Claims of a ‘rigged’ election are dangerous
Critics are past counting the racially and ethnically charged, sexually appalling and ignorant utterances of Donald Trump. Citizens might be excused for ignoring one more, expecting that he will lose his oddball presidential bid next month, and all danger
Donald Trump’s recent claims about a “rigged” election in favor of his opponent are dangerous.
But with his absurd recent incantations about the election being “rigged” in favor of his opponent, Trump is trying, like some Joker character emerging from the bowels of the city, to set into motion future chaos in our democracy. He continues to say that if he loses, electoral fraud will be at fault, not his own careening campaign, even after his own vice-presidential pick, Mike Pence, tried to reassure Americans that of course the ticket would accept the electoral results in November.
For all the tumult of past campaigns, no major presidential candidate has ever implied that if he were to lose, it would be due to skulduggery from within the impartial voting system itself. That’s a scenario out of a Cold War Balkan Communist country, not out of the United States of America. Our election system, which has its faults — gerrymandering, campaign spending, among others — is still a shining beacon of fairness to the world.
Not a single expert on the way Americans elect our president believes that electoral fraud could ever, under the current system, “rig” an election in favor of one candidate or another. Essentially, it would be impossible to engineer a widespread changing of millions or even hundreds of thousands of votes, every seasoned observer of every political stripe says, precisely because the American system is almost completely decentralized.
“We have made it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” says Jon Husted, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state.
And yet Trump continues to say, as he did last week, that the best electoral system in the world is “one big fix” and “one big ugly lie.”
Where the real danger comes in is in Trump’s calls for his supporters to head to polling places in neighborhoods they somehow view as questionable — read, lived in by minorities — and act as vigilante election observers keeping out the riff-raff.
GOP elections attorney Chris Ashby says that trying to call into question the legitimacy of the electoral process could be “destabilizing” to our nation. “That’s going to create a disturbance and, played out in polling places around the country, it has the potential to destabilize the election, which is very, very dangerous,” Ashby says.
Loyola Law School election expert Jessica Levinson told Madeleine Brand on KCRW’s “Press Play” Monday that “what Trump is doing is really inciting people ... to look to see if (other voters) are going to vote for someone else . ... We have federal and state laws that prevent voter intimidation. If anyone is trying to rig an election, it’s this loose talk aimed at preventing people from coming out to vote.”
Our election system, which has its faults, is still a shining beacon of fairness to the world.
GOP elections attorney Chris Ashby says that trying to call into question the legitimacy of the electoral process could be “destabilizing” to our nation.