Donald Trump has been peddling conspiracy theories about how this election is rigged for months now, and is using these claims to depict himself as a martyr, the victim of a grand conspiracy to keep him out of the White House.
As his popularity drops in the polls, his complaints of rigging have become more strident, and they are making his supporters paranoid and dangerous. On Oct. 18, the day before the third presidential debate, president Barack Obama told Trump to “stop whining” and instead try to win some votes.
At the final debate of the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump fanned these flames. When asked whether he would accept the outcome of the presidential election, Trump responded, “I will look at it at the time.” When Fox News moderator Chris Wallace pushed him further, Trump added, “I will keep you in suspense, okay?”
Hillary Clinton responded by listing all of the things that Donald Trump thought were rigged. “You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him,” she said. Here’s Clinton’s list:
- When the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) recommended no charges be brought against Hillary Clinton after investigating her use of a private email server Trump said that the FBI was rigged.
- After losing the Wisconsin primary to Ted Cruz, Trump said the Republican Party had rigged the nomination process.
- When US district judge Gonzalo Curiel rejected Trump’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit against Trump University by students who said they were defrauded, Trump complained that the judge was “hostile” and suggested that this might be because he is Hispanic.
- For three years in a row, from 2012 to 2014, Trump complained that the process to select the Emmy award winners was rigged because The Apprentice did not win the award.
“This is a mindset; this is how Donald thinks,” said Clinton at the debate. “And it’s funny but it’s also really troubling. This is not the way our democracy works.”
To this Trump responded by going on the offensive: “I think what the FBI did and what the Department of Justice did, including meeting with her husband the attorney general in the back of an airplane on the tarmac in Arizona—I think that is disgraceful,” he said. “I think it is disgraceful.”
Clinton’s list wasn’t exhaustive. Trump, in fact, has made many other allegations of things being rigged in the past.
At the first presidential debate, for example, he claimed that interest rates set by the Federal Reserve were rigged. “This Janet Yellen of the Fed. The Fed is doing political—by keeping the interest rates at this level,” he said.
At the second presidential debate he said that the Democratic National Convention was rigged. “All you have to do is take a look at WikiLeaks and just see what they said about Bernie Sanders and see what Debra Wasserman Schultz had in mind, because Bernie Sanders, between superdelegates and Debra Wasserman Schultz, he never had a chance and I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil,” he said.
At a rally in North Carolina in July, Trump proudly claimed he was first 2016 presidential candidate to use the word “rigged”:
“But I used the term ‘rigged.’ Then all of a sudden Bernie started using it and other people and now everyone talks about ‘rigged’ but I’m gonna keep using it because I was the one that brought it up and I’m the one. I asked a couple of political pros, ‘Did you ever hear the word rigged, it’s a rigged everything?’ And they really—it hasn’t been a thing used, I guess it has to be somewhere along the line, but it hasn’t.”
People on Twitter were amused, but then again, Trump might say Twitter is rigged.