As Trump Cries ‘Voter Fraud,’ GOP Insiders ‘Accept’ Potential Defeat
Anyone who’s not “on payroll” has accepted that Joe Biden is on track to win, Republican strategists told me.
As President Donald Trump declares that he should “easily win” the 2020 election, Republican strategists outside the president’s orbit say they have accepted that the opposite seems increasingly likely.
Multiple Republican strategists told me Thursday night that they and others in their circles have accepted that Trump is on track to lose to former Vice President Joe Biden, given the way the numbers are trending in remaining battleground states.
Only “people on payroll” for Trump still think the president will win re-election, said an Arizona-based GOP strategist who requested anonymity to speak openly. “Most people have come into acceptance” that the outstanding ballots are largely going to Biden, the person said.
Another Republican strategist, in Washington, D.C., told me in a Twitter message late Thursday, “Most GOP observers who truly understand these states have known since Tuesday night this would eventually be the likely outcome.”
Even as Biden’s lead has narrowed in Arizona, a state the Associated Press already called for Biden, the Arizona-based strategist said Trump still does not have the numbers there he needs.
“I don’t think tonight in Maricopa was terribly good for him,” the strategist said on Thursday, though “the rurals that came in, those came in right about where Trump needs them. Trump had a very good day in Pima County and Coconino.”
The person added, “The math starts to get really hard for him. He’s going to make it close, but right now I don’t see it.”
The same strategist blamed Trump’s Arizona numbers on the president’s clashes with the late Senator John McCain. “There is and was real loyalty to John McCain here,” the person said. “I’ll never understand why the president did what he did” to alienate McCain supporters.
GOP alumni of previous presidents are divided on Trump. A third Republican insider, who is a Bush 43 alumnus, told me in an Instagram message on Friday, “My GOP circles are all torn apart…. I watch epic [Facebook] battles daily.”
As of Friday evening, Biden led Trump by small margins in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Trump remained in the lead in North Carolina and Alaska. (The latter is not a battleground state, but the AP has not yet called it.)
Pennsylvania and Georgia indicated on Friday that they were finishing counting ballots. Pennsylvania accepted mail-in ballots until Friday evening, thanks to a recent Supreme Court order, and the state said Friday afternoon it had just more than 4 percent left to count, around 112,000. Georgia said Friday evening it had some 22,600 military, overseas, and provision ballots left.