There's a vast conspiracy afoot to rob Donald Trump of the presidency. Have you heard about it yet? It’s such a despicable plot that it’s estimated over 50 percent of America’s voters are in on it too.
All of this is being done in secret of course, behind the drawn curtains of the voting booth. Never before have a majority of the nation’s voters so conspired together to ensure a candidate was so soundly defeated. It shouldn’t be allowed.
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before Election Day,” Trump tweeted this week. “Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
When you believe you have been anointed by history to lead a nation, when you have convinced yourself that your political views are the only worthwhile views, it can be unsettling to watch the nation chart a completely different course.
It can be humbling too, which is not a condition we associate with Trump. So he turns to out-there conspiracy theories, rather than turning to face himself. This week he believes he’s going to lose the election because the votes are being rigged against him.
This is paranoid nonsense of course, but when reality isn’t lining up with your wishes that’s all you’re left with, just ask Trump’s bug eyed spin-doctor Alex Jones.
The problem with that is that previous national investigations into vote rigging found only 31 potentially fraudulent ballots in the over one billion votes cast in the United States between 2000 and 2014.
The system works pretty effectively in other words. Voter fraud is practically non-existent here. In fact you’d probably enjoy better odds in a quest to find the Dodo bird.
But Trump’s voters are as incredulous as he is to discover that a majority of Americans simply do not share their views. That’s why a recent poll found that fully half of them believe their votes may not be counted correctly.
They didn’t just arrive at this wild-eyed paranoia on their own. For years now the GOP has been aggressively canvassing for restrictive voter ID laws, particularly in communities that vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, where of course they insist that voter “fraud” is rife.
It would be a neat trick if it worked. First they claim there is widespread fraud, even without evidence to support their claim, and then they take legal action to prevent the fraud, helpfully bolstering their own political candidates in the process.
The federal courts have increasingly been seeing these GOP created voter ID laws for the cynical power grabs they are, and they have undone many of them this year. It has become clear to all that the majority of these fraud allegations are being made against Democratic voters rather than Republicans. The votes are actually being rigged by Republican state governments.
But what kind of presidential candidate casually casts doubt on the integrity of the nations electoral system? I suppose the answer is that you must play to our worst suspicions if you cannot inspire our greatest hopes.
It’s not a small matter to undermine your supporters’ belief in the levers of democracy, however. Democracies only exist if the losing side acknowledges that they have lost and that the majority has spoken.
By hanging a question mark over this foundational aspect of our democracy, Trump is undermining centuries of American tradition in order to protect his own vanity.
It doesn’t matter to him that he can’t substantiate the claims he is making about a rigged vote. It’s not just the voting system that is letting him down, it’s the Republican Party too, he fumes.
Knowing that he’s going to lose, this could all be a face saving preemptive ploy. He didn’t fail, he’ll tell us, the system did. But that still leaves his supporters, few of whom are known for their mastery of political science, feeling cheated and hoodwinked.
Inevitably Trump’s most ardent supporters are now calling for the violent overthrow of any new Clinton administration. Some have even openly called for Clinton’s assassination, in on camera interviews.
Meanwhile in recent weeks, Trump has accused the media, the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the “global power structure” (which variously means the Jews, or the illuminati, or the 12 foot shape shifting lizards who secretly control the world) of conspiring to rig the November election. It’s unprecedented.
Out there in Middle America what it means is that the powerful are sticking to the little guy, but the little guy in the United States has access to unlimited firepower. It’s a profoundly dangerous message to send.
Lamentably, before he ungraciously leaves the national stage Trump has show us that he clearly intends to set it on fire.