President Donald Trump’s legal claims about election fraud may seem like a joke, but they’re working.
The lawsuits and legal challenges have offered a startling lack of specifics, and even Trump’s own lawyers admit they lack evidence, but that vagueness actually makes them more successful in the court of public opinion, reported Politico.
“The shocking lack of specifics, which Trump’s critics mock as laughably unserious for something so consequential, is not a deficiency,” wrote staff writer Michael Kruse. “It is the feature of his strategy.”
Trump isn’t likely to remain in the White House past Jan. 20, no matter what he says, and he’s almost certainly not going to win his legal challenges to the election results.
“He’s doing it, say political strategists, longtime Trump watchers and experts on authoritarian tactics, to sow doubt, save face and strengthen even in defeat his lifeblood of a bond with his political base,” Kruse wrote.
That strategy seems to be working, according to polls that show seven in 10 Republicans believe the election was stolen from Trump.
“It’s not about the vote-counting,” said Republican strategist Rory Cooper, a former adviser to Eric Cantor when he was the House Majority Leader. “His entire persona is built on the idea of winning despite his decades of not winning. He’s constantly creating a legend, frankly, about himself rather than a truthful narrative, so I’m not surprised that he’s going to use this to convince his supporters that the election was unfair and that he remains the leader of the Republican opposition.”
Trump has a mountain of debt to pay off once he leaves office, and Cooper said his attacks on democracy are intended to build up his earning power as ex-president.
“He’s going to have to take care of financial issues once he’s out of office, and he’s going to make a lot of money,” Cooper said. “He’s going to make a lot of money on books. He’s going to make a lot of money on speeches. He’s going to be able to hold rallies and charge for them. Putting everything from the Southern District of New York aside, and what could happen to him in Manhattan, just on the sheer financial side of it, the martyring of Trump — martyring himself — is good for business.”