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Trump's master plan to "stop the count" is just a pointless tantrum

President Trump has made little secret of his plans to manipulate the 2020 election results in his favor through legal machinations, voter suppression efforts, and overt lies meant to cast doubt on the electoral process as a whole. If this sounds like a complex series of highly nuanced political maneuvers orchestrated by a keen strategic tactician, then, well, prepare to be disappointed.

No matter what lawsuits Republicans file to disrupt the vote-counting effort in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania — lawsuits the Biden camp has brushed off as being "laughably without merit" — the president himself has essentially reduced his entire election-stealing effort to a bite-sized slogan that is as stupid as it is counterproductive.

Reader, I give you Donald Trump's super-genius masterplan:

Boom. Brilliant. Bravo Mr. President, sir!

While the president didn't specify the "count" to which he was referring (a quick glance at Twitter suggests the possible contenders are Von Count, Dracula, or Dooku) there are, in fact, a number of states currently still in the midst of counting votes. Many of the votes yet to be counted are mail-in ballots, which are often counted well after Election Day even in normal times; in this pandemic-year election, the glut of votes submitted by mail has extended the counts even further.

Of course, there's also Republican trickery at play here, even as Republicans complain about how long the count is taking. Consider that in Pennsylvania — essentially the make-or-break state for the Trump campaign — mail-in ballots are only being counted now, as opposed to when they arrived, because Republican lawmakers blocked efforts to begin counting already-received mail-in ballots and instead mandated that they could only be checked after polls closed Tuesday night.

Of course, like Michael Scott shouting "bankruptcy!!", the president's anti-math missive doesn't actually mean anything. Unlike the dictatorial powers he clearly wishes he possessed, Trump can't simply declare who gets to count what and when. That's up to individual states, which are continuing their tabulations at a (mostly) steady, if agonizingly slow, pace. And his gambit is all the more farcical when you consider that while he's demanding poll workers stop counting ballots in places where Joe Biden's lead seems increasingly solid, he's urging that every single solitary vote be tabulated in Arizona, a state several outlets called for Biden days ago but which the Trump campaign believes is still in play.

Instead, think of the president's latest Twitter tantrum as yet another wink and a nod to his hoards of MAGA-addled cultists, who have already attempted laughably stupid shenanigans in Michigan and Arizona. The goal isn't to actually stop vote-counting — at least, not in and of itself. The president is simply trying to muddy the electoral waters and rile up his base to the point that anything less than a total Trump victory — an increasingly unlikely outcome, no matter what his campaign insists — will simply be seen by nearly half the country as illegitimate. He's not trying to lead, or even win. He's just a chaos agent doing everything he can to muck as much up as possible on his way out the door.

By all indications, Trump is in the end stages of losing the 2020 election to Biden — an outcome that, GOP fuckery notwithstanding, seems inevitable as we await vote tabulation in places like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada. How, when, and ultimately, if Trump accepts his likely defeat, remains to be seen.