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Analysis: Trump ‘rigged’ vote claim may leave lasting damage

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Signs are placed on seats as people wait for a charity event hosted by the Republican Hindu Coalition, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in Edison, N.J. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke during the event.


Donald Trump keeps peddling the notion the vote may be rigged. It’s unclear whether he understands the potential damage of his words, or simply doesn’t care.

Trump’s claim, made without evidence, undercuts the essence of American democracy, the idea that U.S. elections are free and fair, with the vanquished peacefully stepping aside for the victor. His repeated assertions are sowing suspicion among his most ardent supporters, raising the possibility that millions of people may not accept the results on Nov. 8 if Trump loses.

The responsibilities for the New York billionaire in such a scenario are minimal. Trump holds no public office and has said he’ll simply go back to his “very good way of life” if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins.

Instead, Clinton and congressional Republicans, should they retain control, would be left trying to govern in a country divided not just by ideology, but also the legitimacy of the presidency.

As Trump’s campaign careens from crisis to crisis, he’s broadened his unfounded allegations that Clinton, her backers and the media are conspiring to steal the election. He’s accused Clinton of meeting with global financial powers to “plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” and argued his opponent shouldn’t have even been allowed to seek the White House.

“Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election.”

Trump is referring to Clinton’s use of a private email system while serving as secretary of state. Republicans, and some Democrats, have harshly criticized her decision to do so, but the FBI did not recommend anyone face criminal charges for her use of a private email address run on a personal server.

Trump has offered only broad assertions about the potential for voter fraud and the complaints that the several women who have recently alleged he sexually accosted them are part of an effort to smear his campaign.

“It’s one big ugly lie, it’s one big fix,” Trump told a rally in North Carolina on Friday, adding later: “And the only thing I say is hopefully, hopefully, our patriotic movement will overcome this terrible deception.”

Trump’s supporters appear to be taking his grievances seriously. Only about one-third of Republicans said they have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence that votes on Election Day will be counted fairly, according to poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

During a campaign event Tuesday with Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, a voter said she was deeply concerned about voter fraud and pledged to be “ready for a revolution” if Clinton wins.

Pence waved away the woman’s rallying cry, saying, “Don’t say that.” And on Sunday, in an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press,” he said the campaign will “accept the will of the American people, you bet.”

There is no evidence voter fraud is a widespread problem in the United States. A study by a Loyola Law School professor found that out of 1 billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were only 31 known cases of impersonation fraud.

Trump’s motivations for stoking these sentiments seem clear.

One of his last hopes of winning the election is to suppress turnout by making these final weeks so repulsive to voters that some just stay home. Trump advisers privately say they hope to turn off young people in particular. This group leans Democratic but doesn’t have a long history of voting and is already skeptical of Clinton.

Trump is also likely considering how he would spin a loss to Clinton, given that he’s spent decades cultivating a brand based on success and winning. His years in public life offer few examples where he’s owned up to his own failings and plenty where he’s tried to pass the blame on to others, as he’s now suggesting he would do if he’s defeated.

Clinton appears increasingly aware that if she wins, she’d arrive at the White House facing more than the usual political divides. “Damage is being done that we’re going to have to repair,” she said during a recent campaign stop.

But that task wouldn’t be Clinton’s alone.

The majority of Trump’s supporters are Republicans. If he loses, party leaders will have to reckon with how much credence they give to claims the election was rigged and how closely they can work with a president whom at least some GOP backers will likely view as illegitimate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office wouldn’t say Saturday whether he agreed with Trump’s assertions the election is being rigged. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Ryan is “fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”

Republicans have already experienced the paralyzing effect of Trump stirring up questions about a president’s legitimacy. He spent years challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship, deepening some GOP voters’ insistence that the party block the Democrat at every turn.

Jim Manley, a former adviser to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recalled the skepticism some Republicans had about Obama. “I’m afraid a President Clinton is going to start off with far too many people raising similar questions,” he said.


EDITOR’S NOTE — White House Correspondent Julie Pace has covered politics and the White House for The Associated Press since 2007.


