On Nov. 9, the day after the presidential election, America’s leaders will need to put back together a deeply divided nation.
While this task is often necessary after a hard-fought presidential election, this time will be different.
The healing that will need to take place will be more difficult than necessary because of reckless rhetoric about a rigged presidential election.
Trump’s claims that the presidential election is “rigged” are backed by many of his supporters, who say they will have serious doubts about the legitimacy of the election’s outcome if Hillary Clinton wins, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
According to the poll, just 35 percent of Trump’s supporters said they will most likely accept the results of the election as legitimate if Clinton wins, while 64 percent said they’re more likely to have serious doubts about the accuracy of the vote count if Trump is not the winner.
By contrast, 69 percent of Clinton’s supporters said they’ll accept the outcome if Trump wins. Only 30 percent of the Democratic nominee’s backers express a reluctance to accept the results if Clinton loses on Election Day.
“Of course I believe it’s rigged, and of course I won’t accept the results,” said Mike Cannilla, 53, a Trump supporter from the New York borough of Staten Island. “It’s from the top: Obama is trying to take over the country, he’s covering up all of Hillary’s crimes and he’s controlling the media trying to make Trump lose.
“Our only chance on Nov. 9 is if the military develops a conscience and takes matters into its own hands,” Cannilla added.
This is dangerous talk that must be strongly denounced by leaders of Democratic and Republican parties and debunked by the media.
In the final days of the campaign, Trump has made doubts about the integrity of the election a major part of his closing argument.
There is no evidence for Trump’s reckless claim of widespread voter fraud. But the lie could challenge many Americans’ faith in a fair democratic process. In one study, a Loyola Law School professor found only 31 instances involving allegations of voter impersonation out of 1 billion votes cast in U.S. elections between 2000 and 2014.
Some Trump supporters have even warned of revolution if Trump loses. Before Election Day on Nov. 8, Trump needs to show leadership and stop his talk of a rigged election.