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In Trump's rigged election conspiracy, supporters defia...

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In Trump’s rigged election conspiracy, supporters defiant

By AFP
21 Oct 2016 0

by Michael Mathes Linda Hernandez, from the aptly named town of Defiance, Ohio, cheered Thursday as Donald Trump thumbed his nose at American democratic tradition by saying he would accept the presidential election results, provided he wins.

While Trump doubled and tripled down on claims that the nation’s elections are rigged and massive voter fraud might be underway, Hernandez stood firmly by her candidate.

“I think it should be” in doubt, Hernandez said of the election. 

She and a fellow Hispanic-American friend made the two-hour journey from Defiance to see their candidate at a fairgrounds rally near Columbus, Ohio, and both agreed with him that the system is rigged.

Told that several Republicans have repudiated Trump’s comments and insist the election is fair, and that studies show that voter fraud exists but is minimal, Hernandez, who is seeking disability benefits for several injuries, simply shook her head.

“I don’t believe it,” she said, as Trump courted about 1,000 voters at the rally. “I think there is massive voter fraud. Corruption is bad, and there are tentacles going everywhere.”

– ‘Warts and all’ -Hernandez, 55, was one of a dozen supporters who told AFP that the provocative Republican’s refusal to say whether he would accept the election outcome in the event of a Hillary Clinton victory in no way diminished their respect or backing for him.

Ohio entrepreneur Audrey Akers agreed, and said Trump’s defiance of the establishment was vital to his campaign, even if it antagonizes many voters. 

“Trump, warts and all, is an honest man. I accept him,” she said.

It would be wonderful if the election were proved to be fair, but it is unlikely, Akers warned.

“I think his ability to say, ‘Yes, I accept whatever verdict of the vote’ has been changed by new information which has become available, i.e. how readily Democratic operatives have been involved in rigging the election,” she said.

Akers expressed appreciation for how Trump stood up to Clinton and her Democratic machinery at the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night by saying he would “keep you in suspense” about whether he would accept the election outcome.

“He’s a brawler,” she said. “We need a brawler to stand up for us.”

Local mechanic Aaron Ward, 30, was convinced the system could be compromised by alleged political corruption on the Clinton side.

“With all the stuff I see coming out with her, the emails and all the different scandals, rigging the election would not surprise me,” he said.

“But the process does go on,” Ward added. He would accept the results regardless of who wins, “but I’ll have questions about it,” especially if the vote count is close.

 

– ‘Civil war?’ – 

Many in the crowd were quick to forgive Trump’s unpolished manner.

“He does tend to stick his foot in his mouth a bit more,” said health technician Angie Denes, when asked about Trump threatening to not recognize the election outcome.

Denes, who said she voted twice for President Barack Obama but is squarely behind Trump, was “absolutely” prepared to accept the results of the November 8 vote, but offered a warning about what a Clinton presidency might provoke for many who distrust her.

“As an American I have no other choice,” she said. “But I can tell you I will also be preparing for a civil war within our country,” particularly if a Clinton administration makes moves toward “taking our guns.”

Stay-at-home mother Joelle Lamphere, 44, said she is an uncommitted voter but strongly agreed that the election could be stolen.

“After what happened in the election of 2000 with Al Gore, he has good reason to say what he said,” Lamphere explained, referring to the race in which Republican George W. Bush prevailed after a bitterly contested recount in Florida.

Clinton is too “devious and untrustworthy” for the White House, she said.

“I believe that the voters don’t choose the president, but the people who count the votes do,” she said.

“I think he’s giving himself an out. He’s covering his bases, and I can’t blame him,” she said of Trump’s noncommitment to the election results.

“Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.”

mlm/dw

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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