Trump’s bluster about election rigging is more criminal and cowardly than his previous populist garbage

Donald Trump has said and done a lot of outlandish things while running to be president of the United States, but perhaps none as dangerous as this. “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” the Republican nominee told supporters at a Monday rally in Columbus, Ohio. Appearing on Fox News later that night, Trump elaborated in his usual evidence-free way…

Trump, of course, is no stranger to making fact-free assertions and spreading conspiracy theories for his own political and personal benefit. He laid the groundwork for his current presidential campaign by beating the Birther drum for years, and more recently hinted that President Obama was an ISIS sympathizer and suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of JFK. Spreading those falsehoods — as well as a whole host of others about Hispanics, blacks, and Muslims — has done an unquantifiable amount of damage to the nation’s political discourse. His suggestion that the 2016 election will be illegitimate, though, could do damage to the republic itself.

Trump’s latest allegation is, in the words of the usually staid Associated Press, an “unprecedented assertion by a modern presidential candidate,” one that could “threaten the tradition of peacefully contested elections and challenge the very essence of a fair democratic process.” Trump has laid the groundwork for only two possible outcomes in the eyes of his most passionate supporters: He wins the presidency, or he has it stolen from him…

This is not the first time Team Trump has suggested that violence would occur if a “rigged” system prevented their man from getting his way…At this point it should be clear these are not off-hand comments; this is a political strategy.

The worst, though, doesn’t need to happen for Trump’s “rigged” narrative to do lasting damage to American democracy. Even if we set aside the prospect of widespread violence from his supporters, Trump’s comments risk delegitimizing a Clinton victory — and as result, an ensuing Clinton presidency — in the eyes of many Americans…Until now, the greatest dangers posed by Trump were predicated on him winning this November. Now he’s dangerous even if he loses.

True Believers cannot accept rejection. No matter how outlandish, unfounded, demented and bigoted their ideology, the demagogue and his loyal-to-the-death followers must find a conspiracy as root to their defeat.

Last night, I watched a moment with a journalist interviewing a Trumpkin at some rally or other. Asked if there was anything that might turn him away from voting for Trump, his reply was, “I suppose I’d have to reconsider if he murdered someone.”

Then he added, “It would depend, of course, on who he murdered.”

11 thoughts on “Trump’s bluster about election rigging is more criminal and cowardly than his previous populist garbage

  1. Them™ says:

    “Donald Trump smells a far-reaching conspiracy.
    With fewer than 100 days until Election Day, the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign has posited a simple and nefarious explanation for recent damaging stories about intra-party turmoil over Trump’s feud with Gold Star parents, his deteriorating standing in national and swing-state polls, a positive U.S. jobs report in July, and his wife’s plagiarism: The “Clinton machine” is orchestrating them all.
    Last week, Trump took it a step further by suggesting, without evidence, that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her allies may steal the election.
    “What Trump has revealed is that there are parts of the Republican base that are not connected to the mainstream of the Republican Party, and those folks seem susceptible and receptive to conspiracy theories,” said Mark Fenster, a law professor at the University of Florida and author of the 2008 book “Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture.”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-08-08/trump-sees-wide-ranging-clinton-machine-conspiracy-to-steal-election

  2. Putsch says:

    Donald Trump said at a rally today that “second amendment people” might be the only ones who could stop Hillary Clinton, specifically her ability to nominate Supreme Court justices:
    “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is.”
    The remark, referring to the constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to bear arms, was seen by many critics as an incitement to violent action. Threatening violence against presidential candidates is a federal crime. In a statement, the US Secret Service said it is “aware” of Trump’s remarks. http://qz.com/754547/donald-trump-says-second-amendment-people-may-need-to-stop-hillary-clinton/ Includes video of Trump’s statement. Predictably the National Rifle Assn stood by Trump in a tweet, saying .@RealDonaldTrump is right. If @HillaryClinton gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary

    • Clockwork elf says:

      “Donald Trump and his campaign C.E.O., Steve Bannon, seem more interested in creating a post-election platform for a new ethno-nationalist politics than they do in defeating Hillary Clinton.” http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/steve-bannons-vision-for-the-trump-coalition-after-election-day “…Bannon embraced the growing populist movement in America, including the “alt-right,” a new term for white nationalists, who care little about traditional conservative economic ideas and instead stress the need to preserve America’s European heritage and keep out non-whites and non-Christians. Under Bannon, Breitbart promoted similar movements in Europe, including the United Kingdom Independence Party, the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands. Bannon likes to say that his goal is “to build a global, center-right, populist, anti-establishment news site.” After the election is over, Breitbart, which has offices in London and Rome, plans to open up new bureaus in France and Germany.”

  3. Abyss says:

    “Trump Goes to War : As the campaign descends into chaos, the Republican nominee lashes out in all directions, consequences be damned.” http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/trump-at-war/504068/ “Worst-Case Trump : What if losing the election only makes him stronger?” https://newrepublic.com/article/137076/worst-case-trump “Donald Trump Is Setting a Time Bomb : His calls for racial voter intimidation on Election Day could explode in all our faces.” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/10/donald_trump_is_setting_a_time_bomb_for_racial_violence_on_election_day.html

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