Trump tries to create voter panic hours after saying 'I don't want to create panic'

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Donald Trump's entire 2020 campaign is built on fear.

Donald Trump on Thursday sought to sow fear about the accuracy of the 2020 presidential election by falsely claiming that an increase in the use of absentee ballots is "a total fraud in the making."

"Sending out 80 MILLION BALLOTS to people who aren't even asking for a Ballot is unfair and a total fraud in the making. Look at what's going on right now!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's fear-mongering over the November election comes a day after the publication of revelations from an upcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward that Trump downplayed the threat of the coronavirus early in the pandemic even though he knew it was extremely contagious and deadly.

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Trump tried to justify his downplaying of the threat he knew was serious Wednesday, saying: "I love our country and I don't want people to be frightened, I don't want to create panic. ... We don't want to instill panic, we don't want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a tremendous problem, scare everybody."

But Trump has built his political career on stoking fear among the American electorate.

In 2014, he incited fear of Ebola, claiming that President Barack Obama wasn't doing enough to stop the spread of the deadly virus in the United States — even though there were just 11 cases and two deaths from the virus in the country.

In the 2016 election, Trump ran on fear of Muslims, vowing to ban Muslims from entering the United States altogether.

In the 2018 midterm elections, he tried to create fear of "caravans" of South American immigrants bringing violence to the United States, running ads intended to scare Republican voters to get them to the polls.

And now, Trump's 2020 reelection campaign is again based on creating fear: fear of violence in the streets, fear of an economic downturn, and fear of voter fraud.

In July, the Trump campaign released an ad titled "Break in," which imagines a crime-filled United States in which a vulnerable old woman cannot get police help as her house is being robbed.

"You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America" is the ad's tag line.

Ultimately, Trump's response to the coronavirus poses a severe risk to his reelection chances.

Even before the revelation that he downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus, a majority of the country disapproved of his response to it. Some 56.5% of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of the pandemic, according to the latest FiveThirtyEight polling average.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden currently holds a 7.6% national lead over Trump, according to FiveThirtyEight.

News that Trump didn't tell the American people the truth about the threat of the coronavirus is unlikely to move the needle in his favor. And with less than eight weeks to go before Election Day, with voters already beginning to cast ballots, Trump is running out of time to move voters to his side.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.