This Is How It Happens

This Is How It Happens
This is how it happens.

It’s election season and you’re a candidate. You mobilize armed supporters and tell them to watch polling places in minority neighborhoods because ethnic minorities are rigging the election against you. That’s how it works in the Third World, where elections are violent. In the U.S., voter intimidation is against the law, but one presidential candidate thinks that’s the way to “Make America Great.”

“You’ve gotta go out, and you’ve gotta get your friends, and you’ve gotta get everyone you know and you’ve gotta watch your polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas. I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about. So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don’t want to lose for that reason. We don’t wanna lose, but we especially don’t wanna lose for that reason. So go over and watch, and watch carefully. Because we’re gonna win the state of Pennsylvania, and if we win Pennsylvania, we take back the White House.”
Donald Trump, Manheim PA, October 1, 2016

“So important that you get out and vote. So important that you watch other communities, because we don’t want this election stolen from us.”
Donald Trump, Ambridge PA, October 10, 2016


“Militia group calls on members to patrol polls on Election Day,” Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post

“Oath Keepers Founder Rallies Members To Watch Polls On Election Day,” Allegra Kirkland, TPM Livewire

“Specter of election day violence looms as Trump spurs vigilante poll watchers,” Lois Beckett and Oliver Laughland, The Guardian

“Roger Stone Group Planned To Send Out Poll Watchers With Fake Credentials,” Allegra Kirkland, TPM Livewire

“What Causes Some Elections to Go Violent?” Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

“Voting under the gun: elections and conflict around the world,” Thomas Flores, SIPRI

“Trump warns of ‘rigged’ election as Giuliani makes racially charged claims,” David Smith and Alan Yuhas, The Guardian

“Warnings of conspiracy stoke anger among Trump faithful,” Matt Viser and Tracy Jan, Boston Globe

“Trump supporters are already promising to intimidate nonwhite voters on Election Day,” Dara Lind, Vox

“Is Trump Urging His Gun-Toting Supporters To Break Voter Intimidation Laws?” Tierney Sneed, TPM DC

“Voter intimidation fears follow Trump’s call for ‘volunteer election observers,'” Andrew Gumbel, The Guardian

“As Donald Trump’s campaign flails, the violence and bloodshed will only get worse,” Gabriel Schoenfeld, NY Daily News

“Who Will Watch Trump’s Vigilante Poll-Watchers?” Brentin Mock, CityLab

“Donald Trump’s Talk of Rigged Elections Isn’t Just Wrong — It’s Dangerous,” Jared Keller, Pacific Standard

“Donald Trump Is Setting a Time Bomb,” Jamelle Bouie, Slate


“Extremist militias recruiting in fear of Clinton winning election, activists say,” Jason Wilson, The Guardian

“A Militia Gets Battle Ready for a ‘Gun-Grabbing’ Clinton Presidency,” By David Zucchino, New York Times


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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