Donald Trump is losing this election. On every front. The current FiveThirtyEight election forecast shows Hillary Clinton with an 86% chance of winning the election. Trump is just under 14%. The pressure is getting to him and time is running out. In his desperation, Trump is resorting to a familiar theme he has complained about sometimes in different contexts.
Donald Trump and some of his surrogates in the campaign, such as Rudy Giuliani and Senator Jeff Sessions, are beginning to say the electoral process is “rigged” against Trump. That if he loses, it’s not because more people voted for Hillary Clinton, but instead, there was some malfeasance going on to prevent him from rightfully assuming the office of the Presidency.
Trump is not new to complaining about “rigged” systems. This past April, he was whining about the “rigged” primary system despite being ahead at the time. He taunted Senator Ted Cruz over the system being rigged and even when he was sure he was going to win the nomination, he still complained of a rigged system. Trump used it to attack Hillary Clinton in her race against Bernie Sanders. In July, Trump used the term again when he complained two of the Presidential debates were on the same night as NFL games.
In the past, Trump likely used it as a political tool. Bellowing about a rigged system allows for him to lower expectations. Even though he was winning the primary process in April of this year, he still went on a tear about the rigged system that supposedly favored Ted Cruz over him. His tweet in July over the three presidential debates made for lowered expectations as well. Despite clearly being bested by Hillary Clinton in the first debate, Trump went on to claim victory thanks in large part to online polls that favor him such as the Drudge poll. Granted, the Drudge poll would show him winning a debate against Hillary Clinton if all he did was take a dump on the stage.
Still, it allows for Trump to set himself as either:
- The underdog who overcame the odds and the system working against him to win
- A victim of a system that wants to keep him out by any means necessary
Resorting to such tactics, while juvenile, is merely a play on the “outsider” status. Another example would be when Hillary Clinton accused primary opponents in 2008 of being part of “the old boy’s network,” out to get the only woman in the race.
Trump’s attacks on the electoral system are on a whole different level. He is going down a dangerous path and one that strikes at the heart of our Republic. Call it melodramatic if you want, but one of the shining lights of the US political system is the peaceful transfer of power following an election, from mayoral races, all the way up to the US presidency.
Donald Trump has millions of loyal supporters, not just casual voters. If he says he lost because of a rigged system, they will believe him. If he refuses to accept the results saying it was rigged the entire time and he had no chance despite his supposed popularity, what happens?
People supporting Trump have shown what kinds of lengths they will go. I’ve had the ugliest of things said about me on Twitter, and I have received threatening emails. Erick Erickson has dealt with Trump supporters showing up at his house. Some of these thugs have told GOP strategist and Trump critic, Rick Wilson, they would rape his daughter. There is an ugly underbelly among a good number of Trump supporters, and if they believe the election was stolen from Trump, there is no telling what they’d do.
Calling into question the integrity of our electoral system is to equate us to banana republics and dictatorships that hold sham “elections” to make people at the United Nations feel better about themselves. Donald Trump has an obligation to recognize an election loss is not the result of some kind of massive plot against him.
It just means he’s a loser.