Donald Trump allies Roger Stone and Alex Jones have repeatedly claimed that the Democrats will rig the election to ensure a win for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The theme has been picked up by the Republican nominee and been a campaign talking point.
Trump Is Claiming That The Election May Be Rigged For Clinton
Trump Told Rally That “Other Communities” Are Poised To Steal The Election. The Washington Post reported of an October 10 Trump rally:
Donald Trump said at least two untrue things in Pennsylvania on Monday. The first was that he would bring back steel manufacturing. The second was that the election was at risk of being stolen by people in “other communities” — specifically, Philadelphia. Trump was making the same claim, really, through two lenses: Everything and everyone is working against him and his supporters.
His comments about alleged wide-scale voter fraud on Monday — comments which, we cannot emphasize frequently enough, are not supported by any evidence — were direct in their implications. In the past, he's said that “certain sections” of the state might commit fraud to swing the results, an obvious reference to long-simmering (and long-debunked) rumors about voter fraud in Philadelphia. On Monday, he simply said it.
“So important that you get out and vote. So important that you watch other communities, because we don't want this election stolen from us,” Trump said in Ambridge, Pa., northwest of Pittsburgh. “We don't want this election stolen from us. We do not want this election stolen.” [The Washington Post, 10/11/16]
Trump Has Repeatedly Claimed The Election May Be Rigged. The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer wrote of Trump:
“The election is going to be rigged—I’m going to be honest,” Donald Trump said to a rowdy crowd in August, at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. “People are going to walk in and they’re going to vote ten times, maybe,” Trump told an interviewer later. A few days afterward, in Pennsylvania, where Trump was then lagging by nine points in the polls, he warned supporters that “the only way we can lose . . . is if cheating goes on.” That week, a new page appeared on his campaign Web site, inviting concerned citizens to volunteer to be “Trump Election Observers” so that they could “help me stop Crooked Hillary from rigging this election!”
At the first Presidential debate, Trump and Hillary Clinton were asked whether they would accept the ultimate outcome of the election. Trump evaded the question at first, before winkingly conceding that he would. But after the debate he went right back to his routine—more talk of rigging. Those polls that said Clinton had won the debate? They were skewed against him, he said, just like Google was, with its suspiciously pro-Clinton search results. At campaign stops this week, Trump reiterated his claims that Clinton was out to steal the vote. He even told the Times that he was reconsidering whether he’d accept a Clinton victory at all.
As my colleague Amy Davidson has discussed, Republicans have spent years, beginning well before Trump’s campaign, warning voters that devious people were trying to cast illegitimate ballots to swing elections. They gave the problem a tidy, intuitive-sounding name: voter fraud. But, in an especially toxic political gambit, Trump has taken this concept to the extreme: trying to delegitimize a national election even while campaigning for the Presidency. [The New Yorker, 10/8/16]
Trump To Fox’s Sean Hannity: “We’d Better Be Careful, Because [The] Election’s Going To Be Rigged.” [Media Matters, 8/5/16]
PolitiFact: Trump’s “Rigged” Election Claims Are “Pants On Fire” False. The fact-checking website PolitiFact wrote of Trump’s claims:
Trump has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. election system is rigged.
He has cited examples of voter fraud, which is extremely rare, often unintentional and not on a scale large enough to affect a national election.
While there are isolated examples of bought local elections, experts say it cannot be replicated on a national scale. While it is possible to tamper with electronic voting machines, there is no evidence deliberate malfeasance has altered any election.
We rate Trump’s claim Pants on Fire. [PolitiFact, 8/15/16]
Trump And Stone Have Repeatedly Pushed “Rigged” Election Conspiracy
Roger Stone And Alex Jones Are Conspiracy Theorists Who Are Working Together To Push Trump. Stone is a longtime Trump ally who now heads the pro-Trump super PAC Committee To Restore America’s Greatness and the related 527 group Stop the Steal. Jones is a radio host who believes in extreme conspiracy theories, including that the government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks and school shootings around the country. The two are partners in pushing Trump to Jones’ audience; Stone regularly appears on Jones’ program and feeds him and his audience pro-Trump stories and talking points. Jones and Stone also frequently claim that Democrats will rig the election for Clinton. [Media Matters, 5/3/16, 5/9/16]
Stone And Jones Claimed Republicans Were Trying To “Steal” The Nomination From Trump. Stone and Jones’ partnership was cemented during the lead up to the Republican National Convention, when they organized a “Stop the Steal” rally in that was going to take place in Cleveland during the convention. Stone’s Stop the Steal group helped organized the protest, which claimed that Republican “insiders plan to totally ignore the will of the voters and use legal trickery and bribery to try to steal.” After Trump mathematically clinched the nomination, the rally became a pro-Trump unity rally. [Media Matters, 5/3/16, 7/7/16]
Stone’s Stop The Steal Website Now Claims Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election. Stone’s Stop the Steal group states on its website that “the Clintons had to cheat and rig the system to steal the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders. Why wouldn’t they try to steal the election from Donald Trump?” The group demands that there be an “inspection of the software used to program the voting machines in every jurisdiction prior to the beginning of voting by an independent and truly non-partisan third party” and there be “targeted EXIT-POLLING in targeted states and targeted localities that we believe the Democrats could manipulate based on their local control, to determine if the results of the vote have been skewed by manipulation.” [Stop the Steal, accessed 10/11/16]
