Even before the election takes place Donald Trump is claiming that the election is rigged and that if he loses, it’s because the voting is fixed. Why is he doing this? Is it to stir up his supporters to get them to the polls, encourage them to contribute to his campaign, have them actively participate to convince other voters to back him? None of these possibilities really hold much water.
The Donald is claiming the system is rigged so that if he loses, he won’t be known as a “loser.” This is the worst epithet in the Trump lexicon, and no matter what happens, he doesn’t want to be called a loser. If he convinces others that the system is rigged, he may not be thought of that way. (But no matter how you cut it, he will still be a loser.)
Though he obviously doesn’t care, Trump’s declaration that the voting is fixed is bad for America and for the democratic system. It makes the nation look bad in the eyes of the rest of the world, particularly in those nations where autocrats rule. People like Putin and Xe can take Trump’s statements as truth and use it in their propaganda to show that democracy is not really what it’s cracked up to be. Free elections are not really free and the outcome is pre-ordained by the people who run “the system.” Other nations can use his statements as well for anti-American propaganda and to criticize democracy.
Trump can also employ his claims to dispute the results of the election, to ask for recounts and challenge the vote totals in various areas. It can diminish the legitimacy of Hillary’s presidency as well if she wins, with some people convinced that she wasn’t really the victor. (Trump played the same game with his birther claims to contest the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency by stating that he was not born in America, was not a citizen, and was a Muslim, trying to destroy his public image.)
There is a possibility that some people will believe Trump’s claims and may be more inclined to vote for him, thinking that the system is unfair. More worrisome is that some of his supporters may not acquiesce to a Trump loss, particularly if the vote is close. If they assume that the election was rigged, they may institute civil disobedience actions that make the nation, or portions of it, difficult to govern. They might also foment an insurrection against the federal government, an armed rebellion that could take the form of guerilla warfare or a direct military confrontation. Trump’s supporters include all the white supremacists and militia groups that are armed to the teeth. They could raise a formidable army to fight for Trump if the circumstances were right. All of them hate Hillary and the Democrats and the right spark could ignite them. And seeing how Trump has been conducting his campaign, he could be the one to provide that spark. The narcissist in him might not be able to resist it.
It is imperative that the media be more aggressive contesting Trump’s remarks about election rigging, whether the editors, correspondents and owners have a conservative or liberal outlook. It is not something that demands neutrality as his comments are untrue and damage the nation. Trump has been playing with fire since the onset of his campaign with his nativist and populist remarks, and focus on identity politics. His claims of election rigging have upset people in both the GOP and Democratic parties, with uncertainty about where he is going with this. It’s another example of Trump’s instability and his unworthiness to hold the presidency. No matter what he says and how he tries to shape the narrative, Trump is a danger to America and the democratic process.
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