In the waning days of the his campaign, Donald Trump has been setting the table to spur supporters’ anger after November 8th.
“Jon A. Husted,” The New York Times reports (Oct. 16), “the secretary of state of Ohio, said it was ‘wrong and engaging in irresponsible rhetoric’ for any candidate to question the integrity of elections without evidence. Mr. Husted, a Republican, said he would have no reason to hesitate to certify the results of the election.
“ ‘We have made it easy to vote and hard to cheat,’ Mr. Husted said… ‘We are going to run a good, clean election in Ohio, like we always do.’ …
“Chris Ashby, a Republican election lawyer,” The Times adds, “said Mr. Trump’s attacks on the electoral process were unprecedented and risked creating a fiasco on Election Day. Mr. Ashby also said that Mr. Trump was ‘destabilizing’ the election by encouraging his supporters to deputize themselves as amateur poll monitors, outside the bounds of the law.”
In a statement released on behalf of House Speaker Paul Ryan: “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”
At a recent Ohio rally, Trump looked like he was going to walk-back his “rigged” statement. Not quite.
“I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win!”
When reports of a new batch of stolen e-mails was released by WikiLeaks, Trump began again.
As reported in The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 25), Trump said, “ ‘It was just learned that one of the closest people to Hillary Clinton with longstanding ties to her husband and herself…gave more than $675,000 to the campaign of the spouse, the wife, of the top FBI official who helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s illegal email server.’ ”
“Never happened before,” Trump said. “Never happened. Not in this country’s history. This is a disgrace. And she shouldn’t be allowed to run for president…”
“Trump’s claim, which suggests a quid pro quo,” PolitiFact writes (Oct. 26), “suffers from one fatal flaw: The timeframe doesn’t add up.
“At the time of the contribution, the candidate’s husband was not directly involved in the FBI probe of Clinton’s email server, according to the FBI. The bureau says that by the time he had some oversight role in the Clinton investigation, the election involving his wife had been over for three months.”
Think any of this makes a difference to Trump supporters? Think again.
“Jared Halbrook, 25, of Green Bay, Wis.,” The New York Times reports (Oct. 27), “said that if Mr. Trump lost to Hillary Clinton, which he worried would happen through a stolen election, it could lead to ‘another Revolutionary War.’ ” …
“ ‘It’s not what I’m going to do, but I’m scared that the country is going to go into a riot,’ said Roger Pillath, 75, a retired teacher from Coleman, Wis. ‘I’ve never seen the country so divided, just black and white — there’s no compromise whatsoever. … I’m looking at revolution right now.’
“Julie Olson, a rancher who showed up for a Trump rally in Colorado Springs, said that she and her husband had been through rough economic times in recent years, and that a Trump loss would only worsen their burdens.
“ ‘I’d probably go into a depression, because life is hard enough for us right now,’ Ms. Olson, 69, said. ‘And if Hillary gets in, it’s going to be a whole lot worse…’ ”
I see only one meaningful way to help stem the “pitchforks and torches” anger and cynicism after November 8th: Democratic and Republican leadership need to JOINTLY ANNOUNCE that THEY WILL WORK TOGETHER to put the needs of the people ahead of their respective parties, and then… actually do it by offering a list of bipartisan legislation that will be addressed in the next 100 days!
Can they do this?