Spangle: Donald Trump Is Wrong About Rigged Elections

Tonight, I felt panic and fear about our country’s future around Donald Trump’s comments on the “rigged election results.” I’ve not felt them since 9-11. His lie of a rigged election undermines the foundations of our Republic in an effort to win an election and to avoid self-criticism. To spare his own ego, he is unleashing an idea as destructive to our nation as the ideologies that sent planes into the Twin Towers.

Over 14 years, I’ve worked for parties, candidates, and the media professionally. Saying that I am jaded and cynical is an understatement. I thought no bit of political rhetoric could shock and outrage me. Donald Trump did it. It happened in the third and final debate for the 2016 Presidential election.

Moderator Chris Wallace asked, “Will you accept the results of the election?”

The nominee of the Republican Party for President replied, “I will look at it at the time. I will keep you in suspense.”

My heart sank and a chill ran up my spine. Hillary Clinton captured my emotions perfectly in one of her few genuine moments: “That’s horrifying.” Later, “He’s talking down our democracy, and I, for one, am appalled.”

By frivolously claiming that our ballot boxes aren’t secure, he is further disengaging citizens from participating in the voting process. We need Americans to take politics seriously now more than ever. Donald Trump’s lie that ballots cast might not end up as valid is damn near criminal. If the Electoral System were a person, they’d sue him for slander.

First, let’s tackle the biased media. He’s right. The media are against him. The political establishment is against him. He doesn’t get a fair shot. But that is because he’s a tremendous asshole.

Trump assumes that the slate was supposed to be cleared on Labor Day. The decades of lewd comments and bad business practices weren’t to be mentioned. When they were mentioned, he fought back to appear tough.

He is petty. So is the press. Journalists may want to appear sober-minded and fair, but they are as vain and narcissistic as any other group of media figures. Calling them liars as a campaign tent pole and assuming there would be no consequence for that is not only naïve but juvenile. The press loves a sex scandal. If you don’t want to be involved in a sex scandal, don’t harass women! He is completely unable to accept that there are consequences for his actions. Negative social cues must mean a conspiracy is afoot to tear him down. This paranoia and lack of self-awareness are a sign of narcissistic behavior.

The more sinister charge is that vote totals will be changed to choose Clinton. Does voter fraud take place? Absolutely. It is the exception and not the rule. It is in small amounts, and it is absurd to imply that there could be enough fraud to sway a Presidential election. Reader, if you believe this to be the case, you’re wrong. You’re a conspiracy theorist.

How do I know? In 2003, I spent days watching the recount process as Scott Keller won a city council seat in Indianapolis by 3 votes. The next year I saw Jon Elrod go through the same process and won a recount by 14 votes. I spent Election Night 2008 at the convention center watching a few hundred citizens count ballots. In every election from 2008 to 2012, I spent every Election Day in polling places investigating concerns risen by local libertarian volunteers and nonpartisan watchers. I never saw anything beyond confusion over election law by volunteers. When confusion arises, clerks and state election officials are quick to make sure the laws are properly followed. I worked with dozens of Republican and Democrat county clerks, Election Division officials and Secretaries of State. I was appointed to the state HAVA (Help America Vote Act) Commission in 2010 and helped shape how votes are cast in Indiana.

On Election Day, thousands of Hoosiers (and Americans) will volunteer to serve as watchers, judges, and poll workers. Most take a vacation day to spend twelve very long, very boring hours to help a person sign their name and fill out a ballot. They do it because they love the American process of democracy.

When Donald Trump and the rest of his cartel of conspirators push the idea that elections are rigged, he really means that little old woman that smiles as she hands you the ballot is the one screwing you, reader. Does that make any sense? Does it jive with your voting experience?

If you are one of the people that believe elections are rigged, county clerks are always starved for volunteers to work the polls on election day. Each polling place needs proportional numbers of Rs and Ds and Ls (if we can convince them) to serve in several capacities. Each political party, at least in Indiana, can get watcher cards from the county clerk. Partisan citizens, preferably lawyers, can go in and help a voter if there is an issue or look for fraud. It is part of the checks and balances of the American system.

I ask that you share this article. It is important that Americans understand that the vote they cast will be counted. Votes that are fraudulently cast are usually sorted out. Our friends and neighbors need to understand that there are checks and balances in the system by competent elected officials that treat voting with the seriousness we expect of them. Most of all, we need to balance conspiracy theories with the truth.

The truth is that your vote counts and saying otherwise is a terrorist act against the underpinnings of the Republic.

Chris Spangle is the publisher and editor of We Are Libertarians, a news site and podcast that covers national and Indiana politics from the libertarian perspective. Spangle previously worked in marketing for the Englehart Group on behalf of the Advocates for Self-Government. He also served as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana and producer of the Abdul in the Morning Show. He now works as the web director of a nationally syndicated morning show.