Love him or hate him, President Donald J. Trump lost the ability to provoke shock long ago, based on his behavior dating back well before the 2016 election cycle.

So it came as no surprise to awaken Wednesday morning and find that, with the democratic-republican (that’s with non-partisan lowercase “d” and “r”) process of vote-counting still ongoing, the president has painted all votes not yet tallied as invalid and illegal.

“This is a fraud on the American public,” Trump said early Wednesday morning at the White House. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election — frankly, we did win this election.”

Trump has criticized expanded mail-in voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic for months and has postulated it will cause widespread voter fraud, so again, his comments were unsurprising. But because of his previous statements, with the margins still too close to call as of Wednesday morning in coveted states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Trump’s statement comes across as a brazen attempt to call the game before it’s over while he’s ahead but while the opponent is still in striking distance.

Compare it to a baseball team leading by a run through eighth innings, then turning on the sprinklers to render the field unplayable before the trailing team’s last at-bat.

Or Jeff Probst throwing away the last three ballots of a Survivor showdown with only a one-vote margin in who stays and who leaves.

Those are mere games. Though politics are often played as such, what is on the line is much greater: the opportunity to guide the country through and hopefully out of the pandemic; to take or retain the helm of a nation grappling with racial unrest and the reasons behind it; the title of commander-in-chief of our ongoing military conflicts in Afghanistan and with ISIL.

We pen this editorial knowing fully well it is unlikely to change anyone’s heart or mind regarding this election, as it seems most Americans decided long ago where they stand regarding Trump and hold their positions very strongly. And besides that, all the votes are cast.

It’s our responsibility as a democratic republic to make sure they’re all counted.

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