‘Red Mirage’: the ‘insidious’ scenario when Trump declares an early victory...

‘Red Mirage’: the ‘insidious’ scenario when Trump declares an early victory...
‘Red Mirage’: the ‘insidious’ scenario when Trump declares an early victory...
S.Scenarios of how an electoral disaster could play out in the United States next week include lawsuits, lost ballots, armed riots, and other potential crises in thousands of local jurisdictions on November 3rd.

However, there is a much simpler election night mayhem scenario that is centered on a single address and is considered the most plausible by many analysts.

The scenario can be averted, say election officials, by raising public awareness – and by warning vigilance of carefully targeted lies that Donald has already begun to tell.

Known as the “red mirage,” the scenario could develop if Trump appears to lead the presidential race late on election night and declares victory before all the votes are counted.

The red mirage “sounds like a super villain and is just as insidious,” said former Obama administration housing secretary Julían Castro

Recorded this week as a public notice for voters.

“On election night, the real possibility is that the data will show Republicans lead early before all the votes are counted. Then they can pretend something scary is going on when the number changes in favor of the Democrats. ”

In this scenario, Trump’s declaration of victory is repeated on conservative television station Fox News and by powerful Republicans in the United States. By the time the final results show that Joe Biden did indeed win the presidency, perhaps days later, the true election result has been dragged into a vortex of disinformation and chaos.

For some officials, the scenario is too realistic for words. A possible multi-day delay in the counting of votes is expected in Philadelphia, whose largely Democratic votes are vital to Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.

After counting just 6,000 postal ballots in the 2016 election, the city of Philadelphia, where Democrats are seven to one more Republicans than Republicans, expects to receive and count up to 400,000 postal ballots this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All of these ballots are counted in the city’s cavernous Convention Center on Arch Street by an army of election workers, including many new recruits, with recently purchased equipment from 7 a.m. on election day.

The delay, which officials know will be required to complete the census, could be enough time for Trump to sow doubts about the outcome, an effort the president has already begun.

“Bad things are happening in Philadelphia,” Trump said at the first presidential debate in September, warning of “tens of thousands of ballot papers being tampered with” and “urging my people” to watch polling stations carefully, even though there is no evidence of widespread fraud US elections.

Current and former Pennsylvania officials and activists say the antidote to the “red mirage” is as simple as the scenario itself.

The public needs to understand, these officials say, Philadelphia will not be able to report its election result on the night of November 3rd, and may not be able to do so until days later, due to the extraordinary circumstances that caused the pandemic.

In turn, the surge in the Philadelphia Democratic vote when they land is likely to evoke the perception of a major turnaround in the state after Biden. Finally, that momentum could be big enough to erase a head start Trump could build in rural counties elsewhere in the state – to turn Pennsylvania from “red” to “blue” – and potentially decide the entire election.




Voters wait in line outside City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 27.



Voters wait in line outside City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 27. Photo: Mark Makela / Getty Images

“All votes are not counted until midnight on November 3rd,” said Tom Ridge, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania and Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, who disapproves of Trump’s “absolutely despicable behavior and rhetoric” about the election.

“Because of Covid-19, there will be millions of mail-in votes that will take several days to count,” Ridge said in a telephone interview. “One way to reduce fear levels is to remind Americans of this reality and ask for peace and patience so that every vote can be counted.”

For some analysts, the thing about the Red Mirage scenario is that some aspects are more like a certainty than a scenario.

“People should know that there will be no result on election night,” said Lisa Deeley, chairwoman of a three-person panel of Philadelphia city commissioners that conducts the polls. “So people will go to bed and we will not stop this count. But we will work continuously throughout the night to ensure that we get this count as quickly and accurately – we are not going to sacrifice accuracy for speed. ”

“The key phrase is ‘election week’,” said Patrick Christmas, political director of the non-partisan committee of the 70 good government organizations in Philadelphia. “There will be no more election day here.”

As plausible as it is, there are also many reasons why a “Red Mirage” scenario may not unfold. Biden could end the race with a win earlier on election night in a major battlefield state like Florida. Or Biden could win the state of Pennsylvania by leading the poll averages 6 points without needing the last 200,000 or so votes from Philadelphia.

Alternatively, a “red mirage” for Trump could develop elsewhere in the country outside of Philadelphia – anywhere that a large city in a swing state, from Milwaukee to Miami to Cleveland, takes a long time to report results.

The enormous task Philadelphia faces of counting an unprecedented number of postal ballot papers while observing social distancing and other coronavirus mitigation measures means the city is in a uniquely difficult place.

Negotiations between the state’s Republican-led legislature and the Democratic governor were broken off last week to allow postal ballot papers to be processed. This means that the ballots are removed from their envelopes and flattened for insertion in counting machines – before election day.

Florida allows weeks for as early processing as North Carolina, Arizona, and other battlefield states, allowing those states to report results immediately on election night. Another major battlefield, Wisconsin lacks early processing, while Michigan only allows one day for early processing.




A poll worker places postal ballot papers into a dropbox in Doral, Florida.



A poll worker places postal ballot papers into a dropbox in Doral, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

“It is very sad to me, it is very worrying that the political parties could not agree on this,” said Ridge, who is involved in two bipartisan organizations to secure the vote: Vote Safe and National Council for Election Integrity.

Postal ballot papers are already waiting under lock and key for election day at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia.

At 7:00 a.m. sharp, officials begin feeding the ballot papers into new extraction machines that use suction cups to open the outer envelopes of the ballot papers so that officials can remove an inner envelope containing the ballot paper. Then the ballot has to go through the extraction machine again. Then the ballot has to be smoothed out and then fed through a counting machine.

Many representatives from each party are allowed to watch the process inside the convention center, but media arrangements have been postponed. Any ballot paper whose validity is contested – possibly because the voter failed to use the inner envelope, creating a so-called “naked” ballot paper – must be checked by the commissioners in a procedure that is not publicly described.

“There are challenge guidelines outlined in the state’s electoral code, and we will follow those guidelines,” said Deeley.

Some election watchers fear the presence in the Trump supporters’ hall could create an opportunity for chaos – especially with coronavirus concerns – that could disrupt operations in a way that could allow Trump to escalate his Philadelphia fraud claims .

Deeley said election officials were prepared for attempts to rig the elections.

“There’s security in the convention center,” she said, citing testimony from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner that the city is ready to prosecute election-related misconduct.

“He announced that he was ready to go, and that won’t be allowed on election day in Philadelphia.”

In every election, voters trust their neighbors who volunteer as polling workers to count the election results, and that trust is as well-placed this year as it has been in years past, no matter what Trump says, Ridge said.

“It is unfathomable and unpresidential for him to suggest that these local officials commit premeditated, premeditated, and massive fraud to discredit or delegitimize the process,” said Ridge.

“We have hopefully begun vaccinating and educating Americans about the need to be patient so that every vote can be counted.”

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