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The Associated Press / President Donald Trump speaks at the White House on Thursday.

What is the average Tennessee Trump voter to make of the difficulty in counting ballots in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona?

Is fraud occurring in those states, as the president alleged Thursday, in an effort to "steal" and "rig" the election, or is the situation one simply of, as Democrats allege, a need to count all the votes?

Obviously, we have no independent knowledge of what has been or is going on with the voting process in these states, but neither do national broadcasting or publishing sources. So when those sources term what the president says as "unsupported accusations," as this newspaper printed in an Associated Press report Friday, they have no more idea than we do whether that is true.

What we do know is that most states are able to count their ballots by the end of the evening on Election Day.

Tennessee did, and no one is clamoring for a vote recount to see if Joe Biden could reach that magical 38% threshold.

Florida, with more than 11 million votes cast, did — and apparently with no hanging chads. Texas, also with more than 11 millions votes cast, did.

What we also know is that election fraud has been ongoing across the country in this election cycle, largely to hurt Republicans. Despite Democrat denials, nearly every day or every couple of days for the past several months, an isolated case has been reported.

A number of unprecedented things also happened before the election with the permission of judges to allow mail-in ballots — depending on the state — to be postmarked on Election Day, for their arrival to be permitted many days later and for voters who voted improperly to be able to correct their ballots after Election Day.

So, in the case of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Trump won in 2016 but apparently may lose narrowly in 2020, were the largely Democratic election officials at work to stealthily and carefully add a few votes here and take away a couple there?

In the battleground states of North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada, where the vote might go either way, are Democratic operatives behind the scenes trying to find extra votes for their presidential candidate wherever they can?

And what all might have happened in the dead of night after election officials in some of those states stopped counting votes, or said they wouldn't count them for a couple of days? What all could have happened? It boggles the mind how much fraud potentially could occur.

So, if President Trump believes reasonable evidence exists that there has been voter fraud in any of the states, the allegations need to be investigated. Certainly if Biden were narrowly losing many of these last few states, his campaign, his fellow Democrats and the national media would be screaming for investigations. But if Trump doesn't — if it's all bluster the way many of his pronouncements can be — he needs to stand down.

Nobody wants to lose an election, especially in such a hyperpartisan time in the country. And certainly nobody wants to lose due to voter fraud.

Trump doesn't want to lose because — keeping it real — he wants to continue what he's accomplished for the country, because he enjoys basking in the adoration of his supporters and because a victory helps the Trump brand. Biden doesn't want to lose because it would cement him as a three-time loser, it would pop the last pin in the blue wave that was supposed to roll over the country and it would keep him from crowning a 47-year bureaucratic career with the presidency.

Truth be told, whether Biden holds on to his narrow lead or whether Trump exposes enough fraud that would give him the votes to win, the next two years are likely to be politically uneventful. No matter which man is president, he'll have an almost dead-even Senate and a fairly closely divided House. For either to attempt legislation that would be out of the mainstream would be folly. And neither side is likely to want to give an inch.

Actually, that's a pity because, were minds a little less partisan, it might be a perfect time to craft bipartisan legislation involving infrastructure, immigration, election reform (so that all states have similar rules about how and when votes must be cast and counted) and numerous other problems facing the country. And we hope we're wrong, but we don't believe that ability is in the collective bunch that will be in the Congress or the White House in the next session.

In the meantime, we Tennesseans should hope if there is fraud that it is exposed, and if there is not that the counts conclude soon and allow the country to demonstrate that its Constitution yet works.

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