Will the ‘basket of deplorables’ really do it?

Trump is calling on his followers to monitor polling places. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

Carolyn Grant

It’s all over but the crying for the Donald — at least that’s the conventional wisdom. Now polls can be wrong, and we could all be in for one rude awakening on November 8, but it certainly appears that the presidency will go to Hillary Clinton.

The only questions that remain are, will the Democrats take the Senate? Quite likely. Will the Democrats gain a majority in the House? Quite unlikely, given the way congressional districts were gerrymandered in favour of Republicans.

And the final question, will there be an orderly election day and transfer of power? Quite unknown. And that’s quite scary.

Not only has Trump stated loudly — I don’t think he’s capable of stating anything quietly — that he doesn’t know that he’ll accept the election results given how rigged the system is, but he’s also recruiting something called “Vote Protectors”.

You see, the Donald is sure there is going to be voter fraud. As he told a rally in Colorado Springs, “Voter fraud is all too common, and then they criticize us for saying that,” he said. “But take a look at Philadelphia, what’s been going on, take a look at Chicago, take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at some of these cities, where you see things happening that are horrendous.”

Now what would those cities have in common? Large African American communities, who current polling suggests are at least 74 per cent voting for Clinton. Trump is calling on his followers to monitor polling places, just to make sure everything is on the up and up.

What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

Trump’s allies have seized the opportunity. One, Roger Stone, who never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t swallow whole, has hopped on board with StopTheSteal.com and Vote Protectors. If you go the Vote Protectors website, which a Huffington Post reporter did, once you’ve signed up as a Trump supporter, you even get an ID Badge naming you as an official Vote Protector. It’s very official looking, the badge, even more authentic than the old sheriff stars you used to find in cereal boxes. You can wear it proudly next to your American flag pin, just above your side-arm as you “monitor” the polls.

Can you imagine vigilantes patrolling voting places? Is this 2016?

It’s hard to imagine anyone actually buying into this idea, but people are signing up. Will they actually show up at polling places with their little badges? No one knows. But that mindset, that belief that America is on the verge of hell itself should Clinton be elected, that they have been sliding steadily down hill since the election of Barack Obama, is very real.

Take the goonish “militia” that took over the wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year. They were mocked by the public at large, called Y’all Quaida and Yokel Harem, but they were very, very serious about their “mission”. And their supporters were serious too. They believed these guys were saving the nation. There are militia groups like that all over the U.S. In fact studies have shown that these so-called “Patriot” groups have exploded in popularity since the election of the first African American president.

That mindset is very present in some of Trump’s supporters, and the more the man at the top brays about rigged elections and voter fraud, the more they feel as if something will be stolen from them on November 8, the more they will be unwilling to accept the results of the election.

The same people who were so horrified at being called a “basket of deplorables” seem to be contemplating some pretty deplorable behaviour.

By the way, Republican congressmen and women promise that if Hillary Clinton is elected she can look forward to more witch hunts by way of congressional committee, more obstructionism, more hearings and possible impeachment. Now that’s deplorable.

Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Bulletin