Separately, Trump warned that he would rapidly and forcefully put down any riots or insurrection on November 3 if he won the elections and Democrats did not accept the results, amid apprehensions that he will pre-maturely declare himself the winner based on leads and before a full and complete count.
‘We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that. We have the right to do that. We have the power to do that if we want,’ Trump told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro when she asked him ‘Let’s say there are threats. They say that they are going to threaten riots if they lose on election night, assuming we get a winner on election night. What are you going to do?’
‘Look, it’s called insurrection. We just send in, and we do it very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that because there’s no reason for it, but if we had to, we’d do that and put it down within minutes. Within minutes,’ he added.
Under a scenario being discussed increasingly and with growing concern in political circle, Trump could declare himself winner based on early leads or projections reported by right-wing media outlets such as Fox News and OANN which openly canvas for him. Typically, US election results are called by The Associated Press based on projections, because it takes days, even weeks for mail-in and absentee ballots to be counted and the full and accurate results to be tabulated.
This November 3, matters are expected to be even more complicated since a huge number of voters are expected to use mail-on or absentee ballots in order to avoid voting in person. Democratic leaning voters, including the older demographic and minority voters, who fear the coronavirus more, are expected to use mail-in/absentee ballots in greater numbers.
Those votes are typically counted after in-person votes. Even otherwise, in a phenomenon known as the “blue shift” Republicans tend to establish early leads in battleground states because urban votes are counted later and working class Democrats tend to vote late in the day (Election Day is not a holiday).
Trump himself has said he would like to know the result on Election Day itself and not wait beyond it. Apprehension among Democrats is he will simply declare himself a winner and even as some of his extreme-right vigilante followers (who would typically be gun-lovers and who thinks are “very fine people” and “patriots”) intimidate anyone who protests.
Compounding that scenario, the US President is also urging his supporters to head to polling stations “to make sure their votes are counted. “NORTH CAROLINA: To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY. When Polls open, go to your Polling Place to see if it was COUNTED. IF NOT, VOTE! Your signed Ballot will not count because your vote has been posted. Don’t let them illegally take your vote away from you!” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning in a message that Twitter flagged and masked but allowed to remain online with message: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
NORTH CAROLINA: To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY. When Polls open, go to your Polling Place… https://t.co/cblY80fqUF
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1599916244000
Many Democrats, notably Hillary and Bill Clinton have voiced concern that Trump will hunker down in the White House and not leave if he loses the election. Others, notably Joe Biden, believe the military will intervene and march him out if he does not accept a loss.
A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll conducted from September 9 to 11 shows Biden increasing his lead over Trump by 10 percentage points among registered voters, up from 6 points following the Republican convention and the Bob Woodward book where he disparaged the US military and said he deliberately downplayed the pandemic so as to not cause panic.
But such polls typically measure popular support and not the electoral college outcome. Political pundits have warned that Trump could lose the popular vote by as much as 5 million votes (he lost by nearly 3 million last time) but still conjure up an electoral college win that would give him a second term.