Follow Julie Pace on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

An AP News Analysis

91 responses to “Analysis: Trump ‘rigged’ vote claim may leave lasting damage”

  1. livinginhawaii says:

    Without evidence? The whole system is a sham – we all voted for Bernie yet he will not be on our ballots on November 8th. The system is rigged. ..Bernie or Bust!

    • Boots says:

      Yes we voted for Bernie but he came up short. He is now backing sweet Hillary so Go Hillary. Sure beats voting for a Con man. Say no to Ron Rewald. lol

      • OldDiver says:

        Ben Cayetano made a similar irresponsible claim four years ago without any evidence to back him up. These sore loser claims disenfranchise voters and hurt voter turnout.

        • OldDiver says:

          The Bernie Sanders campaign played the same dangerous game by claiming the system is rigged. Donald Trump in some ways is a convoluted extension of Bernies campaign.

        • beachbum11 says:

          Can you prove it is not? Right name old

        • MillionMonkeys says:

          The people who lied about Cayetano (“Pay for play”) later apologized and paid a small fine. Too little, too late, because he’d already lost the election. $10 billion later, most of us wish Ben had won. But that election was rigged.

        • inverse says:

          Voter suppresion in the last mayoral election between Caldwell and Cayetano is FACT. Scott Nago admitted he provided inadequate number of ballots due to his ‘math errors’. The fact that he was not fired for his gross incompetence means he was just doing the bidding for others in power. With $10-20 BILLION riding on the pathetic, useless, special interest make work train to nowhere project and PRP admission of slandering Cayetano, those in charge did in fact rig the last Honolulu mayoral election

        • nomu says:

          The media is perpetuating the misconception of Trump’s statement. Trump meant that the media is rigged, not the ballot box. Yet the media distorts what Trump really said, because they are rigged. We live in an age of sound bites, so Trump had to make his statement short and sweet to get attention.

        • cajaybird says:

          IRT Nomu: Your’re exactly right. I’m surprised anyone would believe a word of this rubbish article.

        • TigerEye says:

          To nomu and cajaybird. Here’s trump on Pennsylvania. Look forward to your floor exercise.

          “You’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to get your friends, and you’ve got to get everybody you know, and you gotta watch the polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas…” 

          “I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about. So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don’t want to lose for that reason. We don’t want to lose — but especially, we don’t want to lose for that reason. So go over and watch. And watch carefully…”

          “You’ve been reading the same stories as I’ve been reading, so go to your place and vote, and then go pick some other place, and go sit there with your friends and make sure it’s on the up and up…”

          “Because you know what? That’s a big, big problem in this country, and nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody has the guts to talk about it. So go and watch these polling places. Make sure it’s on the up and up. Please. That would one hell of a way to lose.”

        • hawaiikone says:

          To tiger,


          Get back to us when the polling places start burning.

        • TigerEye says:


          Sure. As soon as you can point out exactly what your linked story has to do with nomu’s claim that Trump never made an accusation of voter fraud at the polls.

        • OldDiver says:

          Cayetano has no evidence the election was rigged. If he did he would have brought a lawsuit against the State Election Office because there is ne thing we know, Ben is sue happy.

        • hawaiikone says:

          You’re right. Untypical of me having not read the string. Hadn’t even noticed the SA had this story already. Frustration at the rampant hypocrisy from both sides prompted a premature comment, as I assumed the firebombing article wouldn’t be carried.

        • TigerEye says:

          Yes, not typical. No worries. I don’t recall another election that so reliably brought out the worst in people.

      • Ronin006 says:

        Yes, Boots, Bernie came up short, but why did that happen? If you have been reading some of the hacked emails that were released by WikiLeaks, you would know that the DNC and the liberal media conspired with the Clinton campaign to do so. Bernie was robbed of the nomination. Bernie supporters should be outraged by what happened and mount a write-in campaign for Bernie in the General Election. Why would any Bernie supporter vote for Hillary who really stuck it to him?

    • bumba says:

      You can thank our crooked, PRP-backed, brown-nosing Senator Schitz for that.

      • Boots says:

        No, it is just that Hillary has been running for president a lot longer than Bernie. I don’t understand the resentment towards Hillary. While she was not my choice, I feel she will turn out to be a decent president. The Donald on the other hand would be a terrible president and condemn this country to an economic melt down second to none. Voodoo just does not work. Shame republicans can’t learn this simple fact.

