On Twitter today, Donald Trump appeared trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He actually claimed, for no apparent reason, that “millions” of illegal votes had been cast. This comes as Jill Stein is asking for votes to be recounted in Wisconsin, and potentially Michigan and Pennsylvania, recounts that are unlikely to change the election unless some one, or some government, actually hacked into the states computers to alter the vote counts. Theoretically possible, but not very likely.
Two thoughts on this idea of seemingly trying to lose after you have won, that come from the trenches of the law but are widely applicable.
First, back in 2009, a defendant won a criminal trial, and then the defense lawyer, perhaps out of habit, asked the the jury be polled on their verdict. The blunder was widely noted in the blogosphere.
There is no reason on earth for such a request, because once the defendant has won a criminal trial, it’s all over. The fat lady has sung, you grab your coat, make sure the jury is discharged, and get the hell out of the courthouse as soon as possible lest someone find a technical problem with the jury’s verdict. You certainly don’t ask for someone to look for a problem if you have won.
As you may expect, and the reason that story made news, is that when polled a juror said it wasn’t her verdict, the jury went back into the jury room and an adverse verdict then appeared.
Second, as every lawyer knows, when you have won an argument in front of a judge, you just shut up and sit down. Period. You don’t give the judge a reason to revisit a decision any more than you give a jury a reason. Maryland trial lawyer Bruce Godfrey quickly noted this on Twitter:
He seems so desperate to always be in the news, for anything at all, that he is willing to shoot himself in the foot to do it.
Remember, Trump is the guy that will “negotiate” with the Russians and Chinese, the Syrians and Iranians, the Saudis and Palestinians. He will get the nuclear codes.
What could possibly go wrong as he continues to troll the world so that his name stays in the headlines?