Donald Trump’s claim that the election was rigged is nothing new. He made that claim BEFORE the election. In fact, that’s been his schtick for years. ABC News put together a nice summary of Trump's history of calling elections rigged. We can't directly see Trump's tweets where he complained about the election being rigged since he lost his Twitter account due to repeated lies about the election and his continuing threat to our democracy. But we can do the next best thing. There is a Trump Twitter Archive where we can see the remnants of his tweets, if not the tweets themselves.
Trump complained that the 2020 election was going to be rigged more than five MONTHS before the actual election. What follows is a partial list of Trump's claims that the election would be rigged, followed by Trump's standing in national polls as compiled by FiveThirtyEight at the time that he made those statements.
Tweet, May 24, 2020: "The Democrats are trying to Rig the 2020 Election, plain and simple!"
Poll: Biden was leading by 5.8% on May 24
Video (starting at 2:02) July 30, 2020: "I don't want to see a crooked election. This will be the most rigged election in history if [mail in voting] happens."
Poll: Biden was leading by 8.3% on July 30
Video and The Hill article: August 17, 2020: ". . . the only way we're going to lose the election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. It's the only way we're going to lose this election. . . . The only way they're going to win is that way, and we can't let that happen."
Poll: Biden was leading by 8.4% on August 17
Politico article: August 24, 2020: "The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election."
Poll: Biden was leading by 9.3% on August 24
Tweet by NBC Correspondent, Vaughn Hillyard, see also the next video: September 12, 2020: “It’s a rigged election. It’s the only way we’re going to lose.”
Poll: Biden was leading Trump by 7.6% on Sept. 12.
Politico article: September 13, 2020: “The Democrats are trying to rig this election because that’s the only way they’re going to win.”
Poll: Biden was leading Trump by 7.3% on Sept. 13.
Tweet by Matthew Gertz with a video from Fox & Friends: September 15, 2020: “I’m winning that state easily but the one thing they can’t beat, if they cheat on the ballots. Now he [the Democratic Governor of Nevada] will cheat on the ballots, I have no doubt about it.” (See 5:10 - 7:53 of the following video).
Poll: Biden was leading Trump by 7.0% on Sept. 15.
Newsweek article with embedded videos: September 25, 2020: We're going to win. We're not going to lose this except if they cheat that's the way I look at it. We can't let them cheat. . . . Our country is at stake and it's true. . . . Because these people will destroy our country. We can't let this happen and this is a scam. They know it. The media knows it, but the media doesn't want to cover it. They know exactly what's going to happen, and so do I. But the Democrats know better than all of us what's going to happen. . . . it's very hard to watch, millions of ballots, very hard to watch. That's the only way we're going to lose is if there's mischief. Mischief and it'll have to be on a big scale."
Poll: Biden was leading Trump by 7.2% on Sept. 25.
Now, if you haven't already done so, take a look at the graph on FiveThirtyEight illustrating Biden's and Trump's relative positions in the polls between March 2020 and the election. Something should jump out at you. Biden was ALWAYS in the lead. His lead ranged from 3.4% in March to over 10% in October. Clearly the polls were wrong--they overestimated Biden's lead. And maybe Trump knew that, either through internal polling or through his gut instinct. It would have been hard to fault Trump had he said, "I don't think the polls are right. The race will be a lot closer than the polls indicate. In fact, I think we are going to win."
Most people would have doubted this claim, but it was within the realm of possibility. However, that is not what Trump said. Trump supposedly looked at this data and said that the ONLY way Biden could have won was if he cheated. This might have been a reasonable thing for Joe Biden to have said about Donald Trump, given Biden's consistent lead. But it was an insane claim for someone who was consistently behind to make BEFORE the election without strong evidence.
But who knows? Maybe Trump had some inside information that Biden was going to cheat that wasn't apparent to the rest of us.
The Democrats-are-cheating/Stop-the-Steal movement actually started before May 2020. It started WAAAAAY before May 2020. And it didn't start against the Democrats.
Donald Trump tweeted the following on Feb. 3, 2016, after he lost the 2016 Iowa caucus to Ted Cruz:
Roger Stone had set up a website called Stopthesteal.org for Donald Trump in March 2016. That's not a typo. And fortunately, the internet Archive made snapshots of this website starting in March 2016. The first posting on March 10, 2016 was a fundraising campaign based on the premise that Trump was investigating over 600 votes that had been cast for Trump but tallied for Marco Rubio in Texas. The Trump Ballot Security Project supposedly found hundreds of more questionable ballots around the nation, including double voting by supporters of Ted Cruz.
