Donald Trump: The Only Way I Lose Pennsylvania Is If Democrats Cheat

Another day, another round of irresponsible demagoguery from Donald Trump.

Trump Nixon V

Donald Trump told a crowd in Pennsylvania that the only way he can lose the Keystone State is if Democrats cheat:

Donald Trump again raised the specter of election fraud Friday, saying that the only way he would lose Pennsylvania is to Hillary Clinton is if “they cheat.”

The Republican nominee, speaking at a rally in Altoona, Pennsylvania, repeated his concerns about the fairness of the election.

“The only way we can lose, in my opinion — I really mean this, Pennsylvania is if cheating goes on and we have to call up law enforcement and we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everyone watching because if we get cheated out of this election, if we get cheated out of a win in Pennsylvania, which is such a vital state especially when I know what is happening here,” he said. “She can’t beat what’s happening here. The only way they can beat it in my opinion, and I mean this 100 percent, if in certain sections of the state they cheat.”

Trump has repeatedly claimed the election is “rigged” against him, laying some of the blame on the media.

This statement comes in the wake of a new set of polls, including three recent polls from Pennsylvania that show Clinton with a significant lead outside the margin of error in both a head-to-head match up with Trump and a four way race that includes Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. Moreover, as I’ve noted before, Pennsylvania is a state that Republicans have not won since George H.W. Bush won the state in his landslide victory over Michael Dukakis. Ever since then, the state has consistently, and rather overwhelmingly, gone for the Democratic candidate in every election. In 2008, for example, President Obama beat John McCain by more than 600,000 votes and beat Mitt Romney by roughly 300,000 votes in 2012. Even in relatively close election years such as 2000 and 2004, Al Gore and John Kerry both beat George W. Bush in the Keystone State by roughly 200,000 votes. The main reason for this is the fact that while wide swaths of Northern, Central, and Western Pennsylvania will go heavily for the Republican candidate it has become something of an historical norm that the largely Democratic, and heavily populated areas in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are simply so large that they overwhelm whatever advantages Republicans have in the rest of the state. In off year and mid-term elections, turnout tends to be stronger in Republican parts of the state than in Democratic areas, so we end up with results like the GOP near-sweep of statewide offices that occurred in 2010, although that advantage wasn’t sufficient to save the state’s Republican Governor in 2014. Current polling shows that not only is Trump losing Pennsylvania, but he is losing badly in the Philadelphia and its suburbs, and in the Pittsburgh area. As long as that’s the case, neither he nor any Republican is going to win the Keystone state. If Trump wins it won’t be because of cheating but because Pennsylvania did what Pennsylvania has done in every election for the past twenty-four years.

In addition to being factually inaccurate this latest statement from Trump carries with it the same kind of danger that much of his other rhetoric about a ‘rigged’ system does, namely that it could have a significant and negative influence on how his supporters respond to what seems like an inevitable loss in November. If Donald Trump spends the next three months telling his supporters that the only way he can lose is if the other side cheats, which is of course a blatant lie, then he will contribute to undermining the legitimacy of another election, and that is likely to have a negative impact on how his supporters react to an election loss and how they act in the weeks, months, and years following the 2016. Much like his rhetoric about Mexicans, Muslims, and others, this is another example of how Trump appeals to the worst aspects of American politics and acts in a manner that does nothing but poison the well. Indeed, by claiming that only cheating can deny him the Presidency, Trump appears to be willfully establishing the license for his supporters to engage in violent or disruptive protests in response to a result that they simply chose not to accept. This is not the rhetoric of a reasonable, responsible candidate for office, it is the rhetoric of a demagogue who has come to enjoy whipping up a crowd into an irrational frenzy. Once again, it has come time to ask Trump’s fellow Republicans, and especially those such as Paul Ryan, Reince Priebus, Mike Pence, and others who have rallied around him. They’ve let a demagogue take over their party and they’re going to have to pay for it.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    From Politico

    In a move that’s unprecedented in a presidential election, the campaign late this week launched a page on its website proclaiming, “Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election! Please fill out this form to receive more information about becoming a volunteer Trump Election Observer.”

    Those who wish to be a Trump “observer” are asked to fill out information on the website that should match their voter registration. Once submitted, voters are directed to a donation page.

    Oh, are we surprised?

    Scam scam scam scam. At some point, you have to shake your head and admit that Trump’s Chumps WANT to be fooled….

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    Scam scam scam scam. At some point, you have to shake your head and admit that Trump’s Chumps WANT to be fooled….

    THIS. I live in Pennsylvania in a district that, despite having a very large university, has a Republican Congressman. I have seen almost no ads for Trump during the Olympics. Plenty for Clinton. Almost nothing for Trump. I have seen Clinton placards and stickers. Very little Trump, even in rural areas where he should clean up. Clinton has a ground game here. Trump has none.

    He is not trying to win this state. This is about fame, ego and cheering crowds (and probably some money too). This is not about winning an election because winning an election is hard gritty work and Trump will not do it.

    Pennsylvania GOP should forget him and concentrate on saving Toomey, who could easily win re-election if it weren’t for the horse’s backside atop the ticket. And I have seen lots of Toomey ads.

