Donald Trump, trailing narrowly in presidential polls, has issued a warning to worried Republican voters: The election will be “rigged” against him — and he could lose as a result. Trump pointed to several court cases nationwide in which restrictive laws requiring voters to show identification have been thrown out. He said those decisions open the door to fraud in November. “If the election is rigged, I would not be surprised,” he told The Washington Post in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “The voter ID situation has turned out to be a very unfair development. We may have people vote 10 times.” Those comments followed a claim Trump made Monday, to an audience in Ohio, that “the election is going to be rigged.” That same day, in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, he beseeched Republicans to start “watching closely” or the election will be “taken away from us” through fraud.
Like much of what Trump says, the “rigged” riff defies the recent norms of politics. And like of much of what he says, it taps into fears that long predate his campaign. One is a growing and unsubstantiated worry that elections are being stolen. The other is a broader unease that regular Americans are being cheated by Wall Street, by Washington and by a duplicitous media.
Those worries have found voice in both parties this year, with Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) both rallying their supporters during the Republican and Democratic primaries with the assessment that the system is rigged. Now, Trump is reviving the theme to highlight the possibility of voter fraud in November.