Donald Trump spins so many tales and goes after so many different groups and individuals that it's sometimes easy to miss his most invidious rhetoric. For months, the Republican presidential nominee has undermined confidence in our electoral system, warning his supporters that this election will be "rigged" and stolen through "voter fraud."
Trump first told his supporters of this conspiracy theory at an Ohio rally in August and followed up the claim in an interview with Sean Hannity: "I'm telling you, Nov. 8, we'd better be careful because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it's going to be taken away from us." This was in line with comments from his surrogates, like longtime adviser Roger Stone, who told Breitbart that Trump would begin to talk "constantly" about voter fraud. "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.' " Stone continued: "'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.'" The implication is clear: If Trump loses, he should foment this "civil disobedience." And he should start preparing his supporters for it now. He seems to be doing just that.
"The only way we can lose, in my opinion ... is if cheating goes on," said Trump during another August rally in Pennsylvania. In Wilmington, N.C., where more than a century earlier, white terrorists toppled a black-led city government in a violent insurrection, Trump warned his supporters that without strict voter identification laws, people would be "voting 15 times for Hillary."
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