The 12+ month-long election cycle is finally – thankfully – coming to an end. Judging by Mr. Trump’s remarks, however, the election will not end with a whimper, but a bang. Trump and his supports believe in two things: 1) that their preferred candidate will win, and that 2) only a rigged election will keep Trump from doing so.
Trump points to abundant evidence that he is winning. During an August 2016 speech, Trump noted:
We go to Oklahoma, we had 25,000 people. We had 21,000 people in Dallas. We had 35,000 people in Mobile, Alabama. We have these massive crowds,” the Republican nominee said. “You’ve got thousands of people outside trying to get in [today], and this is one hell of a big stadium.”
Do you ever see Hillary Clinton? If she speaks in front of 24 people she’s got the teleprompter. If she came here tomorrow — so look at this place, packed, thousands outside, we actually put screens outside — so, Hillary, if she came here, if she had 500 people I’d be surprised.
Trump also points to online polls after debates. By October 20, 2016, mere hours after the third and final debate, Donald Trump’s Twitter feed claimed victory. The Washington Times and Drudge Report hosted online polls wherein 77% and 75% of respondents gave Trump the win over Secretary Clinton, respectively.
We have heard similar arguments before. In 2012 Politico wrote:
Since his strong presidential debate performance last Wednesday night, Romney has seen a bump in the number of people attending his rallies, which the campaign calls a sign of new enthusiasm in the final month of the campaign.
In the past week alone, Romney’s campaign says at least three of its rallies have, per the campaign’s crowd counts, exceeded 10,000 people: an Oct. 4 event with country singer Trace Adkins in Fishersville, Va., which was Romney’s largest event ever at 14,000 people; a rally last Sunday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., that drew 12,000; and one in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, that fire marshals estimated also drew 12,000.
Romney’s other rallies this week have been large as well: in Asheville, N.C., Thursday night, just before the vice presidential debate, Romney’s rally filled the venue and had an overflow crowd of about 8,000.
There is just one problem – a dedicated fanbase that votes on online polls and fills stadiums does not necessarily translate into a victory in November.
Just ask Mitt Romney.