      • beachbum11 says:


    • Allaha says:

      The real damage to America is the people imbecile enough to believe this nonsense.

      • Boots says:

        And what nonsense is this exactly? Can you be specific?

      • sjean says:

        Is the system also rigged if Chump manages to win?

        • amela says:

          sjean, if Trump wins the system is not rigged. We just have a lot of under educated people and that’s why we trail the Asian countries by a mile. Not enough education and not enough discipline.

      • amela says:

        Allaha agree. If the people think the voting is rigged and this will damage the voting outcome then they are living in the wrong country. Only the uneducated conspiracy driven cookoo’s believe that. And unfortunately there are a lot of them in the USA. And most of them are for Trump. Who says “If I lose the system is rigged” maybe in the 3rd grade but even then people would giggle at that. But I ain’t laughing here.

        • cajaybird says:

          Amela, let me ask you a question. Do you believe the media is promoting Hillary and wants her to win, and they don’t want Trump to win? Remember, journalists are suppose to be neutral. Do you believe that’s the case? That’s a start.

        • klastri says:

          cajaybird – I’m not sure that you understand the issue. Reporters report what happens. Multiple times every single day now, Mr. Trump says increasing ridiculous things that are newsworthy because of their oddness.

          In the case of the women who are emerging now, he lied and said that he was only bragging about having committed serial felony sexual assault, and hadn’t actually done it. Putting aside for the moment that only a psychotic would brag about repeated felony sexual assault, the women who had been assaulted by him were made furious at his lies.

          Reporters report what happens. Mr. Trump is profoundly mentally ill. That’s news.

      • MillionMonkeys says:

        Right, the damage lies in those who blindly believe anything Trump says. Fortunately, they are a minority, and they generally are not in positions of power. Even the higher politicians (e.g., Pence) who still support Trump know he’s out of his mind, so they are choosing their words carefully to not outright disown him, but also distancing themselves from his train wreck.

        When Trump loses in a landslide, his fans can go back to their shacks, put on their hoods, go back to doing their whatever.

        The Republican party will take a hit in the election. Maybe they can reconsider, restructure, and figure out a way to prevent another Trump-type takeover of their party.

    • buddy says:

      We didn’t “all” vote for Bernie. I voted for Bernie too. Then after I handed in my vote I watched the rest collected and counted right in front of me. Bernie won, but that was in Hawaii where we knew he would win by a landslide. Nationally?
      2807 del. Hillary Clinton
      1894 del. Bernie Sanders
      Saying the whole system is a sham is destructive. The system is working – unless we decide to go for a different system. Let us know what system you want to try and we’ll vote on it.

      • bumbai says:

        However, having moles and manipulators inside the DNC sure didn’t hurt.

      • Boots says:

        The system is in need of improvement no doubt about that. But I sure didn’t know Bernie would win in Hawaii. Seemed like the democratic leaders were all behind Hillary which I assume was due to her actually running for president for the past 8 years. I was for Bernie because of Hillary’s record on foreign policy and her supporting G W Bush when she have been saying NO!.

        But I feel the democratic party will continue to evolve and will hopefully make the system more democratic in the future. There was no need for the central party to plan to coronate Hillary. They obviously forgot the basic premise of the democratic party. It is herding cats.

        • Allaha says:

          Bernie won in Hawaii because here are more people who want government handouts.

        • Boots says:

          No Allaha, Bernie won because Hawaii is a caucus state and even with a 100% increase in turnout, still only a relatively few voted. It it was a normal primary, Hillary probably would have won.

          As for handouts, that is the republican party. Remember the republican motto is deficits don’t matter so lets make more worthless weapons to support the top 1%.

      • amela says:

        Don’t worry about it. All the people who are making a big fuss about Bernie losing are Trump people trying to get our votes and ignore Hillary. No way we’re not that dumb.

    • amela says:

      Whatever, same as voting for your man Trump.

  2. Ikefromeli says:

    So, just when you think Trump landed in the Dead Sea, the lowest part on earth, he digs even further. Late last night he started a string of tweets, basically asking to take Alec Baldwin and his hilarious satire of him on SNL, to be removed with SNL off TV.

