If you’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of being subjected to anything Donald Trump has said over the last few weeks, you’ve undoubtedly heard him use the word “rigged” an awful lot — especially the phrase “the system is rigged.” While he’s used it more often here lately (I’ll explain why here in a moment), he’s used it off and on throughout his campaign. He seems to just throw it out there, often simply to get a cheap response from the crowd rather than during a point of a speech where the phrase would actually make sense.
So, why has he been using it so much lately?
Well, for two very pathetic reasons.
1. He’s trying to pander to Bernie Sanders supporters: As most people on the left know, a common theme of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was the idea that the “system is rigged.” When Sanders talked about a rigged system, he usually meant the economy and how too much in this country is geared toward benefitting the richest among us at the expense of everyone else.
However, as the primary went on, some of his supporters began to use the phrase “the system is rigged” to indicate that the primary was rigged against Sanders to the benefit of Hillary Clinton. While I’m sure any Sanders supporter reading this who actually believes that the primary was rigged isn’t going to change their mind, the conspiracy simply isn’t true. (If you want a complete mathematical breakdown of the primary results that prove it wasn’t rigged, feel free to go here.)
Be that as it may, when Trump claims the “system is rigged,” he’s clearly using these words to get the attention of Sanders supporters he hopes to manipulate into supporting him this November. While Sanders and Trump couldn’t be more different, the presumptive GOP nominee is trying to pander to the “anti-establishment” anger that some Bernie supporters feel. He’s hoping by playing up the “system is rigged” angle he can at least get some of them to support him by repeating familiar talking points used by the senator from Vermont.
We should all hope that most Sanders supporters aren’t naive enough to fall for it, because it’s blatantly obvious what he’s trying to do.
2. He’s already laying the foundation for the litany of excuses he’ll make “just in case” he loses this November: This is where things get really pathetic. While trying to appeal to some Sanders supporters is one of his reasons for bringing up the “rigged system,” another big part as to why Trump is using this phrase is because it’s something he’s planning to use if/when he loses the election.
He’ll claim the system was rigged, allowing Hillary Clinton to avoid criminal indictment, which allowed her to run for president when she should have been “disqualified.” It’s also very likely that he’s going to claim that the “system was rigged” because the media was out to get him. I’m sure he’ll also claim that the “system was rigged” because the GOP elites never really fully got behind him, which hurt him in the general election. It won’t even surprise me for him to claim that the election, itself, was somehow “rigged” against him.
People like Trump constantly play up the “victim card” because they’re far too arrogant and egotistical to admit that they lost. You saw him use this some during the GOP primary when things looked like they might be turning against him. At that point he started making accusations that the primary was rigged against him — whiny complaints that soon vanished once his lead become insurmountable. Now he’s setting up the excuses he’ll most certainly use if he loses this November because his ego is far too massive for him to simply admit defeat — he’ll try to blame anyone and everyone but himself.
So, the next time you hear Donald Trump incessantly whining about a “rigged system,” know that he’s only saying that in a desperate attempt to try to manipulate some Bernie Sanders supporters, while also laying the foundation for the laundry list of excuses he’s going to make if he loses this November.
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