The waning weeks of the US presidential election have been deeply, deeply unedifying. It seems to have become a heated debate over who has committed or abetted the most sex crimes rather than any actual debate about policy; and as Hillary Clinton‘s poll lead has pulled ahead, Donald Trump has entered full Roger Stone attack mode. 

Because Trump is a maniac, it greatly overshadows the content of WikiLeaks release of internal Clinton campaign emails, which continue to prove an unfortunate point: if she weren’t running against a hugely divisive cretin like The Donald, Clinton would plainly be one of the least inspiring presidential candidates in recent memory.

It’s clear Trump knows his chances aren’t good. FiveThirtyEight‘s election polling summary has Clinton anywhere from 4 to 11 points ahead, which places her at a fairly significant change of winning:

Hillary Clinton has a significant lead, although there’s some question about the margin. For instance, one major national poll released on Sunday morning, from ABC News and the Washington Post, had Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points. Another, from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, had Clinton up 11 points instead. Our forecast model falls in the middle and shows Clinton with a 6- or 7-point lead. That translates to an 86 percent chance for her to win the election according to our polls-only model, and an 83 percent chance per our polls-plus model.

That being the case, Trump and his surrogates are ramping up the claims that the election is rigged. They can’t seem to decide what ‘rigged’ actually means – with their explanations oscillating between “the media is extremely biased” (probably true) to “a secret cabal of international bankers are rigging the election through subterfuge and guile” (hmm maybe less true).

Trump’s focus is on the media, as you can see from his recent tweets, including his rant about Saturday Night Live:

But campaign surrogate and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani – who hasn’t really contributed much to Trump’s campaign other than weird yelling on cable news – is absolutely adding to the confusion here, both suggesting that Trump doesn’t believe the election will be literally rigged, then making a very specific (and quite racialised) case for how it could be rigged.

This echoes Trump’s calls for revolution after Mitt Romney‘s loss in 2012, and shows that his current angle seems to be more about pre-emptively laundering his reputation after what could very well be a landslide loss. And you’d hope so. If Clinton can’t manage a landslide against Trump, then we’re just gonna see a repeat of all this in 2020.

Vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, who increasingly looks like an unwilling prisoner on a ticket he no longer wants to be on, said that “many Americans feel like this election is being rigged,” but did specify that he and Donald would “absolutely accept the results of the election”. Watch Pence responding to a woman demanding a revolution in the case of a Trump loss by meekly muttering “please don’t say that”. This is not a happy man.

If there’s a bloody American revolution after the election, just be glad that we’re waaaaay across the pond.

Source: The Guardian.

Photo: Getty Images.