Donald Trump has doubled down on his claim that the November election will be rigged. Speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump told the crowd the only way he could lose the state was due to mass voter fraud. He is currently trailing Hillary Clinton by 10 points.
“We’re gonna watch Pennsylvania,” Trump said. “Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times. The only way we can lose, in my opinion – and I really mean this, Pennsylvania – is if cheating goes on. I really believe it.”
Trump called on his supporters to ‘sort of not just vote’ but actively visit other polling stations to make sure people don’t vote ’10 times maybe’. Trump complained that Pennsylvania’s voter ID law had been struck down. The law was judged to deliberately target racial minorities and Democratic voters in an effort to disenfranchise them.
There is a long history of voter intimidation at polling stations. African-Americans were actively discouraged from voting by whites throughout the Jim Crow era and during the Civil Rights years. Volunteers and police actively intimated minority voters on election day by setting up at polling stations.
Trump’s idea is eerily similar to 1930s Germany. In the years before the Nazis came to power, party volunteers patrolled polling stations and stopped many voters from casting their ballots. Violence was also commonplace. As Trump continues to claim the election will be rigged and his supporters refuse to accept a slew of polls putting him well behind Clinton, the potential for violence is very real.
Instances of voter fraud are statistically insignificant. The type of multiple voting by individuals Trump is describing is not only extremely difficult to pull off but almost never happens. A much more effective way to rig elections is through voter suppression laws like the one Trump has praised in Pennsylvania.
None of this matters to Trump loyalists who see every poll where Clinton leads as rigged by the ‘liberal media’. The right-wing echo chamber continues to argue Trump will win in a landslide unless ‘illegal immigrants and the dead’ get out the vote. Trump is stoking fears and conspiracies that could easily turn into riots.