Recently, Donald Trump, who is badly trailing in polls to Hillary Clinton, has begun claiming that the presidential election will be "rigged" against him. It’s a nonsensical claim with no basis in reality — and, as Dara Lind writes, it’s dangerous to public confidence in the electoral process.
At a press conference Thursday, President Obama was asked to respond to Trump’s concerns, and was briefly at a loss. "I don’t even know where to start on answering this question," Obama said with an exasperated half-smile. "Of course the elections will not be rigged! What does that mean!"
Obama went on to explain that the election process is run on the state and local level, not by the federal government. The idea of a nationwide rigging, he said, is "ridiculous" and "doesn’t make any sense." He added: "I don’t think anybody would take that seriously."
After saying that the federal government would try to make sure people’s voting rights are protected, and that there’s not any sort of hacking of voting machines, Obama explained what he thought was really going on here:
I think all of us at some points in our lives have played sports, or maybe just played in a schoolyard or a sandbox, and sometimes folks, if they lose, they start complaining that they got cheated.
But I’ve never heard of somebody complain about being cheated before the game was over! Or before the score was even tallied!
So my suggestion would be, you know, go out there and try to win the election. If Mr. Trump is up 10 or 15 points on Election Day and ends up losing, then maybe he can raise some questions. That doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.
Indeed, it very much does not seem to be the case at the moment, as Trump seems to be getting worse polling news every day.