The Danger With Trump's "Election Rigging" Talk

Even if he doesn't win, Donald Trump has still done untold damage to our country.

His sexist rhetoric, xenophobic appeals to white nationalists, and all-out embrace of the far-right fringe have mainstreamed a kind of hateful politics that will take a long time to get rid of.

But the most damaging part of the Trump campaign, at least in the long run, could end up being what he's doing right now.

As his presidential prospects continue to fade, Donald Trump has resorted to spreading conspiracies theories about voter fraud.

He now says at his rallies that the election will be "rigged"

So-called responsible Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have, of course, tried to distance themselves from this kind of rhetoric.

In a statement to Buzzfeed, his press secretary said that, "Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity."

This sounds nice, but it's really a bunch of BS.

What Trump is saying right now about voter fraud is no different than what other Republicans have been saying for years -- he's just added his own Trumpian flair to it.

And what's dangerous about all this talking about rigged elections isn't the fact that it undermines the confidence in election results, it's the fact that it empowers the forces in our society who actually ARE trying to undermine our democracy, and yes, rig our elections.

I'm talking, of course, about Republicans.

Since the Koch-backed wave elections of 2010, the Republican Party, the party that Donald Trump will represent on the ballot on November 8, has waged an all-out war on voting in America.

In state after state it's forced through voter suppression law after voter suppression law, mostly in the form of voter suppression ID laws, the sole purpose of which is to keep minority and thus Democratic-leaning voters away from the polls, since young people, elderly people, poor people, and people who live in big cities and don't own cars disproportionately lack the type of IDs needed to vote.

This isn't some sort of conspiracy theory, either.

Republicans openly admit that these voter suppression ID laws are about rigging elections in their favor.

Back in April, for example, Republican Wisconsin Congressman Glenn Grothman admitted the truth about his state's new voter ID law in an interview with a local TV station.

Voter suppression ID laws, though, are just the beginning.

Republicans have also cut back on early voting, same-day registration, and preregistration, all in an obvious attempt to suppress the vote of Democrats.

They've also thrown their weight behind Interstate Crosscheck, a scheme led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach that supposedly prevents double voting, but actually just throws millions people of color off the voter rolls.

Investigative Greg Palast explained the insidious thinking behind Interstate Crosscheck during a recent appearance on this program.

So how are Republicans able to get away with such transparent rigging of elections in their favor?

Easy -- they've convinced wide swaths of the American public that elections are already rigged by something completely different - this time called, "voter fraud."

So-called "voter fraud" is the stated reason for every single one of the voter suppression measures Republicans forced through in recent years, and it's the basic building block of Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about the "stolen" 2016 presidential election.

The only problem with the Republican assertion, however, is that voter fraud doesn't actually exist, at least not in any meaningful way.

A recent study out of Loyola University found just 31 credible cases of voter fraud out of more than a billion ballots cast in the decade-and-a-half between 2000 and 2014.

The truth is that voter fraud is a pretext, a pretext to rig elections in the single largest assault on democracy we've seen in more than a century.

This is what's so dangerous about Donald Trump's talk about "rigged elections."

If, as is likely the case, he loses in an historic landslide on November 8, his supporters will have a ready-made excuse to explain away that defeat, one that will conveniently blame minorities and Democrats, not their own candidate's very obvious flaws.

And while that's problematic enough on its own, the real problem with Trump's rigged election talk is that it will give Republican legislatures all across the country a new justification to ramp up their war on young people, minorities, and older people voting.

The base will want it because Trump will have primed them for it, and so will the party establishment, because they've always worked to suppress the vote.

In other words, by complaining about a rigged election, Trump is helping the Republican Party ensure even more badly rigged elections - where young people, people of color, and older people can't vote - in the near future.


stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 36 weeks ago

I have often compared Trump to Hitler; I've come to the conclusion the comparison is unfair. Trump IS Hitler...reincarnated!

We are in so much trouble.

cccccttttt 7 years 36 weeks ago

Tom's talk of voter suppression laws is why I am an independent.

