By Tom Ozimek
President Joe Biden said in a recent speech that, in some cases, the results of the upcoming midterm election won’t be known for several days, with his remarks recalling the controversy of the 2020 presidential election when then President Donald Trump claimed that the lack of final results on election night could be a sign of something nefarious.
Biden made the remarks during a Democratic National Committee event at Union Station in Washington on Nov. 2, in which he claimed that some Republicans were preparing to question the results of the upcoming election.
“Extreme MAGA Republicans aim to question not only the legitimacy of past elections, but elections being held now and into the future,” Biden said.
Trump, along with a number of Republicans, have alleged that the 2020 election was “rigged and stolen.”
In a 12-page statement issued in June (pdf), Trump recapped some key arguments for why he believes this was the case.
Blaming politicians from both parties “but mostly the Democrats,” Trump alleged state laws were broken in a bid “to strip Americans of our right to elect our own leaders.”
“They illegally inflated voter rolls, illegally allowed harvested and stuffed ballots, abused the use of mail-in ballots, physically removed Republicans from counting facilities, abused the elderly in nursing homes, bribed election officials with donations, stopped counting on Election Night, gave Democrats three extra days to harvest ballots, and demanded that the American people believe it was legitimate,” Trump said in the statement.
Trump has been unsuccessful in proving his election claims in court, however, as state and federal judges dismissed over 50 lawsuits brought forth by the former president and his allies challenging the 2020 election results.
While many of the post-election lawsuits were thrown out for jurisdictional or procedural reasons, several judges noted that allegations of fraud lacked proof.
A group of conservatives, including some longtime Trump critics, issued a 72-page report in July (pdf) arguing that Trump’s claims of a stolen election were not supported by evidence.
“There is absolutely no evidence of fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election on the magnitude necessary to shift the result in any state, let alone the nation as a whole. In fact, there was no fraud that changed the outcome in even a single precinct,” the report states.
‘Stranglehold on Power’
Still, one of the arguments put forward by Trump and some Republicans is that perceived delays in knowing election results are cause for suspicion.
“The Swamp was so determined to keep their stranglehold on power that they delayed the results of the Election so that they could find, manufacture, or produce more ballots, after they knew how many they needed to beat me,” Trump said in his July statement.
Biden, by contrast, has insisted delays in counting ballots are normal.
In his speech at Union Station, the president said that there’s a growing number of ballots cast in early voting or by mail in the United States and that many states don’t start counting those ballots until polls close on Nov. 8.
“That means, in some cases, we won’t know the winner of the election for a few days—until after a few days after the election. It takes time to count all legitimate ballots in a legal and orderly manner,” Biden said.
“It’s always been important for citizens in a democracy to be informed and engaged. Now it’s important for citizens to be patient as well. That’s how this is supposed to work,” he added.
Biden also said that there are candidates running for office who won’t commit to accepting the results, calling this “the path to chaos in America.”
“It’s unprecedented, it’s unlawful, and it’s un-American,” Biden said. “As I’ve said before, you can’t love your country only when you win.”
Biden’s remarks about “extreme MAGA Republicans” preparing to question the results of the midterm election were met with sharp criticism by the GOP.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to Twitter to allege Biden was trying to deflect from issues of concern to voters.
“President Biden is desperate to change the subject from inflation, crime, and open borders. Now he’s claiming that democracy only works if his party wins,” McConnell wrote on Twitter. “What nonsense.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called Biden’s remarks divisive.
“President Biden is trying to divide and deflect at a time when America needs to unite—because he can’t talk about his policies that have driven up the cost of living,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter. “The American people aren’t buying it.”