Six days after the Associated Press called the presidential race in favor of Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has yet to even publicly hint at possible defeat.
Richard Hasen told Texas Standard this is not surprising, both because Trump is “anything but normal when it comes to the ways in which he has exercised his power,” and also because the Republican Party has long been sowing mistrust in the voting system.
Hasen is chancellor’s professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine. He’s also the author of “Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy.”
“I don’t think that we can say that this is all because of Trump personally,” Hasen said. “We know that for years there has been a drumbeat of claims of voter fraud in American elections, despite the fact that they are not rife with voter fraud.”
Hasen says this effort is now being shifted toward delegitimizing the presidency of Joe Biden before it even begins.
“And it might be that the president is just doing this to save face or for his ego,” Hasen said. “But there are enough supporters of President Trump who have been hearing this drumbeat about Democrats committing voter fraud for so long, I think they’re inclined to believe it.”
While Hasen says he doesn’t believe the presidency of Joe Biden is actually at real risk, he says the current actions of the Trump administration could make Biden underprepared when he resumes office. But there could also be another consequence:
“I do think that there is a kind of deterioration of norms and respect for legitimacy of the electoral process and the democratic process that’s going on right now,” Hasen said. “That’s going to have ramifications far beyond this particular election.”