The Washington Monthy writes that Trump had an elaborate plan, dreamed up by one of his inner circle (Stephen Miller?) Jared Kushner?), to demand a halt to the counting on Election Day, knowing that the mail-in ballots would favor Biden. But then FOX News called Arizona for Biden, and his plan was foiled. He was furious and demanded that FOX retract its call, but it did not back down. He even attacked the person who heads FOX’s Decision Desk, but to no avail.

Donald Trump telegraphed his plan to steal the election in the days leading up to Nov. 3. He wanted to declare victory on election night, stop the counting mail-in votes he considered illegal, and, if necessary, send the election to the judiciary and eventually the Supreme Court. 

Implementing that strategy would require a public relations effort in which Trump made at least a plausible case that he had won re-election. Michigan and Wisconsin looked out of reach. So the president would need to maintain the illusion that he was winning the rest of his 2016 states to have any pathway to 270 electoral votes. The most vulnerable were Pennsylvania and Arizona. 

Republicans had ensured, via the courts, that Pennsylvania couldn’t begin counting mail-in ballots prior to November 3rd. So Trump was relying on an early lead in that state coming from those who had voted in person on Election Day. That made Arizona pivotal to the public relations campaign for Trump to claim victory. 

But at 11:20 pm on Tuesday, Fox News foiled the plan by calling Arizona for Biden. The Associated Press followed at 2:50 AM. Eventually, they were joined by NPR, “PBS NewsHour,” Univision, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. With Arizona gone, Trump would have no clear path to 270 electoral votes.