Trump does not really believe he won the election; he knows he legitimately lost. So why is he so fervently fighting the loss?
To put it in simple terms: He doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life known as a loser. To Trump, being a loser is the worst thing you could possibly be. Yet he lost the popular vote in 2016—and again in 2020. That’s a two-time loser, his worst nightmare. And both times, he said he was cheated. Even after the 2016 election, he said he received more votes than Clinton because millions of votes for Clinton were illegal votes.
We need a little background to understand his actions.
Trump planned for years what he was going to do if he lost the 2020 election. He made plans so that no matter what happens in the election, it will be looked upon by his followers—and himself— that he won. If he had won, he would have claimed that all his talk of illegal votes is what caused the election to be fair and legitimate. If he had lost, he would have claimed that the election was illegal, and he really won—which is exactly what he did.
Laying Out the Groundwork in Case He Loses the Election
Trump is a con man—and what all con men do is they always lay out the groundwork ahead of time for their con, so that they will be believed when the time comes. In other words, he created a “win-win” situation for himself. And Trump knows he has to portray himself as though he sincerely believes he won the election.
He laid out this groundwork for at least four years. You could say it started right after his election in 2016 when he claimed that he won the popular vote, which Clinton won by more than three million votes. Trump’s claim was that the voting was fraudulent and that millions illegally voted for Clinton—and that he actually won by several million. He never backed off this claim. He promoted this theme for the next four years, increasing his claims of illegal voting right up to the 2020 election. His main motivation? He didn’t want to live the rest of his life being labeled a loser.
Insurance So It Looks Like He Won the Election
The entire scheme was insurance. Insurance that if he lost, he could make the claim that he won, and his “True-Believer” followers—the 5th Avenue voters—would believe whatever he says without question. How better to ensure that your followers will continue to support you—and do so for the rest of your life? Plus, you can claim—for the rest of your life—that you actually won because your followers will believe there was cheating in the counting, that there were voting machines that were rigged and, on top of that, there were millions of illegal voters—all of which voted for Clinton.
In other words, Trump was setting the stage that no matter what happened, he wins the election—regardless of whether he legally and formally no longer holds the office. Since the results came in from the 2020 election, he has been stalling, working behind the scenes to bolster up this claim that he really one. He’d been working on the plan for the last few years. All he had to do was continue to make his false claims.
Trump Insults His Followers — the Fifth-Avenue Voter
Trump doesn’t like to govern. He leaves that to others around him. As president, he did what he always does: he talks (and that includes “talking” on Twitter). He believes he can talk his way into or out of any situation. He seeks power and if he can’t have it the way he wants it—which he couldn’t get as President because of the limitations of the office—he’ll take it in another way: By having a following of die-hard, cult-like followers who will support him no matter what he says and does. He called them out in January 2016, in Sioux Center, Iowa. Trump then stated, “You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.” The audience laughed, even though he had just insulted them by suggesting that they are blind, unthinking sheep who will follow him no matter what. They didn’t care—and they knew it was true, anyway. Essentially, he was right; His followers to this day have followed him—like blind, unthinking sheep who will follow him no matter what—the “fifth-avenue voters.”
After the Election Trump fervently Continued the Claim That he Won the Election — Why?
Trump knew, if people were to believe his claim, that he must continue after the election to fight to the end that he actually won. Otherwise, his supporters would never believe he really believed it. If he were to just accept his loss and move on, it would be like admitting he was wrong all along. After all, if there really was cheating in the election to elect the President of the United States, and the person who lost actually won, that would be the crime of the century. The loser would have to fight to the end to prove his credibility. And that’s exactly what Trump did—and continues to do. He will make this claim as long as he is alive. Does anyone really believe that he will ever call himself a loser? And what has he got to lose by promoting this lie forever? He has his 5th-Avenue voters who believe whatever he says. And the thing is, his strategy has worked. People fell for the con. They all drank the Kool-Aid and will be his supporters—even if it kills them—until they day they die.
What Trump Really Likes
He likes to be at the head of a crowd that adores him and cheers him on as the greatest leader and solver of all problems; “only he can fix it.” He loves an adoring crowd more than anything—more than being President. I don’t believe he likes being President as much as he likes being able to draw a crowd that adores him. It’s really no work. Being President requires work. When he goes before a crowd, he never really says anything of substance. When he is on the stage, he just claps his hands for himself, talks about how popular he is and criticizes others. When he reads a teleprompter—the closest thing to him making a speech—it’s obvious it was written by someone else. If he runs for President again, it will not be serious, it will be a façade. He’ll do it to promote himself and his following. He’ll make it look like he is running, so that the crowd will get excited. He might use the excuse that it’s rigged, and that he won’t run under those conditions.*
He’ll hold rallies and make speeches, clapping for himself when he has nothing to say to his adoring followers. And Trump will continue to claim he won the 2020 election and that he is really the legitimate president. He’ll claim he won until his last breath. With such fervent dedication, Trump will continue to lead people to believe that he won the election.
One thing is for certain: He will not, under any circumstance, take the chance that he might lose another election, which means he will not really run. He’ll pretend he’s running.
And the fifth-avenue voters will continue to give him money to pay for it all—and enough to put lots of money in his pocket.
* UPDATE (August 30, 2022): Facing a threat of an indictment—and possible conviction—for stealing classified documents that belong to the people (or at the least, conviction for obstruction of justice), Trump could find an opportunity to possibly blame a conviction on his inability to run for President in 2024, because if he is convicted, he will not be allowed to run. And I believe he will not run under any circumstance. He will pretend to run and then either never announce it officially or withdraw for some made-up reason. But he will not take the chance of being a loser for the third time—and his main goal is still the same: he does not want to spend the rest of his life known as a loser.
He could get a conviction without any jailtime, since others, General Petraeus being a good example, have taken classified documents, were convicted and never faced jail time. Petraeus was convicted of mishandling classified information and was just fined, along with two years probation—after pleading guilty. But Trump might have to plead guilty to stay out of jail, like Petraeus did—and Trump will have a real problem ever admitting guilt.
Trump doesn’t want to be President, he just wants the power he yields over people who follow him blindly. The possibility of him trying to run for President and not being able to because of a legal reason, ie, he’s been convicted, or even just indicted, gives him a great opportunity. It will be a perfect situation for him; he can claim for the rest of his life that he won and was not allowed to run for President because people knew he would win and it’s all a political persecution. If it happens, It’s almost as though he couldn’t have planned it out better.