Report: Trump plans to declare victory if it looks like he is ‘ahead’ on election night

President Donald Trump arrives at his campaign rally at Opa-Locka Executive Airport, late Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Opa-Locka, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
President Donald Trump arrives at his campaign rally at Opa-Locka Executive Airport, late Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Opa-Locka, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Axios sources have reported that President Trump told confidants he will declare victory if it looks like he is ahead on election night.

However, on Sunday evening the President denied that he would make such a declaration prematurely, saying: “I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election. I think it’s a terrible thing when states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over.”

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan explained Trump’s alleged plans, according to Swan’s sources, in an interview with MSNBC:

“President Trump has told confidants that he would declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he is ‘ahead,’ and this is even if the electoral outcome still hinges on large numbers, potentially millions of uncounted votes in key states like Pennsylvania,” said Swan. “So, to be clear, this would be a false declaration, a false claim, that mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3 -- which is a legitimate count expected to favor Democrats -- the Trump campaign is going to try to portray that as evidence of election fraud. Trump has actually talked through this scenario privately in some detail in the last few weeks, including describing plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he’s won.”

Axios also reported that Trump advisers are “more optimistic about winning than they were three weeks ago.” Read the report here.

In Pennsylvania, a key battleground state in this election, more than 2.2 million voters cast early ballots. The state doesn’t process or count them until Election Day. Officials in Pennsylvania have said they hope to have all votes counted by Friday, Nov. 6.

In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is expecting General Election results to be delayed for multiple days.

Related: Gov. Whitmer ‘confident’ Joe Biden will win over Michigan in presidential election

Election resources:

Election 2020: How WDIV/ClickOnDetroit reports election results

There has been much talk about election results and how they will be reported this year, given the massive increase in mail-in ballots around the country.

Clerks around the U.S. have said that results will take longer to fully report due to the time it takes to count mail ballots, many of which cannot even be opened until polls close in any specific state. And it makes sense -- it takes much more time to tabulate mail ballots.

I figured it would be helpful to explain how we report election results, even in a weird year with more variables than a normal election.

How it works

There are two main ways we get results reported to you. One, for the uber-local races, like city council or local proposals, we collect the results from local clerk offices, and manually input and update that data. We have an entire team of people dedicated to this. They work overnight and into the morning, updating races from across the area.

Another way is through our partnership with The Associated Press. The AP has been a main source of election results for news agencies around the U.S. for decades. The AP’s sprawling election night operation compiles the vote from across the United States, as it has since 1848. For us, the AP will likely make calls on who wins Michigan in the presidential race, the U.S. Senate race, and our 14 Congressional races.

Read more here.

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.