Claims made by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump about the election being rigged against him undermine the political process and may actually be hurting his campaign, according to one expert.
Trump began arguing over the weekend at campaign rallies that the process is being set up against him. He also wrote on Twitter “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”
UW-Madison journalism professor Mike Wagner says it’s striking that a major party candidate would make such claims without a shred of evidence, and he believes it could actually be damaging to Trump’s campaign and Democracy as a whole. “I think it’s harmful for our Democracy to have to endure these sorts of claims when they are plainly false,” he argues.
Wagner points out that rigging a nationwide election would be almost impossible, since many different state and local officials run the process. “It would be an unimaginable, an impossible effort to coordinate the rigging of an election across all of these different state and county structures,” he says.
Wagner says Trump is unlikely to win over an undecided voters with his argument, while the nominee might actually be hurting his campaign. Trump’s claims have been dominating the news cycle, driving attention away from scandals that could help him catch up to Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton – such as the release of additional emails by the FBI Monday morning.
Trump’s claims have received a strong rebuke from critics, including several Republicans. A spokesman with the state Republican Party said they are “fully confident in the election process.”