Donald Trump’s campaign took a rapid nosedive toward the ground two weeks ago, following the release of a tape depicting him boasting about sexually assaulting women and being able to get away with it due to his star status. In the immediate aftermath, at least nine women went to various media outlets to report incidents in which the Republican nominee had sexually assaulted them. Some women claimed that Trump had reached beneath their clothing and touched their genitalia without any hint of consent, and others allege that Trump forcefully kissed them without their permission. With these claims mounting against him and the sense that his campaign was going straight down the drain, Trump picked up a new and dangerous tactic: say that the election is intrinsically rigged against him and blame the democratic system for his shortcomings.
"The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places – SAD,” tweeted Trump. He continued to push the narrative, claiming at a rally last Friday that the media, Wall Street, and political Establishments from both parties were corrupt and rigged against him. Continuing to question the democratic process, Trump made the unfounded claim that voter fraud would mire this year’s election results. "Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” he tweeted earlier today.
Leading Republicans have come out against Trump’s claims, urging the American people to remain confident in the democratic system that has upheld this country since its very founding. According to Politico, “Paul Ryan’s office over the weekend appeared to further undermine Trump’s message that the election is being engineered in Clinton’s favor, coming out with a statement on Saturday saying Ryan is “fully confident” in the election system.”
Even Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, is at odds with Trump’s claims that the election will be rigged. "We will absolutely accept the result of the election," he said in an interview this weekend. This split between Trump and Pence follows another from last week, in which Pence sharply condemned Trump’s behavior in the tape, indicating that even Trump’s vice presidential pick cannot support the candidate through this mess.
Undoubtedly, Trump will continue to spew this narrative over the next three weeks leading up to Election Day. Experts warn that this may have a detrimental effect on voter turnout, as some Americans may believe that their vote is effectively worthless and ultimately not turn out as a result of Trump’s claims.
What do you think about Trump alleging that the election will be rigged?