Trump thought that, even if he lost the election, he could get loyalists he appointed to “find” that Biden’s victory was obtained by fraud. Corrupt lawyers, like Trump’s chief stooge, Rudy Giuliani, would bring lawsuits in key states, and corrupt judges Trump had appointed would uphold them. Trump surely thought that Attorney General William Barr, who got his job by convincing Trump that he would support his authoritarian ambitions, would support Trump’s baseless claims, and up until very recently, Barr gave every evidence that Trump could count on him.
Trump’s plan might have worked if Biden’s margin of victory had been narrow enough. (As former U.N. Ambassador in the Obama Administration Susan Rice noted, “American democracy had a near-death experience.”) But Biden won decisively, and no evidence of fraud could be found that Trump’s lawyers could cite. The result was that only Trump’s most zealous acolytes and deluded followers (of whom tragically there are tens of millions) continued to support his outrageous and baseless claims.
Now Barr has acknowledged that there is no reason to doubt the election results. Trump has learned to his dismay that even if Barr and some of the judges Trump appointed and some of the key election officials are corrupt, they are insufficiently corrupt to try to keep him in office.