“In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem.” —George Carlin
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” —Isaac Asimov
“If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.” —Orson Scott Card
Donald Trump is alleging that a conspiracy is underway between the news media and the Democratic Party to commit vast election fraud. “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday. His running mate, Mike Pence, apparently does not agree and tried to smooth over Trump’s comment, saying that Trump was only referring to media bias and vowing that “we will absolutely accept the result of the election.”
As Trump’s ranking has slipped in the polls over the past week, in part due to the allegations of sexual abuse that have come against him, he has become more desperate to salvage his campaign, and his claims of a rigged election are just one of his tactics. But his talk is disturbing and harmful, and has prompted widespread condemnation. Even prominent Republicans are warning that Trump is undermining basic faith in the electoral process.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said this week, “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”
While my thoughts have always leaned toward ignoring the tiresome rhetoric, Brian Stelter of CNN disagrees and claims that to ignore it is the real danger:
“Over time, the repetition, Trump’s lies about election rigging have become a form of background noise, more of the same, and this is a propaganda technique, whether Trump knows it or not. If you say something often enough, if you plant enough seeds, people start to wonder, ‘Will my vote matter? Will it actually count?’ We as a country cannot allow ourselves to become numb to this. We as a media cannot shrug it off as old news … Some of his supporters believe him.”
According to the results of studies by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, “The Brennan Center’s ongoing examination of voter fraud claims reveal that voter fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud in elections relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators. Voter fraud is not acceptable in our elections, but we must find a balance and not impose solutions that make it harder for millions of eligible Americans to participate in our democracy.”
A more humorous aside … in my search for articles about the security of the voting process, I stumbled upon a website devoted to ‘personal protection and security tips’ for a variety of situations, including going to the polls. Turns out the danger may not be voter fraud, but voter security, especially with Trump calling for thugs to monitor the polls! The twenty tips were as follows:
- Do Not Argue About Politics in Public. If you belong to a particular political party and there is an argument about another political party, then it is important that you do not join in. This is so that you do not dabble into the augment [argument] that may warrant a fight to ensue.
- Always Get Back On Time. The election period in various countries of the world, may be a time for violence to develop; therefore it is appropriate that you do not stay out late. As a matter of fact you have got to get home early.
- Do Not Criticize Any Politician. Do not attempt to criticize any politician of the opposition party in your country in public. This is because if you do, you might be stepping on the toes of people who may want to be harmful.
- Do not Support or Wear Political Campaign Uniforms in Public. If you belong to any political party, it may be better that you do not wear political party uniforms. This is so that you do not attract the attention of opposition party members who may be irritated by it. More often than not these party members may be all out to injure others.
- Don’t Keep Late Night. It is very needful that during election period, you wrap up all you have to do before late night. As a matter of fact most organizations in Nigeria for instance, to a very large extent preach that their workers must not prowl at late night.
- Always Listen to the News Always. One of the ways to be security conscious during election time is to always stay abreast with issues. One of the ways to comfortably do this is by listening to the news always.
- Don’t Disclose Who You Will Vote For at the Polls. During election period, people have different Candidates they pledge allegiance to. Some of them go as far as picking up a fight with those who aren’t in the same camp with them. Therefore it would do you well not to disclose whom you plan to vote for.
- Once You Are Casting Your Vote Go Straight to Your Home. One of the ways to stay secure during elections is by returning home after casting your vote. Staying back or loitering with other supporters after casting your vote may be detrimental.
- Don’t Move About With Huge Cash. If you have plans to move around with huge amount of cash during election, then you want to consider having a re-think, as this is no time to do such. Miscreants take advantage of the period to rob people off their valuables.
- When Driving, Ensure That Your Car Central Lock is activated. Do not drive without making sure that your car central lock is activated. This is so that you know that you are safe inside, rather than unsafe.
- Steer Clear Undefined Crowd or Groups of People. It is very needful that you do not associate yourself with undefined crowd or group of people who take delight in analyzing political issues and candidates in public.
- If You Must Hang out with Friends, Ensure that it is Safe to Do So. Should you want to hang out with friends, then you must really be sure that you do this in a very secure area. It has to be in a non-violent area, or an area that is less prone to violence.
- Don’t Move About With Expensive Gadgets (Mobile Device). You would be doing yourself a world of good, if you do not move around with expensive gadgets. This is so that you do not run into scoundrels who may want to rob you off them.
- Minimize Your Family Outings during Elections Period. It is important that you minimize your Family Outings during election. This is because of the pockets of troubles which may ensue and which makes your family vulnerable to any attack.
- Stock up Your Home with Food. The election period is a period that enforces the stay at home order. Therefore, it is vital to store up the house with all the food stuff and ingredients that is needed so as to avoid incessant outings to the markets and malls.
- Have Your Doctor’s Number Handy. If you do not have a medical person’s details handy, then you may want to know that you need to do this. This is so that you can call whenever you need a medical advice during election.
- Cast Your Vote Once. One of the ways that you may be fermenting security trouble is when you decide to vote twice. There may be other party candidates that may want to get violent with you. So vote for your candidate just once.
- Do Not Talk Recklessly At the Polls. To be safe; it is forbidden that you do not talk recklessly at the polling unit about any candidate or the election process. Doing this may attract some grave consequences.
- Celebrate in a Civil Manner. If after the elections your candidate wins, then it is important that you celebrate in a civil manner. It is no time to begin to paint the town red in a lavish style. Remember, that some folks who are in support of the opposition may not be too happy.
- Do Not Partake Of Election Violence. Do not put yourself up to be used by politicians to perpetrate election violence. This is because some opposition people might as well be lurking in the dark to harm those who do this.
Obviously, in some countries going to vote on election day is no simple thing! The ones that I liked best were #15 & #16 … they gave me the best laugh I have had all night, maybe all week! Fortunately, in the U.S. we can still laugh at this, but it is with tongue-in cheek that we do so. I expect that if Trump had his way, we might actually need to take some of the above list somewhat more seriously. I have, actually, considered taking my rolling pin to the polls with me, just in case some thug tries to hang around in my personal space. I don’t own guns, but I wield a mean rolling pin!
On a more serious note, though, the election is not rigged, any incidences of voter fraud are likely to be few and far between and highly unlikely to be significant to the outcome of the election. Donald Trump very likely has little or no chance of winning the election, and I think he knows it. With his claims of voter fraud and a rigged election, he is laying the groundwork, paving the way for an excuse for his loss to Hillary Clinton. It is his fantasy world, but the danger is in the lemmings who blindly support him and who will believe everything he says, including that the election was “stolen” from him. I have already heard of some who have claimed they will revolt with violence if he does not win. This, then, is the danger in Trump’s fantasy, in his rhetoric. He cannot take criticism, so he will not take the blame for losing the largest contest of his life, and in making excuses he is putting our nation’s security at risk. This, folks, is not the way of a man who truly loves his country, but of a man who loves nobody more than himself. Think about it.