The final presidential debate is just hours away and expectations couldn’t be lower. Hillary Clinton is leading nationally and Trump’s campaign is struggling even in reliably red states. The debate is unlikely to influence the outcome of the election but the Trump campaign and its supporters are doing their best to dent Clinton’s lead.
Donald Trump has already hardened his rhetoric about election rigging. While most Republicans and elections officials have flatly denied that the election will be rigged, Trump and his core supporters seem determined to deny the legitimacy of the election if Trump loses.
But voter fraud isn’t the only conspiracy theory circling the drain of the presidential election. Clinton has been dogged by what she once called ‘the vast right-wing conspiracy’ for years. Trump supporters who wear ‘Lock Her Up’ t-shirts seem prepared to believe anything about Clinton, no matter how outlandish.
One old idea has recently resurfaced. Hillary Clinton is secretly a lesbian, so the conspiracy goes, and she is in a clandestine relationship with her long-time adviser Huma Abedin. According to one version of this conspiracy, Abedin is an agent of the Muslim brotherhood. Clinton’s secret homosexuality is used to explain how she stayed with Bill despite his affairs.
Donald Trump has indulged in Clinton conspiracy theories both tacitly and more recently as part of his campaign pitch. Trump’s recent claim that Clinton has conspired with international banks to rob the US of its sovereignty play well to his base, but turn off moderates and undecided voters. Trump may find it impossible to avoid raising his election rigging conspiracy in tonight’s debate. That’s a strategy that will do him more harm than good.