Donald Trump’s journey of political humiliation continues as each new state certifies the vote totals that have cost him the presidency.
The process that Trump thought could be gamed in his favor has turned into a very bad trip for an egomaniac who is unable to handle the fact that he’s a loser. But the president and his credulous minions can’t help themselves. The defeated Republican’s campaign has steered into such delusional territory that it is now making things worse for Trump by literally paying people to find more votes for Democrat Joe Biden—as happened with the just-completed Wisconsin recount.
Trump, the man who sold himself to America as the genius of “the art of the deal,” has proven to be a buffoon of electoral miscalculation.
After a miserable four years as president, Trump sought reelection with a campaign that was so crude and divisive that he achieved a relatively rare feat for an incumbent seeking a second term. Not only did he fail to expand his base, but Trump actually lost five states that he had won in his first presidential bid: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. All of those states have certified wins for Biden, as have other states—such as Minnesota and Nevada—where Trump had hoped to improve on his 2016 results.
As the long count of the votes from the election with the highest turnout in American history moves toward completion, Trump is falling further and further behind. The Republican is not just losing the Electoral College by a 306-232 margin. He’s getting crushed in the popular balloting. Biden’s now ahead by almost 7 million votes nationwide, giving him a wider mandate than John Kennedy got in 1960, or Richard Nixon in 1968, or Bill Clinton in 1992, or George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, or Barack Obama in 2012, or Trump himself in 2016. Biden has earned the highest percentage of the popular vote for a challenger to a sitting president since Democrat Franklin Roosevelt dispatched Republican Herbert Hoover in 1932.
And the Wisconsin partial recount that Trump’s campaign paid $3 million to initiate—despite the fact that experts said Biden’s lead of more than 20,000 votes in the state was insurmountable—has indeed improved Biden’s position.
After a meticulous review of ballots from the state’s two largest counties, Milwaukee and Dane, Biden posted a net gain of 87 votes. The boost in ballots put the Democrat ahead by 20,695 votes out of just about 3.25 million cast.
That’s right, Donald Trump’s campaign paid $34,500 a vote to strengthen Joe Biden’s claim on the presidency.
But that wasn’t all that Trump paid for.
When the recount was finished, Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnel explained, “For me what this recount showed was that there was absolutely no evidence of voter fraud in this election even after looking at over 300,000 ballots, over 254,000 envelopes. Really this incredible level of transparency should provide reassurance to the public that the election was run properly and accurately and there was no fraud.”
Milwaukee County Milwaukee County Clerk George Christensen said, “The recount demonstrates what we already know: that elections in Milwaukee County are fair, transparent, accurate and secure.”
Trump was still refusing to accept reality. The president kept promising new legal challenges—despite that fact that more than three dozen suits by the president’s campaign have already failed to overturn results in states across the country.
Spurred on by Rudy Giuliani’s racist fever dreams, Trump will keep mounting challenges that are by all accounts doomed to fail—even with conservative jurists like those who make up the majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. As his state added its certification to those of the other battleground states, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced, “There’s no basis at all for any assertion that there was widespread fraud that would have affected the results.”
On Tuesday, Trump’s campaign filed a lawsuit seeking to disqualify more than 220,000 Wisconsin ballots. But Kaul, in a statement anticipating the suit, had already explained why that was a nonstarter:
It’s clear that President Trump and his representatives used the recount to seek after-the-election changes to the rules. Those changes would result in tens of thousands of votes, if not more, being thrown out—and the President’s representatives have only sought to have those changes applied to votes cast in our two most populous counties, in which the majority of Black Wisconsinites live.
I have every confidence that this disgraceful Jim Crow strategy for mass disenfranchisement of voters will fail. An election isn’t a game of gotcha. Our fundamental right to vote is far more powerful than that. Wisconsin elections are decided by the will of the voters, not post-election legal maneuvering.
But Trump’s a glutton for punishment. So his campaign will keep grifting money from gullible supporters, and it will keep steering money into strategies that only confirm the scope and character of Biden’s decisive victory.
If Trump and his supporters want to write more checks to validate Biden’s mandate, so be it. As Madison-based historian Stephen Coss observes, “This is the best thing the Republicans have done for the Wisconsin economy [in the better part of two decades]. Throw in another $3 million and we’ll count them again.”