Donald Trump complained about the “unfair” and “rigged” GOP primary system this year. Until he won. It should be noted that he made no effort to fix the system, once he had control of the convention and rules. Now that he’s in the general election, Trump is once again talking about the entire American political system as being “fixed” and “rigged,” according to the conservative Washington Examiner.
At one point during the primary, the Republican presidential nominee threatened to sue the Louisiana GOP over its “unfair” delegate allocation rules. Trump also accused Democrats of rigging their own nominating contest to deny Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders a legitimate chance at beating Hillary Clinton.
Monday was the first time, however, that Trump has claimed the general election might be rigged in favor of his Democratic opponent. The suggestion came minutes before a new national CNN/ORC survey showed him trailing Clinton 45 to 37 percent.
Politico reported the same thing.
“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” Trump said at the rally. He repeated the riff Monday night at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and again Tuesday morning onstage in Ashburn, Virginia. “We gotta beat a totally dishonest machine,” he said, pointing to the lack of federal charges against Hillary Clinton after the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server as another data point buttressing his broader case. “It’s a disgrace to our country that she got away with it. It’s a crooked system. We’re running against a rigged system, and we’re running against a dishonest media.”
Asserting, specifically, that November’s election will be “rigged” is, all at once: the musing of a candidate who often gives credence to conspiracy theories; a talking point aimed at a disaffected electorate; a presidential candidate, following a dip in the polls, contemplating defeat; an effort to delegitimize the democratic process that could bring that defeat to bear; and a thinly veiled threat by a litigious billionaire to contest such an election result in court. . .
“Ever since the 2000 presidential election, a percentage of Americans have believed the system was rigged. And that percentage has grown as politicians discovered the power of that phrase and used it more and more often,” said GOP pollster Frank Luntz. “Trump is masterful at appropriating powerful language from others. He jumped on the politically correct bandwagon at the first debate, and it’s one of the reasons he won the nomination. His words are the words of alienated Americans, and that’s why he has done so well up to this point.”
Then Trump claimed the debate schedule was rigged to force watchers to have to decide between two of the debates or NFL football games. But, of course, the debate schedule was set a year ago, and the NFL schedule was announced a half year later. Maybe it’s a plot by the NFL? We reported about it here.
Now, Trump is focusing on individual states, such as Florida and Pennsylvania, saying he can’t lose unless the system is rigged, according to Business Insider.
“The only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on,” Trump told attendees at a campaign rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania, on Friday.
“The only way they can beat it, in my opinion, and I mean this 100%, is if in certain sections of the state they cheat,” he added. . .
Poll numbers in Pennsylvania are not favoring him at the moment.
Clinton is leading Trump by as much as 11 points overall there, according to the four most recent polls in the state featured on RealClearPolitics this week.
Now, Trump’s people are repeating the primary warning before the convention—that there will be riots if he doesn’t win, according to McClatchy.
“If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will be no longer the government,” Trump ally Roger Stone said last week on “The Milo Yiannopolous Show.”
Stone, who formerly served as Trump’s political adviser, added that “the government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”. . .
The “rigged” storyline has, moreover, seemingly accelerated this week.
“I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged,” Trump told the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity on Monday. “And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.”. . .
“I mean, people are going to walk in, they are going to vote 10 times maybe,” Trump said in an interview on “The O’Reilly Factor” on the Fox News Channel. “I am very concerned and I hope the Republicans are going to be very watchful, and I hope the authorities are going to be very watchful.”
When Trump says, “watching closely,” and “very watchful,” he has gone on to say that his supporters should become poll watchers—and even have law enforcement officers at the polls.
“We have to call up law enforcement, and we have to have the sheriffs, and the police chiefs, and everybody watching,”
Trump’s website has made it a way to encourage involvement—and funding.
The Manhattan billionaire even encouraged his supporters to “watch and study” people “in certain areas” of the state on Election Day. . . The campaign appeared to dig further into that call to action late Friday night. A sign-up form appeared on the GOP nominee’s website prompting people to volunteer as “Trump election observers.”
Users who fill out the form are directed to a donation page.
That sounds a lot like voter suppression through intimidation, so now, there’s talk of bringing in international monitors to watch an American election, for the first time.
Citing Donald Trump’s controversial call to his supporters to challenge voters at the polls, a leading civil rights group is urging international election monitors to beef up their efforts to observe this November’s U.S. presidential contest.
It’s the latest reflection of deep concern among voting rights advocates about potential voter intimidation and suppression this fall. . .
Trump’s first general election TV ad, released last week, reinforces that message. In its second frame, it shows a polling place, with the words “system rigged” on the screen.
All this has led many voting rights advocates to fear that some Trump supporters, inflamed by their candidate’s rhetoric, could actively try to keep legitimate voters from the polls.
In one potential sign of trouble to come, a Florida-based Trump backer tweeted Friday: “We gonna be ….wear’n red at polls… watch’n fer shenanigans…& haul ya away,” above a photograph of a pickup truck with a cage in the truck bed.