- The messaging from the Trump vs Biden campaigns briefly sounded similar on one point over the weekend, when former Vice President Joe Biden made a campaign stop in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
- Appearing to cast doubt on the outcome of the election, Biden warned of potential “chicanery going on relative to polling places.”
- It’s a message that echoed President Trump’s frequent warning, that “The only way we’re going to lose is if there’s mischief.”
At a presidential campaign stop in Pennsylvania over the weekend, the candidate slipped a dire-sounding warning into his stump speech, cautioning people to be aware about potential mischief at polling stations around the country. It almost sounded, in fact, like he was casting doubt on the outcome of the coming election, even while he was also urging people to “make sure you vote. Because the only way we lose this is by the chicanery going on relative to polling places.”
The candidate offering that message was former Vice President Joe Biden, who had to clean up the comments a bit to reporters afterward, stressing to them that: “I’m going to accept the outcome of this election, period.” Still, his warning was a rare instance of uniform messaging spanning the Trump vs Biden camps, echoing the illegitimacy that President Trump has long claimed will dominate Election Day 2020 — the outcome of which doesn’t appear to be leaning in the incumbent’s favor right now.
Trump is losing to Biden in almost every US and battleground state poll at this point, and oddsmakers give Trump a slim (but not zero) chance of winning the race. Seeding the ground early with attempts to explain a defeat in November, Trump has pointed most insistently to mail-in ballots being, he claims, too susceptible to fraud — mail-in voting being particularly of-interest this year, at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is still raging and no one wants to be standing around a lot of people in line at a polling station for too long.
Biden’s initial comment about “chicanery” closely mirrored one from Trump himself last month, when the president declared: “The only way we’re going to lose is if there’s mischief.”
What’s more, this wasn’t the first time Biden has made remarks similar to this, even though he stressed afterward this weekend that he will accept the results of the election and that he hopes his win would be large enough that the outcome couldn’t be contested.
Trump: “The only way we’re going to lose is if there’s mischief.”
Biden: “The only way we lose this is by the chicanery going on relative to polling places.”
Similarly, Biden had warned again of possible “chicanery” at the polls during a fundraiser earlier this summer, adding that his campaign has amassed an army of lawyers and put them on standby, ready to fight any perceived election-related trouble. Last month, meanwhile, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. released a video on social media calling for “able-bodied” people to add their support to an “army for Trump’s election security.”
Stark language in Don Jr.’s new “defend your ballot” ad: “We need every able-bodied man and woman to join Army for Trump’s election security operation…we need you to help us watch them” pic.twitter.com/qJwaQApptr
— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) September 25, 2020
Biden’s appearance and speech in Erie, Pennsylvania, this weekend coincided with the ruling from a district judge there that tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit over the swing state’s vote-by-mail apparatus, in addition to a state law that poll watchers have to live in the county where they’re assigned to a poll.
Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.