few days – a scenario known as a “red mirage”.
For those around Trump, the scenario enlivened a campaign of unsubstantiated voting against mail-in votes that the president tried to portray as illegitimate.
Earlier Trump comments on mailed votes included that July mail-in ballot papers were called “a formula for voting.” He later briefly suggested postponing the November elections, claiming that a large number of votes sent through the mail would make them “the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history”.
Postal voting has been conducted in both Republican and Democratic states in the United States for decades and is already the primary electoral system in some states. Experts say that fraud cases are extremely rare and that any scheme is very likely to be discovered.
After the hawkfish prediction got around, Trump’s warnings took a darker turn.
In the posts shared by Trump, Raheem Kassam, editor-in-chief of the right-wing National Pulse, took “Red Mirage” prevention as evidence of a previous claim that Democrats and the media “conspire to reject the election results.” “
He also shared a video of Nigel Farage, the British campaigner for Brexit, claiming he saw mail-in votes abused in his home country.
Farage said, “The worst scenario of all is on the morning of November 4th. Trump looks like the winner. Over the next ten days, all of those mail-in votes will be counted and the result will be reversed.”
Both Farage and Kassam implied that the mail-in votes that could undo an apparent Trump victory would be inadmissible, but did not explain why it was.
Other Trump allies have also sought to justify Trump’s claims about the alleged problems.
White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was pushed on CNN in August to prove there was evidence of election fraud and he replied, “There is no evidence that there is none.”
Trump has not only claimed that mail-in votes are susceptible to tampering, but has also promoted measures that would weaken the system.
In August, Trump said he was planning to block funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in need of money, expressly saying that doing so would affect his ability to process mail-in votes. He later went back to the idea.
And on Wednesday, in an interview with North Carolina’s WECT TV channel, Trump encouraged people to vote twice – which is illegal – to test the system.
Trump’s warnings expand on an argument long advanced by sections of the Republican Party, usually at the local level.
David Ralston, the Republican House Speaker in Georgia, said in April that an all-mail election would be “utterly devastating to Republicans,” and Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, described that the general mail Vote would be “the end of” our republic as we know it. “
While the hostility to mail-in votes from Trump and the broader GOP is nothing new, the “Red Mirage” scenario has sparked their attacks aimed at preparing its followers to be betrayed rather than facing an impending loss accept.