The president’s increasingly amped-up rhetoric surrounding the integrity of the November elections has many wondering how he might respond to a defeat.
First he lit into Michigan and Nevada, threatening to withhold federal funding because of his assertion that both states were preparing to commit voter fraud through mail-in ballot applications. Then President Donald Trump followed up Sunday with two more broadly-worded warnings that November would be “the greatest Rigged Election in history.”
“The Democrats are trying to Rig the 2020 Election, plain and simple!” the president claimed.
Trump’s increasingly amped-up rhetoric surrounding the integrity of the November election is beginning to bring to center stage a previously muted conversation. With the president lagging behind Joe Biden in public opinion polls six months before the general election, his opponents are becoming increasingly anxious that Trump may attempt to undermine the results of the election if he loses — or worse, might attempt to cling to power regardless of the outcome.
“He is planting the seeds for delegitimizing the election if he loses,” Vanita Gupta, a former head of DOJ’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama and now president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said on Twitter on Sunday in reaction to Trump’s “rigged election” claim. “It’s from the playbook. It’ll get more intense as he gets more freaked out.”
Trump’s rhetoric isn’t exactly new for him. Dating back even before his entry into electoral politics, the president has had a long preoccupation with voter fraud and “rigged” elections. As a primary candidate, he attributed his Iowa defeat to fraud committed by Sen. Ted Cruz. Even after his general election victory, Trump made unsubstantiated claims of “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California” — three states that he failed to carry — and told congressional leaders that millions of illegal votes were the reason he lost the popular vote.
In one of his first acts as president, Trump created an 11-member commission to study alleged voter fraud. Two years later, amid the GOP’s 2018 wipe-out, he was lodging complaints about “electoral corruption” in Arizona and “missing or forged” ballots in Florida.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.