Of all the ways President Donald Trump has denigrated the office he holds by undermining the institutions of American democracy, his most venal action came late on election night when he announced to the world that victory was being stolen from him by his enemies.

It was and is a total fiction, but he continues to repeat the lie. That he has stooped to this mendacity is hardly a surprise; he has been stoking false fears of election cheating for months. It is his way of making an excuse for himself in case he loses. It may seem weird that he asserts this bogus claim even though he may yet win a very close fight for an Electoral College majority, but, in the event of victory, he can just add this to his boasts: “I won and it was tremendous, because they tried to steal it from me.”

No matter what the president says, he did not win on Nov. 3 only to have it purloined from him. The votes are still being counted.

The evil of his shenanigan lies in the fact that millions of American will believe him. Should Joe Biden end up as president, those millions will regard him as illegitimate. Some may even decide it is time for them to climb into their pickups with Trump flags flying and guns loaded, and head off to commit violence.

But Trump is the king of chaos, and he will not be troubled. He will cheer them on.

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