Nothing surprising about it, as you the reader doubtless know by now and as Trump may or may not know.

I think he probably does know and is feigning ignorance, but he consumes a lot of garbage information. And he’s always had a conspiratorial mind.

I’d say it’s 50/50 on whether he truly believes this:

For months now, political nerds have been forecasting a “blue shift” in some states on and after election night. In other states there’s a “red shift.” It all depends on when a state counts its mail ballots. Mail votes are trending heavily blue this year for a few reasons. Democrats tend to worry more about COVID than Republicans do, so go figure that they’d be keener to vote in a way that doesn’t require them to mingle inside a crowded polling place. Additionally, Trump’s long effort to demagogue mail voting as inherently fraudulent scared Republicans away from voting that way; GOP officials at the state level have been groaning for months that his rhetoric turned right-wing voters solidly against voting by mail, resulting in a deeply blue electorate among mail ballots. Finally, Dems tend to vote earlier than Republicans do as a rule and mail ballots are the earliest possible way to vote.

The exit polls bear out the partisan split in mail versus same-day voting.

You may remember that Joe Biden jumped out to a big “lead” in Florida early last night, but there was never any real “lead.” Florida simply counts its mail ballots as they’re received rather than waiting until Election Day to start opening envelopes. The tally of votes by mail goes up promptly when polls close, and those mail votes naturally trend heavily blue. Then comes the tally of same-day votes, which trend heavily red — the so-called “red shift” in the results. At the end of the day Trump won easily. Biden’s early lead was a “blue mirage.”

All that’s happening right now in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin is that same process in reverse. In those states, the heavily red same-day votes get reported first. Then the mail ballots start being counted — the so-called “blue shift” — revealing Trump’s early lead to be a “red mirage.” There are three points to note about this:

1. Nearly all of the mail ballots being counted today arrived well before Election Day. Some may have arrived last night or this morning or whatever, but most of these ballots have been sitting in some election office gathering dust because by law they can’t be counted until November 3. Hardly anyone among them missed a deadline in sending their ballot in.

2. Republicans insisted on waiting until November 3 to start the count. Democrats begged them to change the law and do what Florida does, counting mail ballots early so that we’d know the full results on election night. Republicans said no. And there’s only one logical reason for them to have done that given the president’s insistence over the past week that Americans deserve to know who’s president by midnight on November 3. They wanted to manufacture a “red mirage” in the Rust Belt precisely so that Trump could lie to our stupid faces about chicanery causing his lead to evaporate. Again: Al we’re seeing in MI, WI, and PA today is what happened last night in Florida but in reverse. The GOP wants you to believe otherwise so that they don’t have to admit Trump lost fair and square.

3. Per my point above about partisan polarization, Trump’s own rhetoric about mail ballots this year ensured that they’d be even more solidly blue than usual. He wanted Republican voters to view voting by mail as corrupt or unpatriotic or whatever, and he succeeded. Now he pretends to be surprised that there are 80/20 leans towards Biden among the people who did choose to vote that way.

Or, like I say, maybe he really is surprised. Maybe “same-day votes get counted first, mail votes get counted later” is too complicated for him.

In fairness, both sides are pushing bogus claims of voter fraud this morning. Trump himself has seized on the fact that an update posted to some results page somewhere shows Biden gaining 130,000 or votes to zero for the president. It’s cheating! Or … it’s just a quirk of how they’re inputting the numbers and Trump’s share of that batch of votes will be posted soon enough.

If you were going to rig an election, would you make it so obvious as to post a 130,000-to-zero update? Just stay cool. Meanwhile, Democrats are whining that maybe there’s a secret batch of mail ballots that was never delivered:

https://twitter.com/johnkruzel/status/1324004554485211136

Vice has a solid debunking of that. Some ballots might not be getting *scanned* by the Postal Service but that doesn’t mean they’re not being *delivered.* The USPS is probably just being a bit sloppy keeping records internally in its haste to get ballots where they need to go.

Because Trump is Trump, he’s now forced his own allies to choose between either joining him in this sinister con about the “blue shift” being a form of cheating or of having to side against him. We’re still verrrrry early in this process, but indications are that only the hardest of hardcore MAGA-ites will go along. Others won’t:

As you’ll see below, Chris Christie also reality-checked him on the air last night after Trump predictably insisted that he’d won the election as the mail votes in MI, WI, and PA were finally being counted. He also insisted he’d go to the Supreme Court for vindication, which makes no sense on its face — what legal claim does he think he has to stop the counting of valid ballots? — but makes perfect sense when you remember that Trump views politics in all forms as purely transactional. He put Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett on the Court so now they “owe” him. If they need to manufacture some legal complication that makes the “blue shift” illegitimate in order to keep him in power, that’s their problem as far as he’s concerned.

Update: As expected, the mysterious 130,000-to-zero Biden vote haul was nothing more sinister than a typo, now corrected.

Update: Matt Mackowiak, who started the panic over vote-rigging, has now retreated.