In the face of falling poll numbers and increasing sexual assault allegations, Republican presidential nominee and seemingly sore loser Donald Trump is having a very public meltdown.
The media mogul spent much of the last few days trying to invoke a global conspiracy. He seems convinced that everything — including the polls, the media and even the electoral system — is “rigged” against him. He has repeatedly lambasted his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for trying to steal the elections from him, despite the lack of any evidence whatsoever.
“There is tremendous voter fraud. And how Republican leadership doesn’t see that is beyond me,” Trump told Fox News before a rally in Wisconsin. He later went onstage and warned the crowd, “So many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common.”
He is now trying to convince his supporters, most of whom are just as racist and xenophobic as the man they follow, that “illegal immigrants” are to blame for voter fraud.
The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016
Trump is openly trying to delegitimize the electoral process and encouraging his fans to refuse the election results (if he loses to Clinton) because the game was rigged since the beginning.
As Allen Raymond, the author of “How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative,” puts it: this is “an existential threat to the republic.”
Donald Trump may never admit it, but he has himself to blame for his plummeting poll numbers.
Following his 2005 “Access Hollywood” audio clip, where the former reality TV star bragged about grabbing and molesting women, or the release of another disturbing 1992 video clip where the White House hopeful made lewd comments about a 10-year-old girl, many women have come forward with sexual abuse and harassment allegations against him.
It is not just his predatory activities and pedophilic remarks, his demeaning attitude towards minorities (he called Mexicans rapists – twice!), women (he called them pigs, dogs and slobs) and Muslims (proposed to ban them from entering the United States) also contributed to his beleaguered campaign.
Trump supporters actually believe him:
A recent poll by Politico and Morning Consult revealed 73 percent of Republicans fear rigged election compared with just 17 percent of Democrats. Overall, 41 percent of registered voters believe Clinton could steal the election from Trump.
These results, albeit disturbing, are proof that voters tend to agree with their chosen candidates, no matter how nonsensical or absurd their rhetoric is.
Secondly, since the Republican Party has made similar claims various times over the past decade, these claims are not shocking for conservatives.
It is not easy to rig the system:
Despite everything that Trump has said, it is not easy to rig the American electoral system. In fact, voter fraud is almost nonexistent in the country.
A comprehensive study by Justin Levitt, a professor at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and an expert in constitutional law and the law of democracy, found only 31 instances of possible impersonation between 2000 and 2014. More than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period.
Another comprehensive study on voter fraud also corroborated Levitt’s findings.
“Voter fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud in elections relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators,” said the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
Fifty separate sets of state officials organize the United States presidential election with a variety of different rules and processes. On the ground level, thousands of different people (of every possible political affiliation) run these elections.
The process is so decentralized and fragmented that it is impossible for anyone to rig it at the ballot box.
The supposed “rigging” can most certainly not swing a presidential election.
Why the GOP is responsible for this:
The Republican Party has been beating the “election fraud” drum for a very long time.
As The Washington Post writes, “Trump takes something Republicans have implied or tried to subtly exploit, and presents it in a much more literal, and often vulgar, way. The idea comes under greater scrutiny, and it becomes impossible for any sensible observer to treat it as though it isn’t factually bogus, morally despicable, or both.”
After Barack Obama became president in 2008, several Republican lawmakers and conservative media outlets made aggressive claims that ACORN — an organization that focused in part on registering minorities and poor people to vote — was stealing elections by engaging in mass-scale election fraud.
ACORN went out of business in 2010.
However, even then, then-GOP nominee John McCain warned that the non-existent organization “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”
The sentiments resurfaced after Obama’s second win in 2012, which, in turn, led to states designing voter restrictions — ranging from strict photo ID requirements to limiting voting times — targeting African Americans and Hispanics.
Fourteen states passed the extraordinary vote suppression regulations, aimed primarily at minorities, under the guise of monitoring election fraud, just in time for the 2016 election.
A North Carolina judge said the Republicans constructed the voter restrictions to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”
Donald Trump freaking out over supposedly fraudulent system, for which there is no evidence, is akin to a child’s tantrum over losing a game — because, let’s be honest, that is what this presidential election is to him, right?
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst