Donald Trump, who simply cannot fathom losing, is already preparing a narrative in case he loses in November to Hillary Clinton, bewailing that the system is “rigged.”
Speaking on Monday in Ohio, Trump started his lament by claiming the Democrats had rigged their primary system in favor of Hillary Clinton, then blustered that the Republican nomination would have been stolen from him if he had not won “by such tremendous margins.”
That set up his explanation for a possible failure in November, as he suggested foul play, complaining, “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged. I have to be honest.”
Trump’s camp has been publicly preparing an excuse for a possible loss; Trump adviser Roger Stone said in an interview that voter fraud is “widespread” and said if Hillary Clinton wins a state like Florida after polls show Trump in the lead, the election would be “illegitimate.” He huffed, “If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.” Stone threatened violence, asserting there would be a “bloodbath” if the Democrats tried to “steal” the election:
He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: “I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.” If you can’t have an honest election, nothing else counts. I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”
Trump routinely cries that the system is “rigged”; he whined that the delegate system in the primaries was “rigged” when Ted Cruz shut him out in Colorado, and whined that the GOP convention would be “rigged” as far back as April.
It is likely that Trump’s complaint about the general election being rigged was triggered by polls after the Democratic convention, which showed Hillary Clinton getting a significant post-convention bump that helped her surge into the lead.