According to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, 52 percent of Americans believe Donald Trump will not accept the results of the November election.
The poll also found 55 percent of Trump supporters would not accept the result of a close election decided by mail-in ballots. Those numbers reflect a full-court press by Donald Trump and his surrogates to cast doubt on the results of any election where mail-in ballots are extensively used.
Voters who support Trump, meanwhile, share their candidate’s unfounded suspicions about postal balloting, with a full 55 percent saying they would not “accept the result” if Biden wins “because of an advantage in mail-in votes.” Only 21 percent say they would accept a Biden victory under those circumstances.
The survey, it’s worth noting, was conducted July 28 to 30, mostly before Trump’s tweet about delaying the election. If anything, these gaps will likely widen in the wake of his incendiary suggestion.
Among Biden voters, a mere 26 percent say they would not accept the results if the tables were turned and Trump won because of mail-in votes. Forty-seven percent say they would accept the results.
It’s unclear exactly what is meant by Trump supporters “not accepting” the results of an election. As with the case of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats who refused to recognize Donald Trump as legitimate because he “cheated” by getting help from Russia, it may be nothing more than Americans seeing Joe Biden as an illegitimate president — no doubt goaded on by Trump and his supporters.
As for the president, he is doing a fine job whipping up hysteria about mail-in ballots.
“They think they’re going to send hundreds of millions of ballots all over the United States and it’s gonna come out,” he told reporters at the White House following a meeting with members from the National Association of Police Organizations. “You won’t know the election result for week months, maybe years after. Maybe you’ll never know the election result. That’s what I’m concerned with – it’ll be fixed. It’ll be rigged. People oughta get smart.”
He suggested people vote in person or submit absentee ballots.
“This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history,” he continued on Friday. “And by the way, you guys like to talk to about Russia and China and other places? They’ll be able to forge ballots, they’ll forge them. They’ll do whatever they have to do.”
This is a gross exaggeration. Trump is actually scaring his voters away from mail-in voting, as Republican professionals have been warning him. And the idea of massive fraud in a mail-in election just doesn’t hold water. Even rudimentary safeguards practiced at the local level are enough to catch most of the fraud. The notion that Russians and Chinese would be able to “forge” thousands or millions of ballots is silly.
But the threat of fraud will be elevated. So the question isn’t so much will there be massive fraud but rather why take the chance when people are fully capable of taking care of themselves when they line up to vote in person?
I’ve been writing for months about the extreme dangers of massive mail-in ballots. The Postal Service isn’t capable or ready to handle that many official ballots and local and state election officials have no idea what they’re in for. Trump is right about delayed results and the longer the delay, the more mischief can be made by whatever party controls the election apparatus. At the very least, delayed election results cast doubts in the minds of ordinary voters about the legitimacy of the election.
The USPS thinks their rate of failure to deliver ballots will “only” be 3 percent. That could be the difference in a dozen House races, a couple of Senate races, and, who knows? Maybe even the presidential race. A 3 percent failure rate is absolutely, totally unacceptable for great big grown-up country like the United States. It would make us look like a banana republic or worse.