Nations all over the world have voter ID.

If the process is not vetted, then how can there be any confidence in the outcome?


Robertcd's picture
Robertcd 7 years 36 weeks ago

Always a troll mr cccctttt. Voter fraud has never ever been shown to be an issue. But the fact the Republicans have, ironicslly, been the ones trying as hard as they can to rig elections themselves. And now we have extreme racists thinking they can and will try and force their sick way on the rest of us. I hope you aren't on board with that.

Uncle Ralph's picture
Uncle Ralph 7 years 36 weeks ago

Trump has done a lot of damage to our country and its electoral process. So has Hillary with her pandering to special interests on the sly. That does irreparable or barely reparable damage to people's confidence in the democratic process, at least people who have less than $300 million to spend on an election. I am definitely not voting for Hillary; I'm voting against Trump. If I had Bernie to vote for, I would have no interest in or sympathy for Hillary Clinton at all.

But let's not forget who has damaged our democracy the most: our media. I don't mean the "liberal mainstream media" or the "right wing wacko media;" I mean all of the media, all of the for-profit media who fall all over themselves in pursuit of a titillating story that will prop up a narrative that they decided on last year. And I lump all of the "public" broadcasters and all of the "progressive" media outlets right in there with the whole mess. Sure, Wasserman-Schultz and her merry band of grifters did what they could to foul the waters of the Democratic primary process, but the media were right there covering every single word that preceded from the mouth of Trump in quadruplicate, for days or until he said something else, while they completely ignored---YES, IGNORED!---the ground swell of support that was there for Bernie Sanders in 2015. Rallies that drew twenty and twenty five thousand people, often several thousand over the venue's capacity, went totally unreported BY ANYONE in favor of a phone call from The Donald to a Sunday morning news show.

Trump is dumber than dirt and a lout of galactic proportions. Hillary is a life-long corporatist who will probably forget any progressive promises she had to make on the fly to get elected as soon as she settles into the Oval Office and begins welcoming the parade of Wall Street bankers and middle east oil magnates who are her true constituents.

But it is the US media that really, really failed us this time. They failed us by pandering to us. We want a juicy story. We don't want news; we want a narrative. In the past, it was the Fourth Estate's roll to be the adult in the room. Now there isn't one and things are going straight to . . .

Kend's picture
Kend 7 years 36 weeks ago

I live in a country that requires showing ID to vote. What is the big deal. I am 54 and I was asked for ID to buy beer in Atlanta last month.

PhilipHenderson's picture
PhilipHenderson 7 years 36 weeks ago

Republicans in Congress have been behaving as if they were a domestic terrorist organization ever since the election of President Barack H Obama. Minority Senate Leader promised Republicans that he and his fellow Republican Senators would do everything they could to ensure that Obama was a one term president. They meant to obstruct every good intention of the president and the people who elected him even when to do so would harm the public. Senator McConnell did do everything he could do to de-legitimatize the adminstration of president Obama. These Republicans were the worst sore losers one can imagine. They stirred the ground for a person like DJT to arise as their leader. He is saying and doing everything they have said the past 7 years except on steroids. The Republican Party created a clear path for DJT. He belongs to them.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 36 weeks ago

In a study done from 1992 - 2008 republican recorded votes exceeded the exit poll data in 226 out of 274 state elections. So yes, there's election fraud, but it's almost always in favor of the party Trump represents. However I do agree that voter fraud is nearly non existent.

Hillary has to win by more than 5 percent in the swing states to actually win them. This is common knowledge in some circles.

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 7 years 36 weeks ago

President Obama encourages everyone to vote but is not pursuing Litigation against voter suppression.
It would Expose the truth about election fraud.
I think the Democrats are doing the country and themselves a huge disservice by not being more aggressive in pursuing prosecution of Election Fraud.

bobcix's picture
bobcix 7 years 36 weeks ago

The recent article on the 13year old girl being raped by a Donald Trump may have been another person since the Prosecuting Attorney's charges were for a Donald J. Trump, not the Donald A. Trump running for president.

