Pennsylvania is a swing state Donald Trump needs to win badly in order to stay competitive in the election, but he seems to be getting in his own way.
It appears Trump’s “rigged election” rhetoric is having the opposite effect to turn out the vote. At least one Trump supporter, Al Green, who was interviewed by MSNBC, says he supports Trump but won’t vote November 8:
I’m not going to vote because I think the people are going to get Trump in but it’s not going to go that way.”
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) October 25, 2016
Experts say this is common among people who feel that the election has a predetermined result and that the Illuminati controls all. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Political science research into the topic suggests that both the perception of corruption as well as negative messages about political empowerment may limit voters’ desire to participate in the political process.”
The WSJ highlights one study conducted by Swedish researchers:
… Stefan Dahlberg and Maria Solevid found that ‘perceiving politicians as corrupt decreases turnout.’ The researchers studied voting behavior across 26 countries, and found the effect was especially pronounced in countries with low levels of corruption. In countries with high levels of existing corruption, faith in the political process is already low and voter perceptions of corruption don’t have as much of a measurable impact, the study finds.
Voters who feel their ballots don’t count are simply less likely to get our and vote. Why would they?
Trump’s rigged election claims have become a staple in his stump speeches across the country. It’s quite possible the Republican nominee has no idea that elections are overseen by bipartisan officials and are locally-controlled. Or he’s just trying to lay the groundwork on excuses as to why he lost in a slam dunk election.
I’d go with the latter.
But even though Trump’s rhetoric is hurting his chances of being elected he just can’t help himself. Last week, he tweeted:
Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016
It’s a claim he’s still running with today. He and his surrogates are making wild claims from dead people being registered to vote (dead people are registered but there is no evidence they are voting) to a large scale voting operation funded by the DNC.
His rhetoric isn’t just doing damage to his own voter turnout, but will ultimately generate negativity towards down-ballot races for Republicans as well. It’s beautiful.
But the reality is there is no evidence that “large scale” vote fixing is taking place in the U.S. While it is not non-existent there certainly isn’t enough evidence on his side to suggest voter fraud has the ability to sway an election. In one study out of 1 billion ballots, only 31 instances of voter fraud were found.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton is taking a smarter approach to getting her voters to turnout. She’s telling voters not to believe the polls which show her several points ahead of her opponent, she’s telling crowds she needs every vote she can get on Nov. 8. This creates urgency and makes voters feel less apathetic about the system, which should translate to better turnout.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Ethan Miller