    So, the system is rigged huh?? Never has a single person taken so much from the system without giving a reciprocal amount back.

    Really?? Now, is your skin is so uber thin, that even sardonic skits on TV can be threatened. The rather clear and bitter irony is never has there been a single individual so ingratiated and benefiting from the system and society. Consider the following:

    Born with a silver spoon and large inheritance in his mouth;
    Father purchased his way into Penn (not the Wharton School, as he never received a degree from Wharton), as shortly after his transfer admission, there was a large donation by his father to the school;
    Borrows constantly from his father and siblings, even after receiving a a large inheritance;
    Multiple dubious draft deferments;
    Almost every one of his domestic housing projects included very large federal subsidizes;
    Extensive and almost chronic usage of federal bankruptcy laws and protection;
    Monopolizing the court system to bully smaller individuals and entities;
    Utilizing and taking advantage of non-profit organizations law to pay private lawsuits and legal actions;
    Manipulating the tax code to basically not pay federal taxes for almost two decades; and
    Over 30 years of media coverage to promote his own business interest and personally ingratiate himself and family.

    It’s more than funny now, when he says the media is against him, as they were a powerful ally for over 30 years. Now, with the plethora of lurid and sordid instances being uncovered, which appear to be a part of his pathology, the media is bad???? Please, you’re a piece of tu$d and everyone now knows it……

    • beachbum11 says:

      And when you go down in flames you can thank the democrats. Need t think both sides, you don’t, brain washed. LOL

      • Ikefromeli says:

        You do realize that Trump has already resigned himself to a historic loss, and that this entire line of polemic rhetoric is his ill-conceived notion of saving face?? He won’t even break 200 in the electoral college…..

        • amela says:

          Ikefromeli, he might not even get any votes as he’s telling his people to go out and vote on November 28, oh boy.

        • MillionMonkeys says:

          Yep, the “riggers” keep changing the voting dates. Trump should ask the Russians to hack the riggers’ emails, expose their conspiracy. Then he can put them all in prison when he’s president!

  3. kainalu says:

    First off, States run elections, not the Federal Government. And state run elections operate primarily off of the backs of “volunteers”. “We the people” run our elections. If there’s fraud, “we the people” committed it.

    • menloboy says:

      The Democratic primary WAS fixed all the way for Hillary to win. Bernie did not have a chance in hell getting past a Clinton machine. Hillary should have been stopped by the Justice Department and FBI, but the heads of each agency are in the pockets of the Clintons: might say “rigged.” The rank and file of each agency are in open revolt over the decision not to proceed.. The next step is to politicalize the Supreme Court to insure future decisions that favor the party in power: sad day for America.

      • amela says:

        menloboy you should stop trying to influence us Bernie people to vote for your man Trump I told you we’re not that dumb.

      • klastri says:

        That’s a lot of different conspiracies in one paragraph!

        Mrs. Clinton won because she got more votes. Lots more. The controversy was about super delegates, and she ended up not needing any. She won enough pledged delegates to win.

        “Stopped by the Justice Department?” For what? What are you talking about?

        With regard to the Supreme Court, I’m really hoping that you aren’t an adult, because if you are, you should know that the Supreme Court is a political institution. The members are appointed by the President in office at the time a vacancy occurs. That’s spelled out, in detail, in the Constitution. Making it political won’t be the next step, because it was one of the first steps.

        Maybe you need to read more? Just saying ….

  4. whoispang says:

    the DNC rigged bernie and the media does favor the democrats. you must be blind if you can’t see that.

    • amela says:

      If the media favors the Democrats how come we have Republican Senators, Representatives and former Republican Presidents? Are you folks poor losers? This race is not about party it’s about your man Trump and what he stands for. I wish you followers would get it!

    • Boots says:

      Well yes I believe the media probably does favor democrats over republicans. But that is because democrats have been more successful in growing the economy and expanding opportunity. Why vote for a party that is going to crash the economy and put people out of work?

  5. ready2go says:

    A crybaby. A whinner. Obviously never served in the military. He needs to man up!