Jones: Clinton Is “Going To Try To Steal The General Election.” Jones released a July 30 video headlined, “An Emergency Message to Donald Trump.” Jones said that Clinton is “going to try to steal the general election” and urged Trump to “seriously think about making the issue of Hillary’s election fraud in the primaries one of the central issues to defeating her in November.” He added that “it is imperative that the Trump campaign make this one of the central issues” of the election. “If she stole the primary, she’s going to try to steal the general election.” [Media Matters, 8/1/16]
Stone: “We Have Widespread Voter Fraud.” Stone pushed the election fraud theme on The Milo Yiannopoulos Show, stating, “I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly.” He added, “I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.” [Breitbart.com, 7/29/16]
Stone Told Jones There’s Going To Be “An Egregious And Outrageous Effort To Steal The Next Election.” Stone added that “if there’s any solid evidence of election irregularities you’re prepared to challenge her swearing in and create a constitutional crisis.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/4/16]
Stone: The Clintons Will Try To Rig The Election Because “They Will Probably Go To Prison” Under President Trump. [Newsmax TV, The Steve Malzberg Show, 8/5/16]
Stone: “I Am Certain They Will Try To Steal If Close.” [Twitter.com, 8/5/16]
Stone: “Hillary Will STEAL This Election.” [Twitter.com, 8/14/16]
Stone Column: “Can The 2016 Election Be Rigged? You Bet.” Stone published a column in The Hill claiming that Democrats are trying to rig the election. The column concluded: “We are now living in a fake reality of constructed data and phony polls. The computerized voting machines can be hacked and rigged and after the experience of Bernie Sanders there is no reason to believe they won’t be. Don’t be taken in.” [Media Matters, 8/16/16; The Hill, 8/16/16]
Stone: Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich Will Likely Rig Voting Machines For Clinton. Stone said during an August 21 speech:
ROGER STONE: This race is going to be close and down to the wire. I expect that either she will remain very slightly ahead through most of the polling, largely because most of the public pollsters oversample Democrats. Or the lead will seesaw back and forth but always remain in range. That's why I believe there's a high probability that between voting illegal immigrants -- voter fraud -- and rigging the machines in states where they can do so -- when I say “they,” the Clintons -- or where Republican establishment allies of theirs will rig the machines. No, I'm sorry, I don't trust John Kasich to conduct an honest [inaudible] in Ohio. I don't. And there's substantial evidence that Ohio was stolen from John Kerry for George Bush.
Some of you may remember in this last presidential election when Karl Rove was on Fox and he had a meltdown, insisting that the numbers on Ohio on the big screen had to be wrong -- had to be wrong. “Romney’s going to carry Ohio, they have to be wrong.” Why was he so sure? Because he thought the machines were rigged. That’s why. Because he rigged them for George W. Bush. That’s why. [Media Matters, 8/21/16]
Stone: Clinton May Rig Voting Machines “For A Desired Result.” While speaking on a September 29 conference call with supporters, Stone said “there is no doubt” that voter machines are “easy to manipulate” and “program to have a desired result.” He also baselessly claimed there was evidence showing voting machines were “rigged by Hillary to screw Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries,” and that “if Hillary will cheat Bernie, she’ll cheat Donald Trump and the American people.” [Media Matters, 9/30/16]
Stone And Jones Have Taken Credit For Trump’s “Rigged” Election Talking Point
Jones Says He “Personally Talked To” Trump And Encouraged Him To Push Rigged Election Conspiracy Theory. On his August 31 program, Jones claimed that he “personally talked” to Trump to push the theme and “then Trump comes out two days after I talked to him and after I put the message out.” [Genesis Communications Network, The Alex Jones Show, 8/31/16]
Jones’ Infowars Website: “Republican Nominee Echoes Alex Jones' Warning.” Jones’ website Infowars wrote on August 2 that Trump was echoing Alex Jones on the rigged election theme. Editor Paul Joseph Watson wrote: “Echoing sentiments expressed by Alex Jones in his special emergency message to Trump, the Republican presidential candidate warned during his speech in Columbus, Ohio last night that the election will be rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.” Watson added:
Trump’s comments mirror Alex Jones’ warning, which he explained in a YouTube video posted on Saturday.
“If she stole the primary, she’s going to try to steal the general election,” cautioned Jones, adding, “We need a referendum supporting free and open elections in this country, and that referendum is a landslide for Trump – we’ve got to call this fraud out for what she is.”
Jones also drew attention to how Bernie was screwed over by the Democratic Party establishment, and in a subsequent article, how Trump may need something approaching a landslide to counter Hillary’s vote fraud. [Infowars, 8/2/16]
Stone “Said He’s Pleased Trump Was Seemingly Following His Outside Advice.” Politico reported of Stone after Trump began claiming that the election might be rigged:
“You had precincts where there were practically nobody voting for the Republican,” Trump said. “And I think that’s wrong. I think that was unfair, frankly.”
Reached Tuesday, Stone, who has no official affiliation with the campaign, said he’s pleased Trump was seemingly following his outside advice. “You have to inoculate early on this. You have to educate people to the fact that this is a real possibility.” [Politico, 8/2/16]