Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders is being applauded for his foresight after he accurately forecasted the election uncertainty playing out in the United States.
Sanders predicted last month that U.S. President Donald Trump would falsely claim victory while he was ahead on Election Day, only to see that lead evaporate as mail-in ballots tilted the election in favour of Democrat Joe Biden. Sanders also voiced concern that Trump would try to discredit the voting process after falling behind, which he has attempted to do.
“This is a worry that I and a lot of people have,” Sanders said during an interview for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last month, which was posted online Oct. 23. His prediction laid out a scenario that many news outlets and pundits had also described as possible.
The scenario, known as the “red mirage” and the “blue shift,” predicted that Trump would have a lead on Election Day, but Biden would eventually pull ahead of him. It was based on polling that showed Democrats were far more likely to vote by mail than Republicans, and that those mail-in ballots would take longer to add to the vote tally.
Sanders’ step-by-step description of the scenario resurfaced on Twitter late Tuesday, as Americans anxiously awaited the results of the election. The video clip has been watched more than 29 million times to date.
“Bernie called it,” actor and Democrat supporter Mark Ruffalo tweeted on Thursday.
“This is something I worry about,” Sanders told Fallon. “You’re going to have a situation, I suspect, in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, other states, where they are going to be receiving huge amounts of mail-in ballots.”
Sanders pointed out that those states have specific rules that prohibit mail-in ballots from being counted until Election Day, so the true result would be delayed.
“What polls show and what studies have shown is that, for whatever reason, Democrats are more likely to use mail in ballots. Republicans are more likely to walk into polling booths on Election Day,” he said.
“It is likely that the first votes that will be counted will be those people who came in on Election Day, which will be Republican.”
Sanders accurately predicted the swing in votes from Republican to Democrat in several battleground states, where experts had also expected a “blue shift” due to mail-in ballots.
Sanders also predicted that Trump would falsely declare victory, though Trump did so a bit later than Sanders expected.
“He gets on the television, he says, ‘Thank you Americans for re-electing me, it’s all over, have a good day,'” Sanders said of Trump.
Trump did just that in the early hours of Wednesday. “Frankly, we did win this election,” he falsely claimed in a speech, while baselessly alleging fraud in places where he wasn’t winning.
“But then the next day and the day following, all of those mail in ballots start getting counted, and it turns out that Biden has won those states,” Sanders told Fallon.
Trump did have a lead in Michigan and Wisconsin late Tuesday, but Biden moved ahead of him as mail-in ballot counts came in. The Associated Press called both states for Biden on Wednesday, while Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona remained uncertain.
Sanders also predicted Trump’s reaction to such a development.
“Trump says, ‘See, I told you the whole thing was fraudulent. I told you those mail-in ballots were crooked, and we’re not going to leave office,'” Sanders said.
Trump has claimed widespread fraud without evidence. He has also alleged that the election is being “stolen,” and launched a series of lawsuits to fight the results in states where the count is close.
“STOP THE COUNT!” he tweeted in all caps on Thursday.
Trump has not said anything about refusing to leave office, and the election remained undecided on Thursday afternoon.
Biden has said he expects to win once the full results have been tallied.
Many Twitter users hailed Sanders for his prediction, calling it “prophetic” and “magical.”
“Word for word,” one user tweeted.
“Bernie is a time traveller,” another wrote.
Others pointed out that Sanders was merely reading the signals that Trump has been telegraphing for months.
“This is why some predictions look like prophecies,” one user wrote. “Trump is readable.”
Trump has been tweeting for months about going with the incomplete Election Night results.
“Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!” he wrote in July, when he also claimed that mail-in balloting would lead to “INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT” results.
Sanders called for every vote to be counted in a tweet on Wednesday.
“It is time to reaffirm our belief in democracy and to give states the time they need to count every ballot so that the will of the American people is heard,” he wrote.
“That’s what this country is about and must always be about.”
Election officials were still counting valid ballots in several states on Thursday.