Donald Trump seems to have forgotten exactly who he’s running against. His campaign rallies are short on specifics about his opponent and long on conspiracy theories on why he won’t win. At the top of those conspiracy theories are the idea that the media is in the tank for Hillary Clinton and that if Trump loses, it will be because the “system is rigged.”
To fight back against the “rigged election,” Trump is calling for his supporters to be election observers. There’s really nothing wrong with that, on its face. In 2008, I was an election observer for Barack Obama. Basically, that meant making sure that no one was prevented from voting, as long as they were registered. It wasn’t a partisan position. I had no right nor interest in who was voting for whom. Trump’s call for election monitors is very different, though. Like nearly everything around Trump, there is an implicit dark side to his request for election observers, especially in light of Trump’s implicit call to arms against Hillary Clinton, and John Oliver proved it.
On Sunday night’s Last Week Tonight, Oliver logged onto Trump’s website to sign up as a Trump Election Observer. The page is subtitled, “Help Me Stop crooked Hillary from Rigging This Election.” Do you have chills yet?
It gets worse, much worse. Oliver discussed Trump’s statements that if he loses the election, it will only be because the Clinton campaign cheated. Oliver called this kind of statement “dangerous.” Trump is losing, significantly.
When Oliver went to Trump’s site to sign up, he was initially asked for a contribution. That’s pretty standard fare. Certainly, money is more valuable to Trump’s campaign than election monitors. After Oliver did sign up as a monitor, he received this email, and it’s frightening:
We are going to do everything we are legally allowed to do to stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election.
Think about this for a moment. The person talking about legal limits tweeted this on Sunday:
It is not "freedom of the press" when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2016
Yes, the press can say and write whatever they want. The fact that Trump doesn’t know this proves that he has no idea what our country’s laws are. Oliver agrees, calling it “troubling because I’m not sure if Donald Trump knows what he’s legally allowed to do.” He also noted that Trump’s attorney once had to be corrected for saying that rape charges can’t be levied against one’s spouse.
Here’s the video:
What’s even more frightening than the fact that Trump doesn’t know the limits of the law is the fact that many of his followers are armed and itching for a gunfight, legal or not. For many of Trump’s hardened supporters, laws are irrelevant; laws are rigged against them; laws are for pussies.
Note that these are some of the same people who are still freaking out over the fact that a couple guys, calling themselves “The New Black Panthers,” showed up with clubs at a couple of polling places in Philly. You can bet that Trump’s “Second Amendment People” will show up with much more than some clubs.