  6. richierich says:

    The AP and media in general is so veey one sided. The idea of American democracy? The United States is not a democracy. The United States is a republic and it is on a slippery slope towards oligarchy. Bush, Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Obama Obama, Clinton, Clinton…. Billy Bush vs Michelle Obama 2024?

    • beachbum11 says:

      The D party. Dicator party coming up stronger then now>

      • amela says:

        Beachbum you better stick to tanning on the beach. You need to google dictatorship before you use that word.

        • klastri says:

          It would help if he or she knew how to spell the word before researching. Thanks for helping him through the 4th grade by providing the correct spelling.

    • MillionMonkeys says:

      The AP and general media only seem biased to a misguided mind. I’ve been watching both Fox News and CNN lately, in hopes of getting a balanced view. Every time I watch Fox, I feel a little less mentally well. If that’s where you are getting your news, you need to also look at mainstream media, even if you have to read between the lines a bit.

      When CNN has a discussion about the election, they try to be professional and always invite a couple of Trump supporters, give them their fair talking time. Fox regularly has their obviously biased host, along with obviously biased Trump supporters, and they have a mutual distorting/lying party. When Clinton stays indoors to prepare for a debate or to do fundraisers, Fox displays the headline caption, “CLINTON HIDING” at the top of the screen. That’s clearly a biased distortion.

      What Trump fanatics fail to realize is that comments like “Grab them by the p—–,” “I can shoot someone and not lose votes,” “Obama was born in Kenya,” You’d be in jail,” etc. are controversial (attention-begging), and that the average citizen finds them offensive. It is the news media’s RESPONSIBILITY to report these stories, as long as Trump keeps saying those things.

      And it is the reporters’ and the debate moderators’ responsibility to hold Trump to his statements, to not allow him to weasel out and pretend he didn’t push the birther theory for five years. Is it “bias” to fact check a person who tells an untruth EVERY 3 MINUTES?

      It’s time to realize that Trump has been misleading you. He doesn’t care if—in fact, wants that—you don’t see the facts clearly. He wants to win for the sake of winning. He has NO PLAN for any of his promises, and will forget you as soon as he is in office. Check the facts, look up his business dealings, how he’s made money by taking advantage of people and legal loopholes. He doesn’t care about you.

  7. Ikefromeli says:

    When Tricky Dicky comes off as more Presidental and measured than you, well, you know you reside at the very bottom of the barrel.

    Even Nixon again paid homage to rules-above-men, country-above-party. To put that differently: Even Richard Nixon, for all that he did to undercut rule of law, observed the need to support regular civic order, and the primacy of established institutions, in his public remarks. The night before he resigned he said (emphasis added):

    In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. [JF note: Well, maybe. But in context you can give him this.] Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.

    In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future. Atlantic

  8. yhls says:

    Sorry AP, but you’re dead wrong. The system is rigged and has been for many, many decades. Voters are fed the illusion their vote counts (it doesn’t, the electoral does). They would if you could get a candidate on the ballot willing to go up against the status quo and implement policies that affect real change. That’s where the wagon stops. Look what happened to Kennedy. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was sabotaged by his own party. And the same with Trump. No presidential candidate has ever received the amount of vitriol and non-stop 24/7 negative publicity Trump has courtesy of the media, which no longer presents unbiased objective reporting of both sides of an issue. Instead, it has become a political entity unto itself, in effect the public relations arm of the liberal left. Our political system continues to be manipulated to favor the rich and powerful and their corporate interests who own both parties. That’s why it never makes any difference whether a Democrat or Republican wins. Business goes on as usual. Politics has become the entertainment industry for big business. Just an illusion to pacify the masses. And the president — a sock puppet. That’s why candidates like Trump pose such a threat. He’s independent and not controlled by either party. He’s already a billionaire so would be difficult to be bribed. In effect, he’s a loose cannon. Now maybe, just maybe, he’d really try to help all Americans, not just the rich and powerful. We’ll never know because they’ll do anything to stop him. So far, it’s working.

    • Boots says:

      But it is more likely that he would just use the presidency to advance his own situation. For example, doing away with the death tax would surely help him while transferring taxes to the middle class.

    • aaronavilla says:

      How is the system rigged? We had 8 years of George W. Bush – what kind of rigged system would let that happen?

