While Mr. Trump has not aired those worries in the open, he has railed against the democratic process, raising baseless doubts about the integrity of the vote.
He has also mused about prematurely declaring victory Tuesday night, but if there’s any organized plan to do so his top lieutenants are not conveying it to their allies. One congressional strategist said that he spoke to Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, on Sunday and that Mr. Kushner not only didn’t ask for buy-in from Capitol Hill Republicans for such a plan but also didn’t mention the prospect at all.
Mr. Trump’s advisers do continue to believe he has a realistic chance of besting Mr. Biden, but they concede it would take a last-minute breakthrough in one of the Great Lakes states where he is currently trailing. Some Republicans, however, are already bracing for losses or close calls in a series of Sun Belt states — and expressing alarm that Mr. Trump may have turned some of them prematurely blue in the same fashion that Barack Obama’s 2008 landslide made Virginia and Colorado Democratic bulwarks.
Nov. 2, 2020, 7:03 p.m. ET
“Arizona and Georgia are a big deal,” said Nick Everhart, a Republican strategist. “That’s a shift people thought would come but once they’re gone they’re hard to reel back.”
The president himself has done little to strengthen his chances in the final days of the race. On Friday, Mr. Trump used a rally in Michigan to float a baseless theory that doctors are classifying patients’ deaths as related to the coronavirus in order to make more money, drawing fierce condemnation from medical groups, as well as Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama.
And on Saturday, in Pennsylvania at the site where George Washington mapped out his Delaware crossing during the Revolution, aides wrote out a sober speech for the president to deliver. Midway through, he seemed to get bored and began to riff about the size of Mr. Biden’s sunglasses.
He has frequently used his speeches to deliver long diatribes against Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, even though some Trump advisers believe the whole subject is a sideshow in the midst of a public-health disaster. But Trump associates say he simply enjoys attacking the Biden family.
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