TV doctor Mehmet Oz finds himself in a nip-and-tuck race with wealthy businessman David McCormick in the fight for the Republican Senate nomination in Pennsylvania.
And his highest-profile backer has some words of advice.
“Dr. Oz should declare victory,” counseled Trump via a tweet truth on his Truth Social site. “It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they ‘just happened to find.’”
What Trump’s statement makes clear is that he hasn’t learned the right (or any) lessons from the 2020 election. (And no, I am not surprised.)
For Trump – in politics and life – perception is all that matters.
When you declare bankruptcy, as Trump has done, make sure everyone knows it’s a strategic (and smart) move.
When you lose – whether it’s in the 2016 Iowa caucuses or the 2020 general election – insist that you, in fact, won. Tell everyone you won enough times, and they might start to believe it. (Remember that polls show a clear majority of Republican voters now say that Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election fair and square.)
Oz, at least so far, hasn’t taken Trump’s advice. “When all the votes are counted, we will win,” Oz predicted at a rally on Tuesday night. Which isn’t the same thing as declaring victory.
It’s unlikely we will know who won the GOP Senate primary for at least several days. “Next Tuesday, the counties will send their unofficial returns to me,” Pennsylvania Secretary of State Leigh Chapman told CNN on Wednesday. “At that time, I’ll make a determination as to whether or not we want to move forward with the automatic recount.”
(A recount is triggered if the winning margin is less than .5%. As of Wednesday afternoon, Oz was leading McCormick by .2%.)
Given all of that, the responsible thing to do is wait until all the ballots are counted (or recounted) before declaring victory. Which is the opposite of what Trump wants Oz to do.
The Point: All Trump cares about is winning – at all costs. Even if it undermines the public’s faith in the political process.