Donald Trump and Mike Pence are laying the groundwork to delegitimize the election results. Many of their supporters are convinced the system is "rigged." And the corporate media have fueled their denialism by promulgating the erroneous narrative that there is "low enthusiasm" for Hillary Clinton's candidacy.
75% of Trump voters in Florida think that if Clinton wins, it will only be because of voter fraud: https://t.co/q6gfv6YfNm
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) October 14, 2016
This belief is not limited to Florida. It is widespread, populating across the internet in email forwards and social media memes. Donald Trump proclaims at his rallies that every institution, from the media to the Republican Party itself, is conspiring to defeat him. Mike Pence insinuates that the polls are fishy. And many of their supporters angrily gobble it all up, dismissing any evidence suggesting an impending loss as just more proof that the fix is in.
Trump and Pence bear the brunt of the responsibility for fanning these dangerous flames, but the corporate media are also accountable for spending nearly two years pushing the narrative of "low enthusiasm" for Hillary Clinton.
It is within this falsified context — created with countless headlines about how she is unlikable or uninspiring; about how she isn't doing "well enough" with women, or Black voters, or Millennials; about the size of her rallies or the tone of her voice — that many Trump supporters have found a compelling basis for why their candidate must be winning.
They all love Trump, and no one likes Clinton.
The insistent concealment of evidence of enthusiasm for Clinton is comprehensive: The dearth of photos of her enthusiastic supporters; the refusal to regard as evidence of enthusiasm her loyal and diverse campaign staff; the millions of votes she received in the primary to win her party's nomination.
And now persists the myth that no one is all that excited about Clinton. Which is, in part, underwriting the conviction of Trump supporters that the whole thing must be corrupt if he loses.
It is too late to undo the mess they have created in this election, but one hopes the corporate media take a lesson moving forward, if we still have a functional democracy after November 8: There are consequences to suggesting a candidate is underperforming, just because you don't like her. Do better, should you get the chance.
NEW: Robby Mook statement responding to Trump's speech today pic.twitter.com/seiDPvSP71
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 15, 2016