November 11, 2020 - 9:00 pm
President Donald Trump takes pride in his reputation as a disruptive force. Drain the swamp, and all that. He came into office almost four years ago vowing to upend Beltway norms, and now he insists on leaving in similarly unconventional fashion.
It is too fitting that the Trump presidency concludes amid a babel of bluster and bravado. But the president does a disservice to his more rabid supporters by insisting that he would have won the Nov. 3 election absent voter fraud. That’s simply false.
Amid a flurry of lawsuits in battleground states — including Nevada — Mr. Trump has yet to admit defeat. It’s possible that he’ll never offer an official concession to Joe Biden. The president’s campaign is certainly within its rights to request recounts or challenge what it believes are improprieties. If GOP legal efforts are successful at identifying instances of voter irregularities or highlighting election procedures that invite abuse, they will not be for naught.
There is no evidence, however, that fraud cost Mr. Trump the election, no matter how much the president tweets the opposite and his supporters wish it so. Mr. Trump would still trail in Pennsylvania even if mail-in ballots received after Election Day were discarded. He would remain well behind Mr. Biden in Nevada even if unverified GOP claims of thousands of illegal votes were dropped from the tally.
In fact, rhetoric from Trump surrogates alleging widespread illegal activity has been devoid of detailed evidence supporting the charge that there was a concerted effort to “steal” the election through corruption. An electoral system that involves the participation of 150 million Americans will have its share of issues, but it’s an insult to reason and logic to argue that isolated irregularities constitute proof of a grand national conspiracy.
Why, if there were some orchestrated Democratic attempt to rig the balloting, did the party underachieve in congressional and statewide balloting across the country?
Occam’s razor applies here. The simplest explanation is typically the correct one. Mr. Trump indeed faced an overtly hostile press, a political establishment that treated him as an enemy occupier and an opposition party that took leave of its senses at the mere thought of his existence. But Mr. Trump lost this election because he ultimately didn’t attract enough votes and failed to win a handful of swing states that broke his way in 2016.
Mr. Trump can keep fighting — and no doubt will. In the meantime, however, he has nothing to lose by cooperating with President-elect Biden’s transition team. Mr. Trump expected no less from the Obama administration in 2016 even as Hillary’s acolytes floated ways to manipulate the Electoral College vote. Mr. Biden deserves the same consideration today regardless of how long the president seeks to delay the inevitable.