Dana Milbank, a regular columnist for the Washington Post, calls this column “Send in the Clowns.” Read it and you will understand why.

He writes:

The election is over. Send in the clowns!

Twitter troll Ric Grenell spent his time as President Trump’s ambassador to Germany offending that country and later proved too radioactive to be confirmed as national intelligence director. Now he’s trying to convince Nevadans that they didn’t really vote for former vice president Joe Biden.

“They continue to count illegal votes!” Grenell announced Thursday at a Las Vegas news conference. “It’s giving legal people a sense that the system is corrupt.”

Reporters asked Grenell if he had any real evidence. “We don’t have access to the information,” he said, hastily departing. “We’re not going to take any more questions.”

In Pennsylvania, where Trump was initially leading in the tally, pro-Trump demonstrators massed in Philadelphia, chanting: “STOP THE COUNT!”

In Arizona, where Biden was leading in the tally, pro-Trump demonstrators massed in Phoenix, chanting: “COUNT THE VOTES!”

They chanted this right outside the Maricopa County Elections Department, where officials were, um, counting the votes.

In Georgia, Trump campaign lawyers marched into a Savannah courtroom to challenge 53 ballots that one Republican poll watcher claimed “may have” arrived after the deadline on Election Day. The county lawyer asked the poll watcher if he had any evidence. The poll watcher did not.

His proof of this affront to “legal people”? A woman who alleges somebody voted in her name. Trouble is, she refused to sign a formal challenge, and her signature matches that of the mystery voter, officials say.

The court finds that there is no evidence that the ballots referenced in the petition were received after 7:00 p.m.,” the judge ruled. Case dismissed.

In Michigan, the Trump campaign went to court to stop the counting because a Republican poll watcher claimed she’d heard from one unnamed election worker that another unnamed election worker had said to backdate late-arriving ballots.

“How is that not hearsay?” asked the judge. “Come on, now.” Case dismissed.

In Arizona, the Trump campaign joined a lawsuit based on a debunked Internet conspiracy theory falsely alleging that Maricopa County had invalidated ballots filled out with Sharpies. County officials point out that the voting-machine manufacturer actually recommends using Sharpies. Trump lawyers said they needed two weeks to build their case. “I don’t think that’s feasible,” the judge said.

Trump did win one ruling, allowing poll watchers to ignore pandemic restrictions and to get up close to vote counters. “Big legal win in Pennsylvania!” Trump proclaimed.

That was probably Trump’s most responsible pronouncement this week.

“Our campaign has been denied access to observe any counting in Detroit,” he said. There were more than 100 poll observers from each party in Detroit, reports NBC News’s Heidi Przybyla, who was there.

“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump said, attempting to invalidate 64 million legal ballots received before Election Day.

Trump claimed that the yet-to-be-decided states “are run in all cases by Democrats.” Georgia’s governor and secretary of state are Trump-backing Republicans.

Fuming about Pennsylvania, Trump tweeted “The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form.” His lawyers admitted in court that they had observers (at least 19, reportedly) in the room.

“STOP THE COUNT!” Trump demanded, apparently unaware that this would have instantly sealed Biden’s victory.

“Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!” Trump tweeted, before taking another Krakow at the spelling.

If anything, the fraud is flowing in the other direction.

Wisconsin Republicans on Thursday “urgently” sought out volunteers to call Pennsylvania Trump supporters and tell them to send in their (now invalid) absentee ballots. The U.S. Postal Service, run by a Trump megadonor, defied a court order and failed to deliver tens of thousands of ballots on time.

And all along, Republican officials who know better have been amplifying the disinformation. “President Trump won this election,” the top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) declared. (Thankfully, he later said he didn’t mean it.)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (S.C.), calling Philadelphia elections “crooked as a snake,” said he was open to Republican state legislatures throwing out the votes and awarding electoral votes to Trump. Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) expressed interest in a “do-over” election.

Such reckless words have an effect.

In Arizona, armed Trump supporters massed outside elections offices; conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) joined the protest; and members of the extremist group AZ Patriots entered elections offices uninvited, complaining about the “Sharpiegate” conspiracy.

In California, a man who threatened a mass shooting if Biden wins was taken into custody Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

And in Philadelphia, two men face firearms charges after police found them outside the vote-counting center Thursday night; they had an AR-16 and 60 rounds of ammunition in their car, festooned with QAnon conspiracy symbols. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that police had been alerted that the suspects aimed to “straighten things out” with the vote counting.

It’s time for Republicans to “straighten things out” — before this clown show turns dark.