Donald Trump’s campaign is in a free-fall. Poll numbers are down for the presidential nominee. He has turned into a laughingstock for political cartoonists and satirists. And, a glance at Trump’s twitter feed reveals that he is receiving far more negative comments to his tweets than positive praises from his followers. Even Republican leaders, whom we have disagreed with and even mocked on this site, are turning their backs on Trump.
Trump’s latest act of desperation is a strategic move during the meltdown of a lifetime. Donald Trump does not “go gentle into that good night.” As his bid for the presidency dies, Trump rages on.
Trump doubled-down on his claim that the system is rigged, this time saying it’s not just the biased liberal media that is out to get him, nor is it just the Republican leaders who have refused or removed endorsement. Oh no, now it’s “large scale voter fraud” that will be happening “on and before election day.”
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
He added that little jab in there at the end for Paul Ryan whose press secretary said the Speaker of the House is “fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”
While I realize facts don’t matter to Donald Trump, they really DO matter. Of course, his claims aren’t anything new. Republicans across the country have continued to perpetuate an idea that our election system is unsafe and voters need to face more scrutiny at the polls on election day, even though studies have shown little evidence that “large scale voter fraud is happening” at all.
Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School completed a wide-range analysis of voter fraud allegations in the United States and concluded:
“Usually, only a tiny portion of the claimed illegality is substantiated — and most of the remainder is either nothing more than speculation or has been conclusively debunked.”
Lorraine Minnite of Columbia University studied instances of voter fraud and concluded:
“A review of news stories over a recent two year period found that reports of voter fraud were most often limited to local races and individual acts and fell into three categories: unsubstantiated or false claims by the loser of a close race, mischief and administrative or voter error.”
There is no mass voter fraud happening in the United States electoral system.
So, why does Donald Trump want to make these dubious claims? Perhaps the Republican Presidential Candidate’s motive is far greater than simply sour grapes.
Julie Pace, who writes for the Associated Press, says:
“One of his last hopes of winning the election is to suppress turnout by making these final weeks so repulsive to voters that some just stay home. Trump advisers privately say they hope to turn off young people in particular. This group leans Democratic but doesn’t have a long history of voting and is already skeptical of Clinton.”
Yes, that’s right. He hopes these claims will convince our youth that the system is so ugly, they should really just sit this one out. Decreasing the confidence in our process to peacefully elect and change the leadership of our country promotes the idea that the system is broken and the basis of our democracy is flawed. He is doing that while stoking the embers of anger in his “American Patriot” base who already believe their country was “stolen from them.”
Which speaks to another possible motivation of his latest meltdown talking point.
If he happens to lose to Hillary Clinton, he can stand on the “I told you so” argument, perhaps not only furthering a divided nation, but actually splintering it and burning it to the ground. Trump and his ilk use innuendo of armed civil unrest and confirmation from his most extreme supporters that they are ready to violently fight to further promote the threat and fear of a violent revolt. Well, that’s not sour grapes. “Sour grapes” is when the loser says they didn’t want to win anyway. Oh no, what Trump is prepping for is far more malice. He is setting up his revenge. He is inciting his most loyal followers to carry out the acts of that revenge.
And, wouldn’t that be just so Trumpian? As a serial power abuser, the “if I can’t have her, no one can” mentality applied to a country for which he is fighting to lead is exactly how Trump plans to go out.
If that doesn’t prove Trump’s “love of country” is only “love of self,” I don’t know what will.
Featured image via Getty Images/Brian Blanco/Stringer