Donald Trump is right about attempts to rig the presidential election, but he's dead wrong about who is doing it, why and how — and he knows it.
The reality is it's a two-track campaign and the riggers are, as he well knows, Trump himself and the Republican establishment he hates so much.
Trump is trying to delegitimize any election that he doesn't win – a tactic he tried in the primaries until he started winning.
The other is more serious and will continue after Trump is long gone; it is an on-going effort by Republican governors and legislatures around the country to keep blacks, Hispanics, immigrants, minorities, the disabled, the poor and other undesirables – read: likely Democrat voters – from the polls.
They do it by limiting the days, hours and locations of polling places for early voting and by requiring various forms of identification. And they do it in the name of a crime that virtually doesn't exist, according to numerous independent academic and governmental studies: voter ID fraud.
Federal courts around the country have struck down a number of these laws as racially motivated and unnecessary. A Federal Appeals Court ruled North Carolina's voter ID law was enacted with "racially discriminatory intent." Similar rulings were handed down in North Dakota, Michigan, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and Wisconsin. Nearly all of the restrictive laws have been enacted by Republican legislatures and governors, including Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. That tells a lot about their true intent.
Trump's tactic is particularly nefarious, striking at the heart of American democracy.
His rigging charges may be an excuse to justify the election defeat that he seems headed toward. The notoriously thin-skinned Trump has shown himself incapable of admitting errors or defeat, so he needs a scapegoat. Many, actually. At the top of his list is the media – only one large newspaper has endorsed him so far and that one is owned by Sheldon Adelson, a major campaign contributor. Others include Hillary Clinton, the Republican establishment, Speaker Paul Ryan, multinational corporations, Saturday Night Live and virtually everyone else who isn't giving him the obsequiousness he demands.
He sees himself as the victim of a global conspiracy "to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty" led by Clinton and "international banks," an old anti-Semitic shibboleth reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Trump's false rigging accusations are a cover for a continuing post-election campaign to delegitimize the first woman president just as he and so many in his party tried for years to delegitimize the first black president.