    This is just laying the groundwork for blaming his electoral loss on everyone but himself. Just like he does with his business failures.

  3. Tony W says:

    Desperate death throes are often quite ugly.

  4. CSK says:

    Do the Chumpkins realize that every cent of their donations is going straight into Cheeto’s pockets to repay the money he lent his campaign?

  5. JohnMcC says:

    This is merely an extension of what the R-party has been telling it’s followers forever. Remember Gov Palin saying how much she loved rural and small-town folks because they were the “real Americans”? If urban dwellers are faux-Americans then they are alien people trying to steal the good guy’s country.

    This is a pathology. It is making our nation ill.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    Trump seems to live completely in the moment and responds to whatever is out in front of him, so it’s probably a fools game to try and glean motivations. But I’m at least part fool, so what the heck. More and more im wondering if Trump is deliberately trying to provoke violence. From his exhortations to his crowds to rough up protestors, to his seemingly regular practice of booking halls that hold 2500 but giving out 10,000 tickets (and thereby guaranteeing a large crowd milling around outside the venues where they will clash with protesters) to this latest drumbeat of ‘those ‘others’ are stealing this election.

    But I can’t think what his end game would be.

  7. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I think it goes well beyond the Chumps’ wanting to be fooled. I think at this point they need desperately to be fooled. This is magical thinking taken to extremes.

  8. Gustopher says:

    Watching Donald Trump is like watching a bad movie. It was fun for a while, but it just drags on being terrible in the same way over and over, and it gets boring*.

    He’s losing right now, and I don’t see how he can expand his electorate by doing the same thing over and over.

    He’s probably doing a lot of damage to the Republican Party in the meantime, sucking all the air out of the room, dominating the media, leaving no chance for downballot Republicans to get their message out.

    *(Except for Showgirls, which is terrible in a different way in nearly every scene)

  9. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    Apparently he is going to do the same thing over and over; he seems to have made that decision yesterday. Breitbart is in ecstasies over it.

    I’m not surprised. He has nothing but his schtick, plus whatever money he can fleece from the Chumpkins.

  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    Pennsylvania is a state that Republicans have not won since George H.W. Bush won the state in his landslide victory over Michael Dukakis. Ever since then, the state has consistently, and rather overwhelmingly, gone for the Democratic candidate in every election.

    Republicans routinely win statewide in Pennsylvania for Governor or Senator, so this says more about the Republicans who have run for President than it does about the state.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    I never thought that Trump’s grifting would make me nostalgic for Sarah Palin, whose grifting style seems less a lot cynical.

  12. CSK says:

    Strategic genius Trump is holding a rally tonight in…Fairfield, Connecticut . He seems to believe CT is “in play.”

  13. Mikey says:

    And just this morning, Trump spokesmoron Katrina Pierson had this exchange on CNN:

    Well, on CNN this morning, as she was arguing with anchor Victor Blackwell about Trump’s “founder of ISIS” remark, Pierson actually said, “Remember, we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time. Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

    Blackwell asked, “You’re saying Barack Obama took the country into Afghanistan post-2009?” Pierson said, “That was Obama’s war, yes.”

    Trump Spox Katrina Pierson: We Weren’t in Afghanistan Until Obama Decided to Go In

  14. Pch101 says:

    Why should anyone be surprised that the presidential nominee of the party that brought us “Voter Fraud!!!” is screaming about, well, voter fraud?

    Do Republicans not see the irony here? All of the most outlandish rhetoric that comes out of Trump’s mouth was part of the GOP platform long before he got there.

    The GOP trashes immigrants, Trump trashes immigrants.

    The GOP yammers on about voter fraud, Trump yammers on about voter fraud.

    The GOP claims that the Second Amendment gives “We the People” the right to overthrow the government in Washington when it goes too far (as they define it), Trump yammers on about the “Second Amendment People” as he drops hints about resisting the government in Washington when it goes too far (as he defines it).

    Are you seeing a pattern here? Aside from Trump having a louder mouth and worse hair, what’s the difference?

  15. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: There is no difference. Trump is the GOP, and the GOP is Trump. He is the logical culmination of the party’s evolution (devolution?) over the last 50 years, and especially the last eight. He is the embodiment of the GOP base’s positions and desires.

    I have no sympathy for the “Never Trump” Republicans, either. They helped build this Frankenstein’s monster, now they want to wave torches at it and make it go away? No. They have to own it, too.

  16. al-Ameda says:

    @Pch101:

    Do Republicans not see the irony here? All of the most outlandish rhetoric that comes out of Trump’s mouth was part of the GOP platform long before he got there.

    The GOP trashes immigrants, Trump trashes immigrants.
    The GOP yammers on about voter fraud, Trump yammers on about voter fraud.
    The GOP claims that the Second Amendment gives “We the People” the right to overthrow the government in Washington when it goes too far (as they define it), Trump yammers on about the “Second Amendment People” as he drops hints about resisting the government in Washington when it goes too far (as he defines it).

