Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Donald Trump as a One Man Constitutional Crisis, Part II


In my previous post, I described how some of Trump's opponents, fearful that he is a dictator in waiting, might view his election as a constitutional crisis. But of course, it's also possible that if Trump loses, his supporters will become convinced that Clinton and various liberal elites have precipitated a constitutional crisis by stealing the election. After all, if Clinton is "crooked" and we should "lock her up"-- to quote the chant from the Republican National Convention-- she can hardly be trusted to abide by constitutional norms.  Trump supporters who are convinced that the election has been stolen, in turn, might precipitate a Type Three constitutional crisis by engaging in mass protests and civil disobedience. Speculative? Of course. As if on cue, we have this story from the Washington Post:

Donald Trump, trailing narrowly in presidential polls, has issued a warning to worried Republican voters: The election will be “rigged” against him — and he could lose as a result.

Trump pointed to several court cases nationwide in which restrictive laws requiring voters to show identification have been thrown out. He said those decisions open the door to fraud in November.

“If the election is rigged, I would not be surprised,” he told The Washington Post in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “The voter ID situation has turned out to be a very unfair development. We may have people vote 10 times.”

Those comments followed a claim Trump made Monday, to an audience in Ohio, that “the election is going to be rigged.” That same day, in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, he beseeched Republicans to start “watching closely” or the election will be “taken away from us” through fraud.

. . . .

In an interview Tuesday with CBS12 in Florida, Trump seemed to condemn the rulings against the states [limiting voter id requirements]. “Some bad court cases have come down,” he said. Some of his more freewheeling supporters went even further, with the radio host Alex Jones warning listeners that the Obama administration might cancel the election, and off-again, on-again adviser Roger Stone telling Breitbart News that Trump needed to be ready for a violent post-election contest.

“I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be rhetorical,” Stone said. “I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in.”
What a long, strange trip this election is turning out to be.

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