      • Boots says:

        GW only became president because the election was stolen in 2000. Shame they got away with it but it sure has come back to bite them you know where.

      • yhls says:

        Because it’s the same corporations who control both parties. Bush was a dolt and the fall guy for the Iraq war. A socket puppet without a clue from one of the most powerful and well-connected families in America (there’s one in every family). The real people pulling the strings and making the decisions were/are the military industrial complex that runs this country. War is a trillion dollar industry. It’s the biggest business around. They needed a reason to invade and get the lucrative contracts flowing. And lo and behold, they found one! The imaginary weapons of mass destruction. That war was estimated to cost $1.7 trillion. Why do you think our taxes keep going up, up, up? Who’s profiting from it. Follow the money.

  9. stanislous says:

    We now have undeniable proof that Osama Ben Ladin is DEAD… he just registered to vote as a democrat.

  10. bumbai says:

    The biased reporting from AP is more likely to leave lasting damage than Trump pointing it out.

    • klastri says:

      What, exactly, is untrue in AP reporting? Can you be specific?

      Or are you just making this up?

      • cajaybird says:

        Do you have any friends? Just wondering. I have the impression that you’re what is referred to as a “hothead”. Do you really believe that Republicans are all uneducated? Are you always sarcastic, about everything?

        • klastri says:

          No, just with people who makes things up. Like you.

        • sarge22 says:

          Can’t you stop the constant lying? Excuses, excuses ,excuses for the wrong doings of the female felon. No one believes a thing you say. It’s people like you that are helping Mr Trump. Mahalo

    • TigerEye says:

      I don’t think you can blame any media bias. Trump just says and does many more things that are newsworthy. He’s got a pathological love of self-expression for which he’s never, ever been accountable. Until now.

      Now, everybody’s paying attention and there’s recorded proof of every word.

      His opponents in this game – personal virtues notwithstanding – have an understanding of public life and how to behave.

      It’s like he and you are trying to blame the pavement for injuries incurred from repeated, completely voluntary jumps off various rooftops.

  11. yhls says:

    On another note, the SNL skit of the last debate was hysterical. Alec Baldwin as Trump is pretty funny. And Hillary wished she looked that good. Lol.

  12. Ikefromeli says:

    Meet the effete, bombastic, and totally incompetent architect of what will be Trumps historical loss:

    But it took someone a little smarter—and more cynical—than Trump, Stone, or Jones to distill Trump’s platform of protectionism, closed borders, and white identity politics into one message about a global conspiracy. The man behind this new message is Steve Bannon, who became the C.E.O. of the Trump campaign in August. Bannon is on leave from Breitbart, the right-wing news site where he served as executive chairman, and where he honed a view of international politics that Trump now parrots.

    Bannon, who is sixty-two, is new to right-wing rabble-rousing, compared to someone like Stone. Bannon was raised in a blue-collar Democratic family around Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia. He served in the Navy, went to the Harvard Business School, and became wealthy as a mergers-and-acquisition deal-maker for Goldman Sachs, in the nineteen-eighties. He made a fortune by buying a share of the royalties for “Seinfeld” back in 1993, and receives them to this day.

    Bannon met Andrew Breitbart, the founder of the news Web site, when Bannon was financing conservative documentaries in Los Angeles in the aughts. Breitbart, who previously worked with the Drudge Report, started Breitbart in 2005 as a conservative news aggregator, much like his former employer. In the fall of 2009, Bannon and Breitbart worked together on a business plan to launch a more ambitious version of the site, and Bannon joined its board in 2011, once the financing deal closed. When Andrew Breitbart died, in 2012, Bannon became executive chairman and took over the site. Back then Breitbart was a pugnacious but still recognizably conservative site, but, with Bannon in charge, its politics started to change.

    Bannon embraced the growing populist movement in America, including the “alt-right,” a new term for white nationalists, who care little about traditional conservative economic ideas and instead stress the need to preserve America’s European heritage and keep out non-whites and non-Christians. Under Bannon, Breitbart promoted similar movements in Europe, including the United Kingdom Independence Party, the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands. Bannon likes to say that his goal is “to build a global, center-right, populist, anti-establishment news site.” After the election is over, Breitbart, which has offices in London and Rome, plans to open up new bureaus in France and Germany.

