Trump’s Post-Election Grifting Tactics Posed a Threat to Democracy

Trump’s Post-Election Grifting Tactics Posed a Threat to Democracy

Sarah Siciliano, Staff Writer

As votes continued to pour in and solidify Biden’s projection to take office as the next president of the United States, Trump resorted to an extreme misleading of the public by making baseless claims of electoral fraud.

In a historic neck-and-neck race between presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, conspiracy theories circled around, causing some people to question the integrity of the election. After Americans waited anxiously for several days to hear the final projection of the election, the question of whether or not Trump was cheated out of winning the race spiraled out of control. As proven in other instances, Trump jumped to blame his loss on the Democrats conspiring against him–and the mail-in ballots were fraudulent. 

Though there was no evidence to support his claims that the Democrats committed voter fraud or that the ballots were counted wrong, President Trump took to social media to claim his role as president was unfairly taken from him. Perhaps Republicans were quick to call voter fraud because all eyes were on this election; since people were hyper-focused on the results being processed in a historic neck-and-neck race, any minor “suspicious” activity was immediately an argument that Trump supporters could use to further their claim. These claims of electoral fraud, though completely baseless, have actually had a pretty significant impact on conservatives: 70% of Republicans don’t believe that the election was free or fair. The reality is that votes for Biden were increasing in previously red states because of mail-in votes, something Trump urged his supporters not to take part in (so obviously he wasn’t getting as many mail-in votes). 

Trump’s team stated non-stop messaging those on his mailing list pleading for, or rather demanding, donations. Calls to action included “this is your FINAL NOTICE… you’ve ignored team Trump, Eric, Lara, Don, the vice president, AND you’ve even ignored the President of the United States.” By claiming that X amount of money could put the president back in office for a second term, Trump’s tactics were beginning to sound like a coup staged by the GOP, though the prospect of such a thing being successful was very slim.

These emails were a tactic similar to those used at the beginning of the election when Florida and Alaska voters on Trump’s mailing list received the threatening message stating, “Vote for Trump or else!” U.S. officials claim these messages were made by “Iranian influence specialists.” Regardless of who was responsible for the messages, it certainly drove voters away from voting for Trump. Meanwhile, the caveat of Trump’s grifting tactics is what’s stated by the fine print on his fundraising emails: the money donated by supporters would pay for campaign debt, not entirely his election lawsuits.

According to Reuters, “Any small-dollar donations from Trump’s grassroots donors won’t be going to legal expenses at all,” and “a donor would have to give more than $8,000 before any money goes to the ‘recount account’ established to finance election challenges, including recounts and lawsuits over alleged improprieties.” This extreme effort to mislead the public, coupled with Trump’s hesitancy to confirm a peaceful transfer of power and refusal to accept his loss, left the public concerned as to how smooth the transition of power would be on January 20th. These concerns were validated on Wednesday, January 6th.