As for our democracy, Trump unceasingly and maliciously maligned the electoral process, just as he did when he took office. Facing an uphill reelection fight, he made every false claim he could to delegitimize, or set the stage for challenging, the result — truth, logic and consistency be damned, even at the price of undermining the democratic system he swore an oath to protect.

Mail-in voting begets fraud, Trump said, except when conducted by people or in places supporting him. Democratic governors were sending mail-in ballots to dogs. Ballots were being “dumped in rivers.” Votes were being faked, votes were being discarded — take your pick. “2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” “a great embarrassment to the USA,” he tweeted in July. He said he could lose only if the election were “rigged.”

In effect, Trump announced long ago precisely what he would be doing now: spuriously assert victory, and mendaciously claim thievery, “a fraud on the American public,” before all the votes were counted, and without the slightest evidence of fraud. In states where he was behind, he’d say votes had been miscounted, or needed to be counted again; where ahead, he’d insist that merely counting new votes amounts to the “finding” of fraudulent ballots.