Sen. Bernie Sanders: champion of the people, multi-time presidential candidate, and… soothsayer? The 2020 presidential election remains undecided, but two weeks ago, Sanders predicted exactly how the evening (and the following day) would go in an interview with Jimmy Fallon. At the time, the Vermont senator said that because states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan will be receiving a huge number of mail-in votes, early election results will favor President Trump before flipping to Joe Biden as these votes are counted. As a result, said Sanders, Trump will declare an early victory, only to insist that the election process was “fraudulent” when Biden’s victory becomes clear. Hm, sound familiar?
Sanders’ interview on The Tonight Show didn’t make many waves when it first aired on October 23, but it shot back into the public consciousness late Tuesday night as the presidential race in Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan continued to tighten. During the interview, Sanders was asked when we’ll definitively know the results of the election, and he proceeded to answer in a way that has only proven more correct as Wednesday wears on.
“My view is every vote must be counted,” he said. “We’re going to have a situation in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, other states where they are going to be receiving huge amounts of mail-in ballots. Unlike states like Florida or Vermont, they’ll not be able — for bad reasons — to begin processing those ballots until election day or maybe when the polls close.”
The senator explained that polls have shown that “Democrats are more likely to use mail-in ballots; Republicans are more likely to walk into polling booths on election day,” so it’s likely that the electoral map will skew towards Trump at the beginning of the night. “Here is the fear, and I hope everybody hears that,” he said. “It could well be that at 10 o’clock on election night, Trump is winning in Michigan. He’s winning in Pennsylvania. He’s winning in Wisconsin. And he gets on the television and he says, ‘Thank you, Americans, for reelecting me! It’s all over. Have a good day.’”
“But then the next day, and the day following, all of those mail-in ballots start getting counted, and it turns out that Biden has won those states,” continued Sanders. “At which point Trump says, ‘See? I told you the whole thing was fraudulent! I told you those mail-in ballots were crooked. We’re not going to leave office.’”
“That is a worry that I and a lot of people have,” he concluded. “We don’t know what’s [going to] happen. Maybe the results will be known on election day. But people should be aware of that possibility.”
As of 9 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, Sanders’ prophecy has already come true. Late Tuesday, Trump held on to slim leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and at 2:30 a.m., he falsely declared himself the likely victor in a speech from the White House. “Millions and millions of people voted for us tonight. And a very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people, and we won’t stand for it,” he said, without evidence.
Trump added that Democrats are committing “a fraud on the American public” by counting mail-in votes, a statement that is patently untrue. “We’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop,” he concluded. “We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list, OK?”
And as Sanders predicted, Trump’s lead narrowed overnight as mail-in and absentee ballots were counted in swing states. Per the New York Post’s live election map, Biden currently has a narrow lead in Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and the gap between the candidates has narrowed in Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. However, votes will likely not be completely counted until the weekend, so there’s still a long way to go before Americans see any definitive presidential results.
Will the final element of Sanders’ prediction — a Biden victory — come to fruition? Who knows, but at least you can watch him cast his prophecy at the 2:50 mark in the video above.
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