I live in Pennsylvania. It is traditionally a battleground state. Although it has gone blue in recent Presidential elections by comfortable margins, it has also elected GOP Congressman, Senators, state legislators and governors (we would still have a GOP governor if Corbett hadn’t been such a jackass).
All week, I’ve been watching the Olympics. The Olympics draws large audiences and traditionally draws lots of political ads. I have seen plenty of ads for Pat Toomey, the incumbent GOP senator who is facing an uphill battle for re-election. I have seen plenty of ads for Hillary Clinton (which, ironically, make me glad I’m not voting for her since they taut her tax and spend “economic” plans). So how many ads have I seen for Trump?
And that wasn’t really a Trump ad. It was from an anti-Clinton PAC.
Donald Trump is now running around saying that if he loses Pennsylvania it will be because the election was “rigged”. I’m sure, at some point, he’ll claim it was sarcastic. Whatever. All the commentary has focused on the notion that Trump is undermining faith in the system and indulging in conspiracy theories. And sure, there’s that aspect to it. There’s a certain faction of the Right Wing that pores through district-by-district voting data to claim … something.
But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. I don’t think Trump gives two shits about whether he undermines faith in the system. He’s simply laying the groundwork in case he loses. His pattern in business is to blame his failures on everyone but himself. We’ve seen in this election that Trump can’t be bothered to do the hard work of actually, you know, running a campaign. He has far fewer staffers, has raised far less money and has far less of a ground game than Clinton. Read this report about how how Trump is just now throwing together a slapdash operation a critical swing county in Ohio.
He’s not trying. If he were trying, I’d be seeing ads. I’d be seeing signs, volunteers and bumper stickers. I would know exactly where to go if I wanted campaign materials. I’ve heard similar things from friend and acquaintances from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh: Trump isn’t trying.
Maybe he has an idea that he can get by without these things and just coast on celebrity and speeches. But I am extremely dubious. Winning an election is about more than speeches and issues. It’s about getting people to the damned polls. This stuff matters. This is how the sausage is made. This is why you hire professionals who know the districts down to the house level and will work tirelessly to wring every single vote out of a district. At this point, with less than three months to go, I’m not seeing a lot of effort in that direction. It’s not over by any means; but it’s getting awfully late.
So no Trump isn’t “destroying Democracy”. He’s simply crying that the other team cheated to cover up his own failings.