It appears Donald Trump is trailing Joe Biden in the polls, and this nightmarish administration is finally coming to an end. Although this should be a sign of hope, memories of the 2016 presidential cycle are still fresh. We have been in this situation before. We have looked at polls and believed it was a slam dunk victory. We cannot let that happen again, and our only hope is to have a record voter turnout on Nov. 3.
The president's campaign has repeatedly claimed that universal mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud and undermine the results of the election without any facts to back it up. Trump's repetition of this baseless claim is strategic. The use of mail-in voting is rising during this pandemic, especially in swing states that can determine the election's outcome. Trump’s plan is to delegitimize those mail-in votes and create doubt among the American people. American voters have a strong voice in this election, but the Trump campaign will do whatever it takes to suppress that voice. Furthermore, with the help of Republicans and an overwhelming conservative majority on the Supreme Court, Trump has a really good chance of winning this.
Election Day has the potential to either look like Election Week or Election Month. After all, we are voting during a pandemic. Trump aims to incite confusion and convince Americans that not having the results on Nov. 3 is problematic. It isn't, by the way; there's nothing wrong with it. Analytics show Trump will appear to win on Nov. 3 because Democrats are expected to utilize early and mail-in voting, and absentee ballots take longer to count. This will lead to a scenario known as a "red mirage": Trump appears to be winning, only to lose in the following days as the mail-in votes are all tallied up.
This is where the Supreme Court comes into play.
In what looks like a win for the Democrat party, the Supreme Court allowed Pennsylvania to count ballots after Election Day. This decision due to a 4-4 stalemate in the Court means that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that ballots can be counted even if they arrive three days after the election still stands. However, On Oct. 26, the Court, in a 5–3 ruling, stated that absentee ballots in Wisconsin not received by Election Day would not be counted, even if it isn't the voter's fault. Make no mistake about it — the ruling is supposed to be a setback for the Democratic Party.
Every election, we rely on the courts to label acts of voter suppression as unconstitutional. However, now that the Court participates in that very process, it seems obvious that the Court will side with this administration if the election were to be decided by them. It's one of the significant reasons Amy Coney Barrett quickly became a Supreme Court Justice despite Republican senators previously stating that a president shouldn't get to pick a justice during an election year. It's not enough that Barrett is a severe threat to civil rights, abortion rights and access to healthcare, but now she is in the position to have a vital role in deciding the outcome of the election. If it isn't clear by now, Trump’s plan is to win the election by any means necessary.
The Court ruling on the Wisconsin case is laying the foundations for Trump to win the election. Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated, "states want to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of an election." It is quite astounding that a Supreme Court Justice made this remark because it is a terribly flawed argument. How can you flip a result when all the valid votes have not been counted? Eric Lutz, writer at Vanity Fair, simplifies it as, "a go-ahead shot that goes in at the buzzer or a Hail Mary pass that's caught in the end zone as the clock expires doesn't overturn the results of the game — if the game isn't over, neither team has won yet."
The GOP and Trump's requirement to have a winner on Election Day is even weirder because there's no official ruling that states that has to happen. Results aren't finalized until January due to the electoral votes cast in December. Just like Trump tweeting, "If we didn't test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases," he is hoping the same for the election. He is basically declaring himself winner if you throw out all the votes counted against him. As absurd as that sounds, there's a good chance the Court will support him in this idea.
There will definitely be more instances of voter suppression and intimidation on Election Day, but we should stay strong. Vote for the 236,351 dead Americans unable to vote due to Trump's disastrous response to COVID-19. Vote for a future where science and climate change are taken seriously. Vote for criminal justice reform. Vote for a president that condemns white supremacy. Vote for a country that will no longer be seen as a laughing stock. Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, vote for democracy itself. We are on the brink of becoming an authoritarian nation, and four more years of Trump will solidify us as one. We have barely survived four years of Trump. America will not survive another four.
Ozioma Mgbahurike is an electrical engineering sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.