    This ambition extends to supporting the election of right-wing candidates. In 2013, Bannon encouraged Senator Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, who led the opposition to immigration reform, to run for President, but Sessions declined to enter the race. Bannon went on to attend early candidate forums, where he noticed that, while most Republicans stuck to the Party’s small-government message, Trump was hitting the protectionist themes that proved popular at Breitbart and on the European right. Back then, when he tried to get one national newspaper reporter to interview Trump, he was told, “My editor would think I’d lost my fucking mind. Donald Trump’s a clown.”

    In early 2015, Breitbart tilted toward Cruz, but after Trump entered the race that summer, with a sharper anti-immigrant message, Breitbart evolved into an unofficial arm of the Trump campaign. “Donald Trump: Candidate for Our Age” and “20 Reasons Why It Should Be Donald Trump in 2016” were typical headlines. When Trump fired his campaign director, Paul Manafort, in mid-August, he made Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster, his new campaign manager, and named Bannon his campaign C.E.O.

    Bannon has a few unusual views that are important to understanding Trump’s speeches this week. He believes that the white working class is still the key to the election, because the Clintons have never been able to win without this demographic. While Bill Clinton won two Presidential elections with the support of white working-class voters, this view is wildly at odds with recent changes in the electorate, which have made the Democrats more reliant on minority voters and college-educated whites. Other advisers, including Conway, tried to steer Trump toward appealing to these groups, but Trump has clearly turned away from them and toward Bannon.

    Bannon’s view of the media is similarly narrow. He sees the dominant conservative media players as the establishment, not as allies. He views Fox News as highly unreliable on the nationalist cause, and was not unhappy when Roger Ailes, Fox News’s former C.E.O., was forced to resign over multiple sexual-harassment allegations. He despises Rupert Murdoch—the chairman and C.E.O. of the News Corporation, and now the acting C.E.O. of Fox News, one of its subsidiaries—as a pro-open-borders globalist. When Bannon ran Breitbart, he didn’t want his reporters appearing on Fox, because he believed the cable news channel had made smaller conservative news outlets subservient to it. After the first Republican primary debate, in August, 2015, when Trump became engaged in a highly personal fight with Megyn Kelly, Fox’s biggest star, Breitbart also gleefully attacked Kelly.

    Bannon has never been a campaign strategist. He is a right-wing new-media entrepreneur who is building a political and news infrastructure that mimics Europe’s nationalists. After Trump’s speech on Thursday, when he linked Clinton to “international banks” and “global financial powers,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, issued a statement that Trump “should avoid rhetoric and tropes that have historically been used against Jews and still reverberate today.”

    In a further sign of Bannon’s influence, Trump’s prepared remarks that day also mentioned Brexit, which Trump said was an encouraging sign of the direction of international politics. “Our great civilization, here in America and across the civilized world, has come upon a moment of reckoning,” Trump said. “We’ve seen it in the United Kingdom, where they voted to liberate themselves from global government and global trade deals and global immigration deals that have destroyed their sovereignty.” Bannon has known Nigel Farage, the leader of ukip, the pro-Brexit party, since 2013, when Breitbart opened its London bureau. Farage has appeared on behalf of Trump at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, in July, a Trump rally in Mississippi, in August, and the debate spin room in St. Louis, this month.

    The rhetoric that Bannon is feeding Trump makes it increasingly likely that Trump will lose in a landslide. Polling averages show Trump trailing Clinton by eight points, the largest gap since August, when Clinton received a significant boost after her Convention. Most election forecasts put Clinton’s chance of victory at about eighty per cent.

    Trump’s response to these numbers has been to tell his supporters, repeatedly in recent days, that the election is “rigged,” creating a sense of grievance about the likely results that can be exploited after November 8th. Trump and Bannon have given up on trying to defeat Clinton. They seem more interested in creating a platform for a new ethno-nationalist politics that may bedevil the Republican Party—and the country—for a long time to come.NYer

  13. Pacificsports says:

    Trump is going down and he is doing his best to bring all of American down with him. So far he’s doing a good job in bringing down the Republicans but that’s not enough. Incite discourse, suspicion, and rebellion. If He can’t win, he wants to make sure everyone else loses.

