When ‘Stop the Steal’ Becomes Your Motto

There is a good chance that Donald Trump’s polling lead in the 2024 presidential election is more fragile than it looks.

The most immediate problem for him is the fact that he’s on trial in a criminal case. Even if Trump isn’t convicted, the trial keeps him away from the trail.

There is also the issue of the campaign itself, which is a smaller affair than his 2020 effort, with fewer resources. “The situation has alarmed G.O.P. officials in key states, like Arizona, Georgia and Michigan, who have yet to receive promised funding, staff or even briefings on the new plans since the Trump team took control of the Republican National Committee in March,” The Washington Post reports.

Trump could very well hold his lead through the summer and into the fall but still fail to turn stated preferences into actual votes. What looks solid in the numbers could turn out to be ephemeral in the final tallies.

It’s much too early to say whether the polls are right or wrong. What we can say, however, is that the former president and his allies are already laying the foundation for an effort to contest — or even try to overturn — the results of the November election if voters don’t return Trump to the White House.

For Trump, a man who seems to live in the eternal present, “stop the steal” never actually ended. He maintains, as he did on Nov. 3, 2020, that he won the presidential election that put Joe Biden in the White House. Last month, he told an audience in Wisconsin, “We won this state by a lot.” (He lost it by 20,682 votes.) He told Time magazine, in a recent interview, that he “wouldn’t feel good” about hiring anyone who believed that Biden was the legitimate winner of the last presidential election. Asked if he would accept the results of the 2024 election, Trump said that he would, “if everything’s honest.”

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