Take ten minutes and read some of the actual court cases the Trump campaign has filed to overturn election results in states like Pennsylvania. You will clearly see that they have next to no evidence, other than shaky eye witness testimony of outrageously sinister acts. The new “STOP THE STEAL” moniker is a farce. Joe Biden won the election plain and simple. He took back states like Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and managed to flip long-time Republican states like Arizona and Georgia. He is the President-Elect and will be inaugurated in mid-January.
Other than a few of the questionable characters currently leading the charge, few actually believe that voter fraud handed this election to the Democrats. After all, Republicans won big in down ballots races, including in states that Trump himself lost. The mental gymnastics of finding a logic for why Democrats rigged the Presidential election, but somehow forgot to rig the House and Senate elections as well (which they desperately would have needed to forcefully govern) is quite the exercise.
In many cases, this an example of Occam’s Razor, a philosophical rule introduced to me by a former football coach. Occam’s Razor suggests that the more complex and twisted a narrative is, the less likely it is to be true. It is, rather, the simplest theory that most commonly holds up. In this case, Donald Trump lost because a majority of Americans disapprove of him and his brazen attitude. Not due to some shadowy conspiracy where Democratic officials manipulated vote totals and turned the U.S. into a modern Banana Republic.
Recently, a poll came out that shows a majority of Americans believe that Trump’s lawsuits and continued allegations are wrong and harmful to the future of the country. Personally, I tend to agree. After years of frustration over Democrats chasing down every potential scandal or even hint of one they could find, Trump and his team have chosen to do something similar, pursuing minimal evidence issues as a way to discredit their opponents.
But why exactly is Trump continuing to play up these allegations, even after the Supreme Court has declined to hear the cases? It’s also a simple theory. Donald Trump cannot admit he himself lost. It would be completely contrary the image he has tried to build for himself.
Dating back to the 2016 Republican Primary, Trump has used a common tactic to discredit opponents and build his own position: declare them to be losers, especially in contrast to yourself. And it makes sense. In a day and age where people are far too invested in politics as a source of happiness, joy, and security, who would dare entrust their hopes and their dreams to a loser? Starting with previous GOP leaders like Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Trump has a long history of tagging his opponents as “losers”.
Trump winning the GOP Primary and then winning the Presidential Election simply served to enforce his own image as the opposite of a “loser”, as a winner. The winning mantra of Trump has helped him sweep aside any concerns that voters may have about him, especially within his own base. Don’t like how he tweets at people? Donald Trump wins, and nice guys like Mitt Romney lose. Don’t like his specific policies? Doesn’t matter, Romney and Jeb Bush lost, Trump didn’t. It’s clearly their policies who are outdated.
Donald Trump’s brand, no matter how brazen and arrogant it may be, boils down to the fact that no matter what he says, he still wins. And this has earned him the allegiance of many Republicans who will put up with Trump because the alternative is losing yet again. And that worked for Donald Trump in 2016, and has served him well for most of his term. For now, though, this idea of Donald Trump as a winner is under attack because he lost. And what’s worse, he lost to a candidate whom he tried to paint as both radical and unfit for the job. In his own words, Donald Trump lost to candidate who hardly had a pulse. That’s not exactly anyone’s idea of a winner right there.
Thus, insert the cries of “STOP THE STEAL” and “rigged election”. It works as a simple bandaid to cover up the major gash Trump’s brand has suffered. A candidate who lost due to illegal voter fraud can still be considered a winner, because obviously the other party had to cheat to beat them. And this is the basis of Trump’s continual cries. He lost, but he cannot admit it, for if he did, it would likely taint his sparkling reputation as a winner, and endanger his stranglehold on the Republican nomination in 2024 should he seek it.
For now, Trump is content to play the victim and try to preserve his winning image, even if it furthers political hostility amongst everyday Americans and convinces large portions of the country that our next President was not rightfully elected. Trump cares about his own image above anything else, and even engaging in a conspiracy theory like this is on the table if it helps him keep that image.
For the sake of the country, however, it is time for Trump to concede. If he chooses to run again in 2024, that is his own prerogative, but for now, he needs to accept his loss and do some self-reflection on why exactly he lost. It wasn’t a shadowy Democratic operation to subvert democracy, no matter how much he tries to play that card.