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Monday, October 24, 2016

Is Trump cleverly setting us up for fraud?

Trump's gotten a lot of heat for saying that the election is rigged and he won't necessarily accept the outcome.

But, just to engage in a bit of conspiracy speculation -- what if he's really setting us up?

The media has responded to Trump by arguing that there's practically no voter fraud. But they are talking there about voter fraud due to dead people voting, people voting twice, illegal aliens voting, etc.

But in the history of American elections, it's hard to argue there's not reason to be careful.

  1. There's 2000 Bush-Gore. That's not really fraud so much as bad ballot design, ambiguous situations (ballots from troops arriving too late, but not due to the fault of the troops), and conflict of interest (Katherine Harris).
  2. There's 1960, with Daley holding back Chicago ballots until very, very late -- with some speculation this was to be sure JFK carried Illinois over Nixon.
  3. There's the election of Lyndon Johnson to the Senate in 1948, pretty clearly due to ballot box stuffing.

So, despite the media's current insistence that there's no way the 2016 election could be rigged, it's hard to feel like it's impossible. Particularly since We've had Russian hacking of the DNC, and this week's large DNS attack on a variety of websites.

So, what if Trump is actually setting us up?  What if the Russians (or some other nefarious group) have figured out a way to change the counts in key precincts in enough swing states to get a narrow Trump victory? It's hard to prove fraud; easy to suspect it. And if it is cyber-rigging, we probably won't know exactly who did it -- just like we are pretty sure the Russians hacked the DNC, but don't seem to have a good idea exactly which Russians.

But, if fraud is suspected, we'll have to have all those media "experts" eat their words and do a 180 degree turn.  Suspicion will be both rampant and understandable.

Is this Trump's game? Does he know the Russians / Chinese / etc. will be hacking the election, so he's setting up all these "election is rigged" statements so that he can get nearly everyone else in the U.S. telling us (incorrectly!) that this is impossible?

And, if it is Putin, he doesn't actually have to get Trump in office to succeed. He succeeds if U.S. political institutions are thrown into disarray, which they surely would be if we have something bizarre.

So, what might be a "bizarre" conclusion?  Fraud is highly suspect, but can't be proven. Electors desert Trump, and some sort of compromise is worked out (?Paul Ryan as president?). Trump supporters cry foul.

I don't think that's the case. I think Trump's ego just doesn't allow him to think he could lose unless the other side is unfair.  But, still, it's been a very strange election cycle so far, so it's hard for me to 100% rule this out.

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