With supporters armed, will things turn ugly if Donald Trump loses?
By Daniel Woolls and Michael Mathes, AFP
October 20, 2016, 12:18 am TWN
WASHINGTON -- Many Americans are appalled by the prospect of Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidency. Many are just as scared over what might happen if he loses.
By insisting the November 8 election is rigged, the Republican nominee has stoked fears that he's giving his supporters free rein for some kind of morning-after backlash if he loses to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Ominously, the billionaire businessman has also urged his people to go to polling places in minority-rich places like Philadelphia and guard against voter fraud on Election Day.
What will actually happen if Trump loses is anyone's guess. These are uncharted waters: a U.S. presidential candidate claiming fraud even before the country votes in a highly decentralized system in which electoral rigging is described as practically impossible.
But if there is a drum roll of anticipation to see, with Trump's poll numbers tumbling, if Clinton becomes America's first female president, there is another triggered by his unsubstantiated claims of electoral shenanigans.
"I think Trump is playing with fire and he has been playing with fire for many, many months," said Matt Dallek, associate professor of political management at George Washington University. "And I think it is coming to a crescendo," Dallek added.
Violence is not a forgone conclusion, he said, but in a country with more guns than people all it takes is an armed, angry lone wolf Trump supporter for tragedy to occur.
Trump's blustery, law and order campaign has appealed heavily to frustrated middle class and less educated whites and criticized immigrants, Muslims and other minorities.
Among other demographics, he has targeted people who feel left out by the globalized economy and embrace his vision of a once-great America — now reduced to mismanaged, crime-ridden mess that cannot create or hold onto jobs, compete abroad, fight Islamist extremists or keep out undocumented migrants.
At a Trump rally Monday night in Wisconsin, 18-year old first time voter and Trump supporter Joseph Wells said he was nervous about what lies ahead if Clinton wins.