Why it matters that Trump is up to his old tricks
Trump is barging into the Senate race in Pennsylvania because there’s still a chance that Oz, whom he endorsed last month, could lose out to the candidate the ex-President spurned, former hedge fund executive McCormick, when all votes are counted.
He’s frustrated that Oz is having to wait for counts of absentee ballots and delayed votes counted in person. Those votes are just as valid as any cast in person. But Trump is running the same corrupt playbook that he used nearly two years ago to falsely claim he won a second term.
“Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they just happened to find,” Trump wrote on his ironically named social media network, “Truth Social,” on Wednesday. The ex-President claimed the Keystone State’s election was a “MESS,” making the same kind of baseless claims he conjured after losing to President Joe Biden.
But Trump’s pressure on Oz, who late Wednesday had a lead of less than 1,300 votes among 1.3 million cast, represents a fresh attempt to stain the integrity of American democracy simply because it is not delivering the result he wants. If the former President was settled into his retirement on the fairways and greens of Florida, his dive into the Pennsylvania election wouldn’t be so consequential. But there is every sign Trump means to be a major player in November’s midterm elections as a launch pad for an attempt to win the White House back in 2024.
He’s proving that despite leaving Washington in disgrace after launching a campaign of lies designed to overturn his election loss, which resulted in an insurrection, he would have no qualms about doing so again. Trump has shown his power over his followers ever since 2020: his fraud falsehoods are now believed by millions, while many GOP candidates this year have made them a part of their campaign messaging. But this new example of interference in Pennsylvania is not history — it’s an active effort to delegitimize an election. And if Oz loses, it could seriously delegitimize McCormick’s victory among hard-core pro-Trump voters.
Trump’s mendacity places intense pressure on Oz and McCormick to end their race with grace and for the loser to accept the result — as candidates have done in America for nearly 250 years — in order to preserve faith in US elections. Whoever comes out on top, a recount could be automatically triggered if the margin is narrow enough.
Oz has not, so far, taken Trump’s advice and claimed victory, seeming to trust the election system in a state that the ex-President claimed was corrupt two years ago. Aides to McCormick, who has previously raised doubts about electoral integrity in the state, argue that uncounted absentee ballots — the very outstanding votes that Trump falsely claimed in 2020 were proof of fraud — will put him over the top.
Republicans fear Mastriano could damage Senate chances
Another Pennsylvania Republican candidate who suddenly has no problem with Pennsylvania’s election system is Mastriano. A cynic might conclude that this is because it delivered him a handsome victory.
But his win in the gubernatorial primary means that an outright election denier from 2020 is now one step from power in one of the nation’s most closely fought swing states. Mastriano is on record saying that the 2020 vote was compromised and the state legislature had the authority to…