Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: The Whining Dictator Wannabe

Trump continues to push the idea that the election is rigged and massive voter fraud is underway, including millions of dead people voting for his opponents.  In more and more specific recruitment of supporters to "monitor" voters in African American and other minority precincts, he is encouraging intimidation and fanning the flames of potential violence.  In questioning the integrity of the voting process, he is suggesting to some that he will refuse to concede or recognize the legitimacy of the outcome.

These are the words and actions of an incipient or at least wannabe dictator.  And in this respect at least, the tawdy buffoon of 2016 is being taken very seriously.

The rigged election charge is at least an opportunity for more people to learn the safeguards in place that make it impossible, at least in the sense he means it.  (Suppressing the vote, or perhaps even fiddling with electronic voting or tabulation in key areas are other matters.)

For example, a Slate article details what many are saying--that trying to steal an election in the Trump manner is insane.  NBC shows how dead people don't vote, at least in any numbers significant enough to change a presidential election result (maybe an alderman.)  

As for the effects just the charges themselves may be having, there's evidence that many Trump supporters--including members of the RNC--believe them.  But some analysts also suggest that the idea is just as likely--if not more likely--to discourage Trump's voters from actually voting than discouraging anyone else.

One analyst compares poll results and writes that confidence in election integrity is actually higher now than in 2012, because by and large the percentage of Republicans who believe their votes and all votes will be counted has remained about the same, while the percentage of Democrats who believe that has increased--to such an extent to raise the total.

However the possibility of intimidation and even violence at polling places is being taken seriously.  This TPM article details the possibilities and the applicable laws and regulations, including gun laws, and an existing federal consent decree that specifically applies to the RNC and any attempts to disrupt voting in minority areas.  Because they've been trying that for a long time, well before Trump.

The NYTimes however asserts that Trump's call for poll watchers has no real organizational structure and so far little organized result: "Republican and election officials in cities and states that Mr. Trump has singled out for potential widespread voter fraud, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Ohio, said his message to supporters to become poll watchers had generated scant response."
"His call to monitor polling places betrays an ignorance of election laws in most states, which require poll watchers to be registered in the county or precinct where they operate.  Even though Mr. Trump’s website includes a form to sign up as a poll watcher and “help me stop Crooked Hillary from rigging this election,” local officials in battleground states said they had seen no surge by Trump supporters seeking to be certified poll watchers."

However, it's the freelancers who just show up, perhaps even armed, that are the real worry.  It's a particular problem due to Pennsylvania law, which among other things allows people to gather within ten feet of a polling place.

As for Trump refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the election outcome, Dana Milbank at the WPost sets out the case that we might be in for a "civil war."  But also in the Post, Greg Sargent's Plum Line is headlined: Arsonist Donald Trump wants to torch our democracy. He will fail.  Though he agrees that Trump may intend a kind of civil war, he believes the outcome will be a convincing Clinton victory--"And Trump’s rantings will look increasingly marginal and buffoonish as we move past this ugly election and, hopefully, on to better times ahead."

So say we all, hopefully.

President Obama had words for whiner Trump and other matters, presented in the next post.  So stay tuned.

Two more national polls show Hillary with a high single digit lead.  Interesting state poll shows Clinton behind in Texas by only three points.

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