In a truth that may be belied by the hyper-anxiety of online Democrats, things are not looking so good for President Donald Trump in the last week of the campaign.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is sustaining his polling leads in both national and battleground states, and there are fewer undecided voters this time around to recreate the last minute 2016 swing that gave Trump the electoral college. The last presidential debate, Trump’s best chance to change the narrative in front of a large audience, didn’t seem to move the needle. And millions and millions of people have already voted, decreasing the chances that some wild development could alter the calculus that’s held steady for months.
But none of that is true in Trump’s fact-optional world.
In the days leading up the election, Trump has curated an alternate reality on his Twitter feed where he’s winning. Any fact to the contrary is fake, a vicious lie disseminated by [insert the media, Democrats, or any of Trump’s various political enemies here].
Over the past two days, Trump has been avidly tweeting that we are just about to “turn the corner” on COVID-19, and that media chumps are the only ones fixated on the “topic.”
“Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST,” he tweeted. “A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!”
“ALL THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IS COVID, COVID, COVID,” he added. “ON NOVEMBER 4th, YOU WON’T BE HEARING SO MUCH ABOUT IT ANYMORE. WE ARE ROUNDING THE TURN!!!”
In Trump’s alternate universe, the COVID-19 pandemic is a quickly passing, mild inconvenience that real people don’t care about. It has nothing to do with the top two issues — the economy and health care — voters are worried about; it’s a media “conspiracy” to make Trump look bad. And he doesn’t have to actually do anything about it if it’s about to go away on its own anyway.
Incontrovertible truths, like that Democrats are, at the moment, dominating the early vote numbers, are trickier — but still moldable. In Trump’s world, that avalanche of blue ballots is temporarily and easily dispensed with. People just need to change them!
“Strongly Trending (Google) since immediately after the second debate is CAN I CHANGE MY VOTE?” he wrote. “This refers changing it to me. The answer in most states is YES. Go do it. Most important Election of your life!”
In reality, only seven states let you change your vote, and it’s often accompanied by burdensome requirements; for instance, in Pennsylvania, a voter has to show up to change it in person.
Faced with unfriendly polls, Trump cherrypicks the outliers: namely, Trafalgar and Rasmussen, both of which reliably produce more GOP-friendly results than the rest of the field. “Real Polls have us winning everywhere!” he tweeted.
When rejected by the editorial board of the nation’s top newspapers, he homes in on the conservative-leaning oddballs that have given him the nod: the Washington Times, New York Post and their ilk. Trump claims to hate the media, but craves its embrace. In Trumpworld, he has it.
The throughline of Trump’s alternate world is an ardent wish for a return to 2016, the good old days when Trump’s grievance-y, outsider ethos was fresh and unburdened by the pesky reality that he is currently in charge. In Trump’s land of imagination, he’s still that bright-eyed newcomer, headed for an upset and promising to give America a heaping dose of law and order.
“New York, California, Illinois. People are FLEEING, Taxes and Crime are going through the roof,” he tweeted. “VOTE TRUMP, I will turn it around, and FAST!”