Have “tremendous changes” taken place in the last few days of this election? Donald Trump declared this to Fox & Friends this morning, and chalks it up to his ferocious pace on the campaign trail, but also to last-minute voters coming home to Team Trump. Trump sounded more tired on this early-morning call than ever before, clearly worn out by that torrid pace — and still facing a long night tonight and possibly a very long week.
That point prompted Steve Doocy to ask Trump about prematurely declaring victory. “At what point will you declare victory?”
“When there’s victory, if there’s victory,” Trump replied. “I think we’ll have victory. … But only when there’s victory,” Trump reiterated. “There’s no need to play games.”
That’s not a bad statement, but it still prompts the question: what determines “when there’s victory”? Many states will get most of their ballots counted tonight, but several will need a few more days to complete counts of their mail-in ballots. Pennsylvania is probably the key to this election for both campaigns, and they’ll be counting there for the whole week. If he or Joe Biden get to 270 without Pennsylvania, then there’s no problem, but that assumes we’ll know about enough other states by then, too.
Will that be enough to stop the tongue-clucking over victory calls? Naah, and it also doesn’t make it mean anything more, anyway. Let’s not forget that states run elections, not the federal government. Trump can’t do anything about the results except challenge them in court, and those challenges and recounts still require states to conduct those according to their own state laws. If Trump loses, he loses whether he personally accepts the results or not.
Trump will be off the campaign trail today, making “big phone calls” instead. As for a closing argument, Trump remains on message about draining the swamp, although he made the argument in peculiar manner with Fox & Friends. Trump claims dealing with Washington is more difficult than dealing with either China or Russia, which is why he’s needed to change the culture. When asked, he called the establishment “mean,” and added, “I think Adam Schiff is a sick person.”
“Unless you want to sit there and do nothing,” Trump added, “or you want to accede to everything they want to do, and we don’t want to do that.” Anti-establishment to the end!
Update: Alas, YouTube took down the full interview. Fox News has the excerpt about declaring victory, though:
I’ll keep looking for the full 40-minute call.