These Groups Believe Donald Trump's "Rigged Election" Message & They're Taking Dangerous Actions
Donald Trump has been airing his beliefs that the upcoming election will not be a fair one, and there are already some serious problems coming from that. Various groups are acting on Trump's "rigged election" message, and it's a terrifying prospect.
Although Trump's allegations of voter fraud are not based in any fact, some fringe right-wing groups are taking them as such, and minority voters are likely to feel the impact of this when they go to the polls.
One of these groups is the Oath Keepers, which claims to be a non-partisan group with the aim to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." In practice, this amounts to something that has many groups looking out for domestic terrorism — like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center — quite worried. The Oath Keepers gained national attention when they showed up at the Ferguson protests, heavily armed and wearing military gear, claiming that they were there to protect a reporter working for Infowars.com, the right-wing conspiracy theory hub run by Alex Jones.
Now, they've launched what they're calling Operation Sabot 2016, a campaign aimed at combating the "expected attempts at voter fraud by leftists" that they and the Republican presidential nominee seem to see coming from everywhere. This time, the Oath Keepers have been directed to show up at the polls and document what they see, but not to appear armed and wearing Oath Keeper gear, because they "want [the bad guys] to worry about whether they’re being watched."
Along the same lines but slightly less armed are the Vote Protectors, run by Trump supporter Roger Stone, who are planning on sending poll-watchers to a number of cities with high minority populations. Although they say that they will merely be monitoring the situation, they've gone so far as to produce badges to make themselves seem more official, which will also make it easier for them to intimidate first-time voters who might not know what to expect.
Groups like these do not claim to be allied with the Republican Party, but they'd still be putting the GOP into a potentially tight situation if they follow through on their plans of racially profiling voters who "can't speak American." The GOP wants nothing to do with that, as they were forbidden to take part in any ballot security measures in 1982 after having swung a New Jersey gubernatorial race by intimidating minority voters at the polls. If they were to be found guilty of doing the same thing again, the consent decrees that were meant to expire in 2017 would be extended — something the Republicans would really not like to happen.
Overall, Trump's insistence that voter fraud will be a problem is aggravating those sentiments among his followers, many of whom don't care that he lies all the time. His claims are dangerous to begin with, but even more dangerous are groups like the Oath Keepers and the Vote Protectors that are willing to act on those claims. If they're going to come out based on Trump's unfounded claims of voter fraud, there's no telling how they would react if the election doesn't turn out the way they want it to.