As Jimmy Fallon asked Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Oct. 23 when he thought the country would know the election results, Sanders quickly spun out a very specific prediction.
In-person ballots cast in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would initially favor President Donald Trump. But the early lead would not last too long, Sanders warned. Once election officials began counting late-arriving ballots, Joe Biden would rise.
Then, Sanders said, Trump would go on TV to falsely proclaim himself the winner.
“He says, ‘Thank you Americans for reelecting me. It’s all over. Have a good day,'” Sanders said on “The Tonight Show” last month.
Less than two weeks later, as many of Sanders’s guesses seemed to play out in real time on election night, a clip of his predictions on Fallon’s show went viral on Twitter, where one video has gotten about 29 million views as of early Thursday.
Sanders spent most of the seven-minute interview last month raising his top concern: the large numbers of mail-in ballots would prematurely skew results in states where counting was not allowed until after Election Day.
When those ballots began to show Biden winning, Sanders warned Fallon, Trump would claim fraud.
“At which point Trump says, ‘See? I told you the whole thing was fraudulent. I told you those mail-in ballots were crooked and we’re not going to leave office,'” Sanders said.
That’s almost exactly what happened early Wednesday morning — altered slightly by a speedier timeline than what Sanders predicted.
As the former Democratic presidential contender suggested, with early in-person tallies in his favor, Trump quickly declared, “A big WIN!” on Twitter even though ballots were still being counted in key swing states.
Trump later addressed reporters in the East Room at the White House for his first post-Election Day remarks. At around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, he called the elections a “fraud on the American public.”
“This is an embarrassment to our country,” Trump told his supporters at the event, which was also livestreamed on Twitter. “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.”
Meanwhile, late-counting mail-in ballots in Wisconsin and Michigan from heavily Democratic cities like Milwaukee and Detroit did push Biden to victory in those states, as reported by The Washington Post. Pennsylvania, meanwhile, continues to tally hundreds of thousands of votes as Biden inches closer to Trump’s lead there, The Post’s Live Election tracker reported.
As Sanders predicted, Trump and his campaign have continued to baselessly claim electoral fraud and taken to the courts to block ballots.
The Trump campaign has said they have requested a recount of Wisconsin’s ballots and that they planned to block the continued ballot counting in Michigan until their observers could enter the tabulating sites, as previously reported by The Post.
On Wednesday afternoon, Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani held a news conference in Philadelphia where, without evidence, he claimed that more than 125,000 ballots should be disqualified because poll watchers did not get to see them being tallied, The Post reported.
Without providing any evidence, Trump’s campaign manager told reporters in Philadelphia that he had won in Pennsylvania. Trump echoed his attorney on Wednesday, adding that he had claimed victory in Michigan.