  14. KWAY says:

    all you lumpheaded Trump’s chumps have been pitched and sold the SUCKER’s deal. And you boast about it too! Unbelievable gullibility, and the rest of us have to share the planet with you? If you can’t see through his bs con, you are beyond legally blind, not to mention stone dumb too. Stop living your life by idiotic bumper sticker slogans. jeez

  15. WizardOfMoa says:

    Who ever wins will have trouble governing a country divided by the truth and fabrication instill by both parties !

  16. klastri says:

    One would think a man who has driven his companies into six bankruptcy proceedings (and has had many more business failures) and additionally has had two failed marriages would be able to accept defeat more gracefully. He fails a lot, but this one seems different for him. Probably because he can’t lie and pretend it didn’t happen, like he does with everything else. This loss will be visible to the entire world, and is taking down his branding business in the process.

    Thanks again, Trump supporters!

  17. mctruck says:

    I had to laugh when trump before a town hall meeting past week when he said he was dumping the teleprompters because, “they don’t work.”
    Needless to say that he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, he blames the failure to communicate with the audiences effectively on the teleprompters. Further saying that he would not, “pay” the contractors, because they delivered a faulty product, “they don’t work.” In typical donald trump fashion.
    And of course, he has for weeks/months said that if he does lose this November, than everthing and everbody, all the media, the rigged polls, your grandfather, your grandmother, SNL, are all rigged against him. As a recent Republican polster commented, “the hand writing is on the wall.”

  18. mctruck says:

    HITLER, delivered the NAZI-rehtoric and the great majority of Germans bought into it, “hook-line & sinker.” So why should we not expect the same from Trumpsters who now support a single minded no holds barred mentality.

  19. cajaybird says:

    I cannot believe this AP article is allowed to be published. Where to begin. I quote,”One of his last hopes of winning the election is to suppress turnout by making these final weeks so repulsive to voters that some just stay home. Trump advisers privately say they hope to turn off young people in particular.”

    What is the source of this nonsense? What advisers have said they hope to turn of young voters?

    It seems like a set-up for the next four years. If the economy hasn’t turned around, it will be because of Trump’s divisiveness. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from Hillary’s campaign contributed to this nonsense.

    Finally, does anyone not agree that an election is “rigged” if the press is promoting one candidate, while castigating the other?

    This article is beyond the pale. And this is suppose to be professional journalism?

    • klastri says:

      Do you think that Mr. Trump’s acts and words aren’t worthy of criticism?

      • cajaybird says:

        I would say they are worthy of criticism. I also believe the bias of the press is worth criticism. The conspiracy against Bernie is worthy of criticism. So is the email scandal worthy of criticism. Same is true of the IRS scandal. You agree, right?

        • klastri says:

          You’re all over the place of course, so I’ll try to sort out what you’re asking.

          – More progressive groups were scrutinized by the IRS than conservative groups. None of them – not one – was denied the correct tax status.

          – Mr. Trump loved the press and relied on it for more than $1 billion in free advertising. Until he started talking every single day like the madman he is. If a candidate says things suggesting insanity, that’s going to get reported. Sexual assault by a candidate is news. Too bad tor Mr. Trump that he admitted his criminal behavior and remarkable personality defects in his own voice.

          – The conspiracy against Bernie, such as it was, had no effect. mrs. Clinton won a lot more pledged delegates – enough to win the nomination. She ended up not needing any of the super delegates that were the focus of the reports.

        • klastri says:

          The email scandal is concerning. Mrs. Clinton accepted responsibility for it, many times. The voters need to make a decision on whether or not she deserves to be elected. Many more people right now believe she should be the President compared with Mr. Trump. He’s going to lose in a historic landslide. He’s now an international laughingstock and his core business is falling apart. Traffic at his hotels is off substantially, and he will never be able to recover that traffic.

          Another bankruptcy or more on the horizon. Good think he has lots of experience at failure.

        • sarge22 says:

          Stop the lying. The email scandal is a crime. Lock up lying crooked HiLIARy with her rapist hubby and the world will be a better place.

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