Trump Is Brazenly Setting the Stage to Declare Elections Illegitimate

As I've been documenting under the label "The Russia Reversal" for about nine months, Donald Trump has been peddling the narrative that it was actually Hillary Clinton and the Democrats who colluded with Russia and/or who committed crimes during the last election and/or whom Vladimir Putin was trying to assist.

A week ago, four months out from the midterm election, and hours after headlines that the Democrats' odds to take back the House have improved, Trump tweeted: "I'm very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don't want Trump!"

This is patently absurd: Of course the Kremlin wants Trump in the White House, because he pursues foreign policy objectives that aid Russia — undermining NATO, taking a wrecking ball to long-standing postwar alliances, global destabilization, etc. — and of course the Kremlin wants Republicans in Congress, because they provide cover to Trump to continue to do the bidding of Putin without accountability, and further refuse to enact protections of our elections to prevent Russian interference.

The Democrats would not do any of that.

Trump, however, doesn't need to make a reasonable argument. He just needs to provide a talking point to his base, and to complicit media outlets and members of the press.

So, this morning, he made yet another attempt at laying the groundwork to declare the midterms "rigged" and thus null and void, because of Democratic collusion:

Last Friday, BrianWS and I discussed a chilling but very possible scenario in which Russia interferes on behalf of unknowing Democrats, or even just a single Democrat, during the midterms to provide Trump with "evidence" of the Democratic collusion about which he is now routinely tweeting.

I noted: "The terrible thing is that they only need to do it on behalf of one Democrat to be able to keep this in their back pocket whenever they need it. They can intervene on behalf of every Republican in every district in every state with a Republican legislature, which can then destroy the evidence, and as long as there is 'discoverable' evidence of interference on behalf of a single Democrat, it gives them the leverage they need to 'both sides!' the entire thing out of existence. And our media is clearly not up to the task of greeting it with the skepticism it deserves."

Trump is replicating the same strategy he employed ahead of the 2016 election, constantly talking about "election rigging" in order to deflect scrutiny on his own collusion with a foreign adversary. We already know that he did it once. Now he's doing it again.

We have four months to go until the midterms. Is anyone empowered to stop him going to do anything about it?

At this point, the answer appears to be no. If that remains the case, then we have conceded our democracy to an authoritarian and his foreign masters.

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