While Donald Trump has been increasing his use of the rigged election theme in his speeches and tweets, his favorite surrogate has also been on the air feeding every right-wing stereotype and conspiracy theory.
Top Donald Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani claimed Sunday that Democrats could steal a close election by having dead people vote in inner cities …
"I'm sorry, dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans," the former New York City mayor told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." "You want me to (say) that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that."
He’d have to be a moron? Well, that certainly means there are no barriers between Rudy and saying anything at all. But why is Giuliani focusing on these cities, especially when Chicago is in a state where Clinton enjoys a massive lead?
Giuliani said as a prosecutor, he remembers an election in Chicago in which 720 supposedly dead people voted -- and that 60 dead people cast ballots in his own mayor's race. …
He also said that only Democrats do it, because it happens in inner cities.
“Inner cities,” meaning black people, of course. Because what Rudy Giuliani means here is black people are cheaters.
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Guiliani’s “inner city”—the place that Donald Trump continually calls out as being a no jobs, no future, violence-filled hell on earth and the home of all black people—is also the focus of the places Trump is sending his red shirts to watch the polls.
Saying Trump merely "suggested" voter fraud is rampant in Pennsylvania is an understatement. The Republican presidential nominee has said flatly that if he doesn't win the key battleground state, it's because of cheating.
The idea of political operatives scouring polling sites to prevent — at least as Trump puts it — nearly inevitable foul play may sound frighteningly vague, but his campaign is leveraging his comments more precisely: A form on Trump's website recruits volunteers to become poll watchers and "stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election."
These poll watchers could challenge any voter they like, dragging the voting process at polling stations overrun with Trump “watchers” to a halt. And while some Republican lawmakers may be pretending to be offended by what Trump is saying, the truth is Republican lawmakers are working to make it easier for the red shirts to stop voters.
Poll watchers currently must live in the county in which they operate, but new legislation could change that. House Bill 29 would allow watchers to volunteer in any county in the state, as long as they're Pennsylvania residents.
The bill currently is in the House Appropriations Committee and is written so that it would take effect immediately if passed when the House reconvenes later in October.
Passing this legislation would mean that Trump supporters could come in from rural areas and challenge voters dozens or hundreds of miles from where they live. Republicans are using the presence of three Black Panther members outside a single polling station in 2008 as the justification of the bill, but the Republican legislation allows watchers from distant areas to come inside the polling place to challenge voters.
The idea that there is voter fraud in Philadelphia isn’t an idea that originated with Trump. Republicans have been pushing this idea for years without evidence.
The idea that Democrats steal elections in Pennsylvania via Philadelphia is one that Trump has promoted and is hardly a new accusation. During a Trump event in August in Altoona, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, a Republican who represents a large portion of Southwest Pennsylvania, spoke about overcoming "what goes on down in Philadelphia."
"The cheating, what they do – we've got to make sure we're doing the job here in central Pennsylvania," Shuster said, according to the Washington Post
Republicans have resisted efforts to address genuine issues with the Pennsylvania voting laws. Instead, they passed a voter ID law in 2012 that was struck down as unconstitutional.
The judge … ruled that the law hampered the ability of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots, with the burden falling most heavily on elderly, disabled and low-income residents, and that the state’s reason for the law — that it was needed to combat voter fraud — was not supported by the facts.
But with Trump building his case for “massive voter fraud,” Republicans are hurrying to help him.
When Trump suggests that Pennsylvania may be stolen, "all of sudden it kicks into gear that there's going to be massive cheating, massive fraud, enough to swing an election," something Thornburgh said is "not based on anything other than Donald Trump."
Not based on anything other than Donald Trump. And on Rudy Giuliani. And on decades of Republican efforts to create a pretense of voter fraud in order to justify restrictive voter ID legislation. Because just like Trump’s rigged election talk, voter ID laws are designed to see fewer people voting. Especially fewer minority people.
Don’t be mistaken when Donald Trump talks about voter fraud. He means fraud in the “inner cities.” He means black people are trying to stop his campaign. And of course he’s right. They are—by voting fairly, and hopefully unhampered by the red shirts Trump is dispatching to throw a monkey wrench into democracy.