If Trump doesn’t win a primary, does that mean the vote was rigged?

posted at 9:21 pm on December 14, 2015 by Allahpundit

What I mean is, will Trump fans conclude that it’s rigged? I was thinking about that this weekend after the big Selzer poll showing Cruz 10 points up in Iowa dropped. Consider a few things. First, Trump has led in nearly every poll since June. There are exceptions here and there, the most notable being Selzer, but be it nationally, in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, and even in Bush’s and Rubio’s home state of Florida, Trump is ahead — often by a lot. And Trump loves reminding his fans of that. The man does not speak publicly, whether at rallies or in interviews, without reminding the people he’s talking to that he’s utterly crushing it in the polls.

Remember too who Trump’s base is. Many are blue-collar and have been disaffected from politics for awhile. They don’t watch polls day in and out like blog readers and political junkies; they won’t know why online polls might be less reliable and phone polls more reliable or vice versa. They may not even be following the race closely enough to know which direction the polls are trending. They heard something about a good poll for Ted Cruz in Iowa, but Trump says that pollster always posts bad numbers for him and besides, the CNN poll showed Trump doing very well! You heard the man at his last rally: He’s crushing it. His movement is taking over America. He’s going to win Iowa and New Hampshire and quite possibly every other state too.

How entrenched is that mindset among Trump fans? Or better yet, how entrenched will it be six weeks from now when people finally go to vote? What got me onto this was the argument that Ted Cruz might be peaking too soon by racing out to a lead in Iowa now, nearly two months before the caucuses. I think that’s great for Cruz, for the simple reason that the longer he gains and holds this lead, the more plausible his victory in Iowa will be to the Trump voters he’s trying to win over. If instead Cruz were reliably trailing Trump by 10 points, say, and then surged ahead in the final days before the vote, people who don’t follow elections every cycle would find it suspicious that Trump — who’s led for six months — had coincidentally lost his lead at the last possible moment before the big vote. There would be a perfectly logical explanation for that, namely, that late deciders routinely determine the outcome in elections, especially in presidential primaries. But would Trump fans buy it? Would they accept that most polls overestimated Trump’s support because they included casual voters who didn’t turn out for him on election night? Would Trump buy that? And if they didn’t buy it, if they thought that shadowy establishment forces had put a thumb on the scale at the last minute to push Cruz past their populist nemesis Trump, how could Cruz continue to woo those voters? They’d see him as a catspaw of D.C. who denied their guy his rightful victory.

The longer Cruz builds and holds his lead in Iowa, the harder it’ll be for Trump fans to claim shenanigans on caucus night. The fact that Iowa is a caucus state will help Cruz too, as it should be more difficult to allege nonsense in a format like that than it would in a primary state that votes by secret ballot. If I’m not mistaken, the actual votes in Iowa are also cast by secret ballot but the fact that each candidate’s supporters organize themselves into groups inside the room would at least give Trump fans a visual clue that they’re outnumbered by Cruz fans. That won’t prevent conspiracy theories from happening anyway, but it does make them less facially plausible. How about New Hampshire, though? Everything I’ve just written applies just as well to NH as it does to IA — better, actually, since Trump’s lead in New Hampshire is not only undisputed but sizable (double digits in most polls). In all likelihood he’ll lead there as of January 1st. If he ends up losing, it’ll take a last-minute surge by Rubio or Christie in a secret-ballot vote to do it. And unlike Ted Cruz, Rubio and Christie really are establishment favorites so the suspicions of fixing will be even more intense. Imagine if Trump actually leads by a few points in the very last polls before the vote and then, thanks to poor turnout assumptions, Rubio or Christie comes through with the upset. Trump fans being Trump fans, won’t suspicions of rigging by the establishment run deep? And if they do, how does the GOP keep those voters engaged for the rest of the primary? The RNC’s goal in all of this is to somehow deny Donald Trump the nomination while also retaining all of the new blue-collar voters whose interest he’s piqued. (Ironically, the only candidate who may be capable of pulling that off is RNC nemesis Ted Cruz.) Perceptions of fixing are going to blow that up.

The X factor, as always, is Trump himself. How would he handle a late poll surge by one of his competitors that ends in defeat for him? “Congrats to Marco Rubio on a hard-earned win” would be completely out of character. If anything, in the interest of protecting his own enormous ego, he has an incentive to feed the suspicions that he was cheated out of a win that’s rightfully his. That would resolve one of the biggest mysteries about the Trump 2016 campaign: How does a man cope with losing when his public persona is based on the idea that he always wins? Won’t he be forced to drop out before daring to risk rejection at the polls? Answer: Not if he can spin “rejection” as a scam perpetrated by his establishment enemies. That would poison the rest of the primaries, but what does he care? It’s the next best thing to running as an independent. “I could have won, and I did win, but they stole it from me.” How eager do you think Trump fans would be to support the GOP nominee after that?

As I say, the best thing for the GOP here if Trump is destined to lose is that the winner(s) in the early states assert themselves soon and hold those leads. It would also be to the GOP’s benefit that Trump lose by a landslide, even if that means more momentum for tea partier Ted Cruz after Iowa. The bigger the margin of defeat, the harder it is for Trump to claim cheating.


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Comment pages: 1 2

If Cruz should win:

“Iowa didn’t pick the winner in the last two elections. No, I’m not worried,” Trump replied.

Younggod on December 15, 2015 at 7:11 AM

Yes, based on behavior up to this point, I’m pretty sure a significant chunk of Trump supporters would throw a massive tantrum.

Arssanguinus on December 15, 2015 at 7:40 AM

Yes, based on behavior up to this point, I’m pretty sure a significant chunk of Trump supporters would throw a massive tantrum.

