- Max Stearns
Trump's Doug Jones tweet dissected:
"Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!"
On first reading, I thought this was shockingly decent. On second reading, I realized it is self-serving. Having won his own election by negative 3 million votes out of approximately 126 million cast, and having persuaded absolutely no one that this was due to massive voter fraud, Trump continues to struggle with his own election legitimacy. Yes, he won the Electoral College. No, he has no mandate, a problem exacerbated by his stunningly low approval ratings, hovering at 32%, although higher within the Republican party.
So this tweet suggests that Jones's victory is a victory, without regard to the tight margin. In fact, it's tighter still, even tipping negative, if we consider that there were enough write ins to have tipped the result for Moore, those who couldn't stomach voting for an alleged serial child molester, but also couldn't bring themseselves to vote for a Democrat no matter how despicable their party's candidate. By sounding magnanimous, and despite his earlier insulting tweets about Jones, Trump is ultimately inflating his own ego. If he can't convince anyone he has a mandate, by sounding suddenly gracious to Doug Jones, Trump can convince himself that his win is likewise a win.