But Trump did more than just insinuate that Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz was trying to steal the Republican nomination from him. He flat out accused Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell of being in a conspiracy to steal the nomination away from him. Here is an excerpt from the July 9th post.
The Big Steal from Donald J. Trump is on- and only you can stop it.
The Bush-Cruz-Kasich-Romney-Ryan-McConnell faction has united and is moving into high gear to steal the nomination from Trump. The immediate plan is an all-out bid to deprive Donald Trump of victory – and to steal the delegates to defeat him. We have seen the will of the voters who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump thwarted by Republican Party bosses in Louisiana, Colorado, Arizona, and now in Indiana where party leaders are stacking the delegation with anti-Trump hacks even before the voters in that state have voted. But that is only part one of the BIG STEAL.
Even if Donald Trump secures 1237 commitments on the first ballot, the anti-Trump forces are stealing a majority on questions of rules and Credentials. By placing anti-Trump Republicans in the Trump delegate seats (so called Trojan Horse delegates) they plan a rules change that will unbind the delegates. Because they have stacked the Trump delegate seats with ringers, this crucial vote comes before the first ballot for President. If passed the Trump delegates will no longer be bound by party rules to vote for Trump. Anti-Trump quislings are being planted in various delegations that will be free to betray Trump, regardless of the will of the voters. This is the BIG STEAL.
Of course, after Trump won the Republican primaries, the Stopthesteal website turned its attention to Hillary Clinton. Here, for example, is an excerpt from their October 28 post.
Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are going to steal the next election. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” he told a campaign rally last week.
The issue is both voter-fraud and election theft through manipulation of the computerized voting machines. The truth is both parties have used these DIEBOLD/ PES voting machines to rig results of elections at the state and federal election. The party in power in a given state controls the programming of the voting machines. . . .
We now know, thanks to the hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee that the Clintons had to cheat and rig the system to steal the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders. Why wouldn’t they try to steal the election from Donald Trump?
If this election is close, THEY WILL STEAL IT.
The Washington Post even ran an editorial saying it was “impossible” to steal an election. Then, incredibly, Barrack Obama called Donald Trump’s concerns about a rigged election “ridiculous.”
Plus they intend to flood the polls with illegals. Liberal enclaves already let illegals vote in their local and state elections and now they want them to vote in the Presidential election.
It is clear the Stop-the-Steal movement isn't a grassroots movement that developed as a response to Biden stealing the election. Accusing his opponents of stealing the election is Trump's modus operandi. He used it as a pre-emptive excuse against the Republicans in 2016 so he could blame THEM if he lost Republican primary. And he used it pre-emptively against Hillary Clinton so that he could blame her and the evil Democrats if he lost the general election in 2016. And you can bet his cries of "ELECTION FRAUD! ELECTION FRAUD!" would have been deafening had he lost in 2016.
Why is Trump so quick to blame everyone but himself for his losses? Mary L. Trump has a PhD in clinical psychology from the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies. She is also Donald Trump's niece. She has met him. She has dealt with him in person. That means she isn't just an armchair psychologist speculating about him from a distance. Here is what she said when she was asked, "Do you believe that President Trump really believes he won this and is being cheated out of something, or is something else going on?"
It’s a great question, and it’s pretty complicated. Because on the one hand, it is impossible for Donald to believe that he lost. He’s lost before in his life, but he’s never had to be in a situation in which he can’t somehow turn that loss into a win, either through cheating or buying his way out of a jam, or using someone else’s connections and power. There’s literally nothing he can do about this, so it’s sort of unfathomable, because in my family, losing was literally the worst thing you can do. So it’s putting enormous amounts of pressure on him. So on the one hand he can’t admit it to himself because that would suggest that there’s no way for him to get out of this mess. So he’s going to continue to undermine people’s faith in our government and our institutions And again, it’s just another 48 days he has to keep taking a wrecking ball to the United States government.
Donald Trump cannot psychologically deal with a loss. He was always going to blame someone else for any loss he suffered. He was going to say the election was rigged no matter who he lost to and no matter how fair the election was. And in 2020 he had an incentive to blame his loss on the system being rigged that he didn't have in 2016. He now knew that he was facing multiple lawsuits and possible jailtime for crimes committed before and during his presidency. The only way out of his legal predicament would be to prevent Biden from becoming the president. And that is why he inspired, if not orchestrated the insurrection.