Donald Trump is playing with a fire that could spread to the foundation of our democracy: the credibility of electoral results. The Republican presidential candidate’s allegation that the election is rigged against him just three weeks before the November 8 vote is a desperate act that may have serious repercussions during and after the event.
In Trump’s lexicon, there is no worse insult than “loser.” Nevertheless, he is poised to be defeated in the ballot if the results shown by current polls materialize. A loss is out of the question for Trump’s gigantic ego, which is why – in his view – if he loses, it is because someone cheated.
Trump’s impatience makes that message resonate increasingly louder. Democrats, Republicans, the media, bankers and global leaders are all “against him;” he sees himself as a victim. He tells his fervent followers that an attack on him is an attack on them.
In Trump’s imaginary conspiracy, the voting system operates against him; undocumented people are being brought to the United States to quickly become naturalized for this election. Rumors of boxes full of votes for Hillary Clinton in key states are already being spread.
In the face of this “threat,” Trump is asking his followers to watch voting sites, which, according to what some of them have told the media, means intimidating African-American, Latino and non-English-speaking voters.
Actually, the irregularities looming in the horizon work in his favor, as this will be the first election in which a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act will not be in effect, one that has allowed 17 states to restrict access to the ballot.
The U.S. voting system has issues such as the archaic Electoral College, but the fraud Trump is referring to is as absurd as his conspiracy theory that has everyone going against him. The danger lies in his followers believing everything he says and expecting him to win. More than once they have stated that there will be a revolution and violence if the millionaire loses. This barbarism is unacceptable.
This is unimaginable in our democracy. The claim that the election can be stolen must be condemned by all. The system depends on respecting election results. Such basic principle sits above everything else, even above a candidate’s ego and pathological narcissism.