Arssanguinus on December 15, 2015 at 7:40 AM

Based on polling, it looks like the splodey heads will be on the anti side.

fossten on December 15, 2015 at 7:43 AM

As proved in this thread where they are already filling it with conspiracy theories before we are even within smelling distance of the actual voting.

Arssanguinus on December 15, 2015 at 7:46 AM

Well, I would be somewhat annoyed by people who decided to throw the election to Hillary by pushing for the most liberal running member of the GOP field, yes.

But Explode, no. Depressed, perhaps, that people so easily fall for cheap carnival tricks self promotion and loud noises.

Arssanguinus on December 15, 2015 at 7:48 AM

AP setting the stage for a 3rd party run!

WryTrvllr on December 15, 2015 at 7:49 AM

He’ll have 14,000 microphones in his face if he loses any of the states, guaranteed.

What could he say at that point that you would not consider whining? Asking for a friend.

fossten on December 15, 2015 at 6:51 AM

“Gosh I was blessed to be on the same ballot with such a man as he.”

/

Lolo on December 15, 2015 at 7:57 AM

“Iowa didn’t pick the winner in the last two elections. No, I’m not worried,” Trump replied.

Younggod on December 15, 2015 at 7:11 AM

So why even run in Iowa? What’s the point?

Classic deflection.

BierManVA on December 15, 2015 at 8:43 AM

What I mean is, will Trump fans conclude that it’s rigged?

Of course…the whining will be incessant…

right2bright on December 15, 2015 at 8:50 AM

“Gosh I was blessed to be on the same ballot with such a man as he.”

/

Lolo on December 15, 2015 at 7:57 AM

What you won’t hear him say:

“I support the republican nominee”

WryTrvllr on December 15, 2015 at 8:53 AM

Do you want a real conservative president? Prove it! Now is the time to get involved.

LevinFan on December 14, 2015 at 9:42 PM

To LevinFan and anyone else who considers themselves a Cruz-only supporter…

NO, I don’t want a “real conservative president”… I want conservative RESULTS. Who the President is, or claims to be, DOES NOT MATTER. The only thing that matters is CONSERVATIVE RESULTS.

Cruz had his shot during the “government shutdown”. While YES, he conducted himself as a conservative, the media and GOPe OWNED HIM. In other words, Cruz is himself a very good conservative, BUT COULD NOT GET CONSERVATIVE RESULTS.

This is not a personality cult! (BWAHAHAHA!!!) The “conservative-ness” of the candidate DOES NOT MATTER if they cannot get CONSERVATIVE RESULTS.

Trump has already gotten conservative results just by running… first by partnering with conservative Jeff Sessions to co-write his immigration plan, then got more discussions going about the un-Constitutionality of anchor babies, and now wants to limit Muslim immigration! Did anyone else know before Trump came along and blasted the “limit Muslim immigration” that we have a law on the books that gives the President that power, that it already survived a Supreme Court challenge, passed by a Democrat Congress and used by a Democrat President to actually prevent Muslims from immigration?!?! I didn’t. But now I do, and I advocate USING IT!

Sorry, but RESULTS MATTER, not individual people’s beliefs. Trump already delivers. Cruz has been owned by the media and GOPe when he tried to get results. We need results. Not individuals.

Trump / Cruz 2016… because we need conservative RESULTS, not individuals.

dominigan on December 15, 2015 at 9:37 AM

Trump doesn’t have 41%, That’s BS. That’s one outlier poll.

Moesart on December 14, 2015 at 11:41 PM

Trump polled 42% in Georgia. It’s not an outlier. And we’re already watching the meltdown… and it’s not us Trump supporters.

dominigan on December 15, 2015 at 9:48 AM

I thought that mostly Democrats voted in the GOP primary.

rhombus on December 15, 2015 at 1:15 PM

Trump / Cruz 2016… because we need conservative RESULTS, not individuals.

dominigan on December 15, 2015 at 9:37 AM

You make really good points, dom. I would rather have a President Cruz, but I would okay with Trump/Cruz if I thought Cruz would have real influence in policy matters with Trump. Trump says he gets “all the best people,” and if he recognizes that Cruz is one of the best and listens to him I would feel more comfortable with a President Trump.

At the end of the day, there is no perfect candidate.

RockyMtnGirl on December 15, 2015 at 1:32 PM

Given that a substantial portion of the posters on this site seem to think that Obama somehow stole 2012 despite a crushing lack of evidence that he did any such thing (and consistent pre-election poling pointing to an Obama win), I can’t help but think that the deranged sub-set who support Trump will be quick to call jaws-of-defeat triumph by another candidate “theft.”

urban elitist on December 15, 2015 at 2:18 PM

urban elitist on December 15, 2015 at 2:18 PM

You mean Lois Lerner?

WryTrvllr on December 15, 2015 at 3:23 PM

If Trump doesn’t win the general election, the GOPe rigged the vote.

Dan333 on December 15, 2015 at 3:37 PM

The old race card. That dog won’t hunt any more.

they lie on December 15, 2015 at 4:03 PM

For Trump to win, a bunch of people who don’t usually vote in the primary/GOP primary have to sign up if necessary and make sure they are registered in time for the election. I am not sure if Trump is doing that…

Fleuries on December 15, 2015 at 4:09 PM

If Trump doesn’t win a primary, does that mean the vote was rigged?

Everything is legitimate as long as the GOP establishment wins.

David Blue on December 15, 2015 at 7:50 PM

For The Official Record Allah.

Lolz!

In now-deleted tweet, Trump claims Cruz “illegally stole” Iowa victory pic.twitter.com/RsT2AlCIID— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 3, 2016

Bmore on February 3, 2016 at 9:05 AM

Comment pages: 1 2