On Voter Fraud and Rigged Elections
10/31/2016 by Dylan James Harper
Donald Trump will not let the “rigging” rhetoric go. It’s hurting him in the polls, and by all accounts his staff has encouraged him to tone it down, but he maintains. Some on the left (forgetting their own rhetoric around elections from the 2004 and 2000 presidential elections) has been quick to either mock Trump, or feign fear for our beloved democracy. Others have raised the very serious concern of Trump’s tactics, including heavily implying that “certain” individuals will try to commit voter fraud, leading to violence against various marginalized communities on or after election day. Let’s examine election rigging, voter fraud, and the potential violence of election day.
There have been more people killed by lightning this year alone than there have been people have committed voter fraud this millennium. Voter fraud simply doesn’t exist. I’m not sure that’s exactly what Trump is implying, however, when talks about the election being “rigged” against him. He seems to be alluding to a more formal, large scale type of fraud. Unless one is inclined to believe the Illuminati control the world (and feel free to hop off this bus now if that’s you), it’s pretty difficult to imagine any widespread formal election fraud in the United States, due primarily in part because there really isn’t just one election. Counting Washington DC, there are fifty-one separate elections occurring on voting day, and those are broken down further by counties, towns, etc., so the committing formal election fraud would be beyond difficult. Keep in mind, these separate elections are all run by different people from different political parties. Both individual cases of voter fraud, and widespread election rigging, just don’t occur in the United States.
Does that mean the elections are perfect? Of course not. And this is one of the reasons the left really needs to be careful about what their response to Trump’s rhetoric will be. In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency due to the electoral college. There are wise people on both sides of electoral college debate, but it’s at least a debate that the country ought to keep having as a result of elections like that. Far more importantly, the votes of women, people of color, and the poor have been historically and contemporarily suppressed. This is different than rigging (although, at the staff and local levels, voter suppression is often deliberate), but it’s still a huge problem. This is another political battle the left is going to want to fight and win in the future, and thus need to leave the door open for it when answering Trump’s rhetoric.
As for violence on election day, which will likely get its own post before that day arrives, I think it’s a legitimate possibility. Violent hate crimes, and hate crimes in general, have increased since Trump’s candidacy. His rhetoric often directly incites violence, if not outwardly implying it. He’s directly encouraged his supporters to watch the polls, and many have said they will, and do so while armed. Honestly, it would be shocking if there weren’t any violence on election. I’ll expand on this more in the future, but some on the left have tried to place Trump in a broad context, with the implication that he’s being overreacted to. There are legitimate points on that argument, but it’s hard to remember a candidate in modern history that seemingly single-handedly is going to incite violence on election day. We’ll go into that, and broader election coverage more as election day fast approaches.
Dylan James Harper is the Chief Political Editor for CSuiteMusic
Read more of Dylan's work at www.dylanjamesharper.com