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Nov. 5, 2020, 7:50 a.m.

Trump declares victory prematurely, seeks to delegitimize election

DOWNLOAD VIDEO Directions: Watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. If short on time, stop the video at 4m:30s . For the video transcript, click here . You may also want to read the article Trump supporters demand Michigan vote center "stop the count!" Summary: President Donald Trump continues to declare victory prematurely and sought to delegitimize vote counts in a number of states where final tallies still aren't recorded.
  • In a flurry of tweets, Trump blamed mail-in ballots for why he lost leads he had Wednesday night in Michigan and Wisconsin. There is no evidence that mail-in balloting has been fraudulent.
    • Twitter hid that post and a number of others from users, flagging them as misleading. The tweets underscored what the president has long been laying the groundwork for.
  • Dozens of supporters of Trump chanting “Stop the count!” descended on a ballot-tallying center in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday. Meanwhile, supporters of Trump in Maricopa County, Arizona gathered to chant "Count the votes" in a state where Trump is currently behind but narrowing the gap with Biden as additional votes are tallied.
  • Democratic nominee Joe Biden firmly believes that they are on track to win the election. With the call in Michigan, this puts them within six electoral votes of the 270 they need, according to the Associated Press.
Discussion questions: Warm up questions : Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:
  • Who is responsible for counting the vote ?
  • What claims are being made about fraudulent or invalid votes?
  • Where are we still waiting for states to call the election?
  • When might we know who won the election ?
  • Why would Trump prematurely and falsely claim victory ?
  • How do you think candidates should act when they have lost an election?
Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS). Focus questions:
  1. Why has the Trump campaign launched various lawsuits against states in the last couple of days? Do you think Trump should proceed with the lawsuits? Explain.
  2. How do you feel seeing fellow citizens chant "Stop the count!" What does this say about American democracy at this point in time?
  3. How do you think Trump should react to election news that may not go in his favor?
Media literacy: Photojournalists use pictures to capture what is happening in a way that is different from a news article. How do you feel seeing this photograph? How would you feel being a poll worker and watching this scene develop at your station? If you are upset by the news in the last couple of days, who could you talk with? Why is it important to process this election with a friend, family member or teacher?
GOP poll challengers react after being asked to leave due to room capacity at the TCF Center after Election Day in Detroit, Michigan
GOP poll challengers react after being asked to leave due to room capacity at the TCF Center after Election Day in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
GOP poll challengers react after being asked to leave due to room capacity at the TCF Center after Election Day in Detroit, Michigan, November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Dig Deeper:
  1. What is a contested election ? Find out here using this lesson plan .
  2. To see how Michigan high school students reacted waiting for election news in their state, click here .
  3. Play these Kahoots to learn more about the nature of Election 2020 in a fun way!

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