Many Republicans like to waste money making spurious charges about fraud. Then they spend money on unnecessary military equipment that has not been tested out sufficiently and therefore are dangerous for out military people to use.

Unnecessary wars kill more Americans than some of the necessary activities.

The lack of responsibility of corporations is the primary reason I continue to consider myself a progressive and want government regulations.

dr818dr's picture
dr818dr 7 years 36 weeks ago

Under the heading of all of this or all of that is voter ID laws. Clearly the purpose of Republican voter ID laws is voter supression. But just as clear is the Democrats refusal to implement any ID requirements. They ahve no problem with illegal alien voters.

While massive voter fraud is both unproven and difficult to accomplish Dems should remember Florida in 2000. A couple of hundred votes cast fraudulently by Bush voters could have been the difference in that election (notwithstanding all of the other crap that went on).

So it wouldn necessarilly take thousands or tens of thousands of votes to change the course of history.

Clearly a voter ID law that took 10 years to begin should not present an undue burden on anyone. If your ID cannot be verified in that amount of time you probably aren't who you say you are.

I'm sure if somehow Trump won the election because of a few votes in Nevada or New Hampshire and there was some evidence of voter fraud the Dems would go beserk.

A few weeks ago I received an unsolicited package from the California Secretary of State inviting me to register to vote. I've been a registered voter in California since I moved here in 1989 and at my current address since 1998 and I've voted in every election.

What was that all about? Maybe an honest mistake; maybe not.

Legend 7 years 36 weeks ago

ID should be reasonably priced and available to all that qualify. A passport is a form of national ID but they are not reasonably priced.

As far as Trumps rhetoric he is setting up his TV show in the future. He will complain about everything that Hilary does. I also think that he is setting up a run by one of his sons or his son in law.

bobcix's picture
bobcix 7 years 35 weeks ago

The problem is that we think we are a Democracy but we arn't. We are an Oligarchy, controlled by the large money people who own the media and control how that media is being used to control, or negate the electorate.

How to change this?

My suggestion is to required all registered individuals be counted. Each slate of proposed electable officials would have to include "None of the above" and if that category was the greatest in count of registered voters, then none of the presented slate, including current holders of the office, would be elected and the next voting opportunity, preferable no more than 4 weeks later, would have to be an entirely new slate of candidates. If a person did not actively vote for one of the existing candidates, his/her vote wuld be counted in the "None of the above" slot. Existing candidates, now holding the office could be voted out. the candidates would be more interested in getting the registered voters opinion and satisfying their political needs than the moneyed interests.

sacredori's picture
sacredori 7 years 35 weeks ago

It's not voter fraud that's the problem, it's election fraud. There were plenty of indicators of election fraud in the democratic primaries. Perhaps you should pay more attention to that Thom.

sacredori's picture
sacredori 7 years 35 weeks ago

The big deal is that we don't have national ID. We only have state ID's that cost money to get, which disenfranchises poor people. Not to mention that some states have divested in DMV's that do those ID's in some regions that are mostly minority and poor, which requires them to go out of town to get ID, and there is no public transportation to get there. So these voter ID laws are used strategically to disenfranchise people who are likely to vote democrat. This kind of voter disenfranchisement can turn an election. Something else you probably don't realize, we also have a lot of elderly people that don't have a valid birth certificate! That's because states didn't start requiring central filing of birth and death certificates at a state bureau of vital statistics until after WWII. My dad doesn't have a valid birth certificate. He was born at home. No birth certificate, no ID. You start to see the problem now?

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 35 weeks ago

Screw voting for Trump or Clinton.

Write in votes for Bernie Sanders!!!

Legend 7 years 35 weeks ago

A vote for Bernie is a vote for Trump. Listen to Bernie, he is campaigning for Hilary. Vote blue no matter who. The Supreme Court, The Democratic Platform and keeping Trump out are to important.

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