Jason Miller, a senior adviser for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, appeared to lay out part of the strategy to win the election by suggesting there will be a legal battle to throw out mail-in ballots and make sure nothing is counted after Election Day. As far as Miller is concerned, counting ballots after Nov. 3 amounts to Democratic efforts to “steal … back” the election.
Appearing on ABC News’ This Week, Miller predicted Trump will win more than 290 electoral votes. He went on to note that “many smart Democrats … believe that President Trump will be ahead on election night.” Then Democrats are “going to try to steal it back after the election,” he added. “We believe we’ll be over 290 electoral votes on election night. So no matter what they try to do, no matter what kind of hijinks or nonsense they try to pull off, we’ll still have enough electoral votes to get President Trump reelected.”
The claim is in line with what Trump himself has been saying, claiming that only votes counted until the night of the election should count. “The Election should end on November 3rd., not weeks later!” Trump tweeted on Friday. The problem with those efforts is that U.S. elections have never worked that way. News organizations project winners based on the partial counts but states never report final results on election night, and there is no legal requirement to do so. Electoral votes aren’t actually awarded until December.
Many were quick to criticize Miller for his phrasing, including members of his own party. Spencer Cox, the lieutenant governor of Utah who is the Republican candidate for governor of the state said that everyone should “ignore” comments like those espoused by Miller. “It really doesn’t matter who is ahead on election night, it only matters when every eligible vote is counted and each county canvasses and certifies the vote totals,” he wrote.
Some said Miller’s words should be seen as evidence that the Trump campaign isn’t exactly confident it’s going to win the election. “This is not something a campaign says if it thinks it has much chance of winning legitimately,” FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver wrote.