"Con" in this context is slang for "confidence game" -- an effort to deceive or defraud someone, usually out of money or property. Dictionary.com defines a "long con" this way: "an elaborate confidence game that develops in several stages over an extended period of time wherein the con man or swindler gains the victim's trust, often bypassing small profits with the goal of reaping a much larger payout in the final maneuver."
The secret to the success of a "long con," the online entry continues, is "giving your marks" -- the targets -- "the illusion of control while you and your team manipulate their choices."
Politicians are known for their, shall we say, flexible approach to the truth, especially during an election campaign, and Democrats have made it an art form. But Democrats have arguably never hustled the American public as fervently as they have with respect to the election -- and now potential reelection -- of Donald Trump.
We've had the Russia-collusion scam, the impeachment fiasco and the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic.
But the long con Democrats are trying to pull now is that associated with the November election and mail-in voting.
Despite everything they've thrown at him, President Trump does not appear to be taking much damage. Yes, plenty of polls show Biden ahead of Trump in a number of key states, but the margins are typically smaller than those that showed Hillary Clinton ahead at the same time in 2016 -- and we know how that worked out for her. Furthermore, there is strong indication that Trump is doing better with Hispanics and Blacks, groups Democrats tend to count on for votes.
Furthermore, Democratic governors and mayors are taking big hits for the riots, unrest, destruction and violence that they have allowed to explode across the country in cities and states they control. This reflects poorly on the Democratic nominee for president, not least because no mention of the violence was made at the Democratic convention last month.
Though they may be reluctant to say so expressly, the fear in Democratic camps is not only that Trump is going to win again in November but that his win will be bigger than in 2016.
And here's where the long con comes into full focus.
Strategists and media shills for the Democratic Party are already laying the groundwork for the public not to expect a result on Election Night -- or, worse yet, not to believe the results they see. Democratic strategy group Hawkfish got national attention in an Axios article last week referring to an election-night landslide for Trump as a "red mirage." Oh, sure, it may look like Trump has won, Hawkfish CEO Josh Mendelsohn said, but just wait until all those mail-in ballots -- the ones Democrats have been insisting upon since early spring -- come in the days and weeks following Election Day.
Conveniently, Hawkfish's models show that the mail-in ballots will break overwhelmingly for Biden, handing him what the article calls a "massive victory," 334 Electoral College votes to Trump's 204 in Hawkfish's best-case scenario.
This new tactic brings into sharp focus the potential for fraud in voting practices that Democrats have long advocated for, like ballot harvesting and mail-in voting.
Ballot harvesting is a system whereby people can collect other people's votes and deliver them. Twenty-seven states and Washington, D.C., permit it, but California's ballot-harvesting law, passed in 2016, is significantly broader, with fewer limitations on who can harvest, and from whom, and how many votes can be harvested, and how late they can be delivered. Does this make a difference? It depends on who you ask. Republicans had won every congressional seat in Orange County, California, on Election Day in 2018, only to watch every single one fall to Democrats over the next week as harvested ballots came in. If those votes are legitimate, then all's fair in love, war and ballot harvesting. But if not, then we have a problem on our hands.
Mail-in voting presents even more issues. Unlike absentee votes, which are requested by voters themselves, mail-in ballots are sent out in advance to all voters on the voter rolls, which are notoriously inaccurate. An August NPR article reported that more than 550,000 mailed-in ballots were disqualified this year in presidential primaries across the country -- for things like missing or non-matching signatures, or arriving after the deadline.
One would think that Democrats would heed this cautionary tale and encourage their voters to request absentee ballots or vote in person. Instead, Democrats are pushing to eliminate even the most basic protections against fraud: deadlines, witnesses and notaries. Nevada's new law would permit "mailed-in" ballots that arrive up to a week after Election Day, even if there is no postmark on the envelope! It doesn't take a genius to anticipate the possibility that Trump wins a hotly contested state, and all that's necessary to flip the Electoral College votes is a few hundred or a few thousand "mailed-in" votes in key precincts that magically arrive after Election Day with no postmark.
But the long con doesn't stop there.
Talking heads on the left are also sowing the seeds of a narrative that "when" Trump loses the election -- days or weeks after Election Day -- Trump will refuse to concede and there will be violence from his sore-loser followers. As if on cue, the Department of Homeland Security published a draft report stating that the greatest threat of violence in the United States is -- wait for it -- white supremacists. (Presumably, we're supposed to ignore the actual violence that has been ripping the country apart for months and was caused by people other than white supremacists.)
No con works if the targets figure out the game in advance.
You've been warned.