President Donald Trump said last week publicly and without evidence that the 2020 presidential election will be «the most corrupt in our country’s history.» We can’t let this happen,» Trump told an audience of young supporters at a Phoenix megachurch. «They want it too much.» Four months after the election, the president is stepping up his efforts to call into question the integrity of the electoral process. It’s a tactic widely used by Trump, who in 2016 did the same. He first attacked the Republican primaries («manipulated and controlled by the chief») and then the general election, when he accused the media and the campaign of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to conspire against him to undermine a free and fair election.» The process is manipulated. This whole election is being manipulated,» he said in October, when polls showed him that he was two digits down Clinton and also faced several allegations of sexual misconduct. So, as now, election experts have repeatedly discredited their claims about widespread fraud in the voting process. In a country with a history of peaceful political transition, the efforts of a major party candidate to delegitimitite an election would amount to a surprising breakdown of faith in American democracy. But to do so as president is unprecedented, according to historians.» Never,» presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said when asked if any former U.S. president had ever used that language. «What we’re seeing is someone who’s an autocrat or a dictator in action.» This year, Trump has seized efforts across the country to expand the vote by mail because of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 2.4 million people in the United States and killed more than 125,000 nationwide. The virus is highly contagious and especially dangerous for older people, who usually vote in greater numbers and have been advised by federal health authorities to limit their interactions with others. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail voting, even in states where this is already voted on. Trump and many members of his administration have voted repeatedly in the mail. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from accusing Democrats of trying to «manipulate the election by sending tens of millions of ballots by mail, using China’s virus as an excuse for people not to go to the polls.» People went to the polls and voted during World War I. They went to the polls and voted during World War II. We can safely go to the polls and vote during COVID-19,» he said in his Phoenix speech.