Lest there was any doubt, we now know for sure that Trump fully understood that the coronavirus was deadly and that it was spread by inhaled droplets as early as February. Despite that, he made an intentional choice to downplay the risks, effectively preventing the country from taking the drastic measures that could have saved tens of thousands of lives. Not only did he not act to save lives, he directly caused deaths by holding public events without social distancing or mask-wearing, and worse, by shaming those who made intelligent choices to help lessen the spread of the virus.

If Trump was willing to let thousands of Americans die to help his odds of re-election, we know that he will stop at nothing to try to manipulate the reporting of election results to try to stay in office.

Just 52 days away from the election, we need to focus on the chaos and doubt Trump will try to sow in the time between the polls close and the final votes are counted. He may go so far as to actively fight the election results. This is particularly important because, in response to the pandemic, an extraordinary number of ballots will be cast by mail. Because Trump is actively discouraging his base from voting by mail (even though voter fraud is pretty much a myth and mail-in voting normally gives neither party an advantage), we expect that a disproportionate share of the votes cast through absentee ballots will be for Joe Biden and down-ballot Democrats.

Here’s the rub: if R’s vote in person and D’s vote by mail, it is entirely possible that Trump will be in the lead when we go to bed on November 3rd, even if Biden later turns out to win by a landslide. Take a look at this GIF from Axios:

(Credit: Axios)

Forewarned is forearmed. We need to be talking about this, expecting this, and doing everything we can to get our friends and neighbors comfortable with the concept that final election results will take time, but they will be fair and accurate.