Not rigged, thrown

Donald Trump’s allegations that the election is “rigged” constitute a motif in the closing days of his presidential campaign. The theme emerged last night in his refusal to acknowledge he would concede the election when he loses.

I find Trump’s allegation of the rigging of the election bizarre. It advertises his understanding that he will lose the election. He disclaims responsibility for the loss in advance, but there it is, even if his enthusiasts fail to understand what he is saying.

Why would Trump advertise his loss in advance? He wants us to know that it’s not his fault. It couldn’t be helped. It’s beyond his control. When he loses an eminently winnable race to the most beatable Democratic candidate of the modern era, so he believes, it won’t be because of his failures as a candidate.

It certainly seems to be beyond his control to get a handle on the personality defects that have manifested themselves within 30 minutes or so of his debates with Clinton. If he prepared at all for these showdowns, it barely showed. It makes more sense to infer that Trump is throwing the election than to assert that it is rigged.

Hillary Clinton is a sinister character but an utterly pathetic candidate. To anyone paying attention, her manifest flaws, weaknesses and wrongdoing made themselves apparent one way or another last night. The evidence continues to mount every day. A modestly capable candidate could make hash of her.

Trump is not the man. He can barely frame a coherent thought or articulate a comprehensible argument against her.

The great theme of Trump’s campaign in one way or another is American sovereignty. If Trump did more than pretend to care about it, he would master an argument and discipline himself. He would take the trouble to select the strongest points to be made against a profoundly flawed opponent and learn how to make them.

Understanding that he is going to lose “big league,” as he would say, to a pitifully weak opponent, he is more concerned about salvaging his pride than putting up a fight. As I say, I think it makes more sense to infer that he is throwing the contest than that the election is rigged (not that the latter makes much sense at all).

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