    Donald Trump took a look at the thought-to-be ‘deepest and strongest GOP field of presidential candidates in years’ and said to himself, ‘That dog whistle stuff? No problem … I can exploit White male resentment better than Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Lindsay Graham, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, John Kasich, Jeb Bush or any of those guys …’ And, you know what? He did and does.

    I continue to believe strongly that after the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner wherein Obama mocked Trump for his Birther obsession, Trump was looking for a way to get back, get even, in a big way. Well, the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is certainly payback, though not the way any of us expected.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    He’s preparing for defeat. It’s what losers do.

    The idiots who believe Trump are the same ones who believed Obama was a Kenyan. The upside is that in 86 days we’ll know just how many imbeciles we have in this country.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    By the way, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the new Trump White House spokesman: https://twitter.com/immolations/status/750088625556189185

  19. Steve Verdon says:

    With each passing day I despise Trump more and more. His economic policy is generally horrible, even the parts that are not horrible he wildly overstates the benefits they’d bring (yes, removing bad/stupid regulations is good, but the idea it will lead to substantial growth is nonsense). The rest of his rhetoric is just horrible and horrible in the sense of undermining our democracy, alienating people, stoking the fires of racism and bigotry, and simply appealing to the lowest common denominator in people’s behavior towards others. It is just vile and sickening. Unfortunately even if he loses (and it is looking like he will and by a landslide or near to it) he won’t be going away. He’ll be out there spewing this vile invective.

  20. Steve Verdon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    That guy is about as cogent as Trump is when he speaks…maybe even slightly more so.

  21. sam says:

    “In a move that’s unprecedented in a presidential election, the campaign late this week launched a page on its website proclaiming, “Help Me Stop Crooked Hillary From Rigging This Election! Please fill out this form to receive more information about becoming a volunteer Trump Election Observer.”

    According to Rick Hasen at the Election Law Blog, this may be illegal. See, Donald Trump May Be Violating RNC Consent Decree Aimed at Voter Intimidation

  22. Stormy Dragon says:

    @sam:

    From your link:

    In the consent decree, “The RNC agreed that the RNC, its agents, servants, and employees would be bound by the Decree, ‘whether acting directly or indirectly through other party committees.” Does Trump count as the RNC’s agent in these circumstances? They are certainly acting in concert, and it is plausible to argue that Trump and the RNC are agents of each other for purposes of this election.

    If that’s true, then it probably just means the consent decree is unenforceable. I don’t see how someone can agree to a settlement that places legal restrictions on the future behavior of someone who wasn’t party to the original lawsuit.

    I can’t sue Jenos, get him to agree that M. Reynolds will pay me a million dollars, and then claim M. Reynolds is violating the agreement.

  23. CSK says:

    Trump gave an interview to Alex Jones in December 2015. He spoke of his high regard for Jones. You can watch it on Youtube, or, if you can’t stomach that, read this: http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/donald-trump-and-the-amazing-alex-jones

  24. al-Ameda says:

    @CSK:

    Trump gave an interview to Alex Jones in December 2015. He spoke of his high regard for Jones. You can watch it on Youtube, or, if you can’t stomach that, read this: http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/donald-trump-and-the-amazing-alex-jones

    Let me be clear on this: I do not favor torture.
    But if I did, I would subject any enemy combatant prisoners of the ‘war on terror’ to 72 consecutive hours of televised Alex Jones monologues and interviews. I’d have the prisoners strapped into a chair ‘Clockwork Orange style,’ with their eyes forced wide open and sound volume set at 100 decibels. If these prisoners survived that, I’d give them $100, put them on a bus to Wasilla, Alaska, and once there, they’d be free to go.

  25. Jim "Prup" Benton says:

    @Hal_10000: As far as I can tell, he doesn’t have a ground game in any of the battleground states. (Pressure finally got him to start opening his own offices in Florida — and his clumsiness caused him to open his Orlando office right across the street from Pulse.)

    Usually a candidate can count on help from even ambitious rivals, afraid to be seen sabotaging their own for future advantage, but — not counting the people he has insulted personally — it is to the advantage of Cruz, Tom Cotton, Rubio, Kasich, Ryan, and others to stab him in the back, and they can do it simply by giving him their least comptent campaigners to screw him up in their own states.

  26. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    Well, there are a few key differences:

    -Trump isn’t a free trader
    -Trump hasn’t prioritized tax cuts
    -Trump does not appear to be a committed abortion opponent

    If Trump was a pro-life free trader who otherwise had the same Archie Bunker persona that he has now, then I have little doubt that he would be embraced by the GOP establishment. They would be attempting to use damage control to protect him instead of throwing him under the bus or allowing him to fend for himself, and they would be out there helping him to raise money.

  27. Matt says:

    Here in Texas over the last few weeks the few Trump yard signs I’ve seen have been removed. The people kept their other Republican signs and the “keep texas red” signs. Not a good sign for Trump.

  28. Tlaloc says:

    If Trump wins it won’t be because of cheating but because Pennsylvania did what Pennsylvania has done in every election for the past twenty-four years.

    I think you mean “if trump loses…”