US presidential election 2016: Trump inspires conspiracists in his camp, ramps up distrust - Firstpost

US presidential election 2016: Trump inspires conspiracists in his camp, ramps up distrust


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Rigged election, biased media — Donald Trump regularly condemns alleged tactics aimed at derailing his bid for the White House, rhetoric that resonates with some supporters who are growing more mistrustful.

The Republican presidential nominee has offered no concrete proof to back up his allegations but, to differing degrees, many in his camp believe them.

A prime target is the media, which Trump accuses of not covering his campaign objectively, while favoring his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 8 November election. He says the media even launches unfounded attacks against him.

"Most of the news is negative or they don't print it at all," said Susan, a retiree in Philadelphia on the sidelines of a "flash mob" supporting Trump. She did not want to give her family name.

Emails released by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in late October revealed that a CNN analyst, who is the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, shared questions with the Clinton campaign ahead of a CNN-hosted primary debate.

The DNC chief, Donna Brazile, had already resigned from the TV network when the WikiLeaks bombshell landed, but the furor fed into Trump's long-running argument that Clinton was given advance knowledge of debate questions.

"We have the WikiLeaks emails that confirm what I've been saying for years. They manipulate the polls," said Tom Carroll, an activist who has organized dozens of flash-mobs in the Allentown area in Pennsylvania.

"The Hillary campaign has been paying people to read them the dialogue and the narrative to the media."

The conspiracy-minded in the Trump camp have scant confidence in public opinion polls, which overall give Clinton an edge in a race tightening in the final stretch.

A file photo of Donald Trump. Getty images

A file photo of Donald Trump. Getty images

"They oversample Democrats" in the polls, said Carroll.

"They use these polls on purpose to deflate the right and the conservative movement, to get them to believe that no one's voting for Trump" and to send the message 'we can't win, don't even go to vote,'" he said.

Trump recently said that a batch of emails posted by WikiLeaks shows John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton's election campaign, had asked for a poll to be taken using an inflated number of Democrats in the sample.

A check of those emails turned up no evidence of this claim.

Fraudulent election Tuesday?

Anything that runs counter to Trump's declarations is fodder for the conspiracists, who see it as a manipulation of public opinion.

The fact that recent polls show Trump gaining ground is only a new polling tactic, according to Carroll.

After months of cooking the data, the pollsters "start telling the truth," he said, "because they have to say: 'we were right.'"

Underlying the accusations against the media and pollsters is the belief they are in cahoots with the Democrats, seen as multiplying their attacks behind the scenes to cement their victory.

Some of Trump's followers trace Democrats' fingerprints behind the wave of women who have come forward in recent weeks accusing the candidate of having made unwanted sexual advances in the past.

"A lot of them are getting paid to do this stuff, is what I'm hearing," said Susan.

The fact that these alleged victims came out with public accusations so close to the election "just doesn't make sense," said Carol Krus, who traveled Thursday to see the first public appearance of Trump's wife, Melania Trump, alone on the campaign trail.

"They waited and they planned it," said Renee Johnson, who also came to hear Melania Trump speak at the event in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

For this fringe in the Trump camp, after a year and a half of what they view as a vicious campaign, their candidate has everything to fear in the reliability of the election Tuesday.

"The turnout, I think it's going to be very high and I think it's going to be very fraudulent also," Susan warned.

Carroll spoke about dead people registered to vote on the electoral lists in Philadelphia and voters paid to vote for Democrats.

For Susan, voter fraud is already under way. "You know who's doing that?" she said in a conspiratorial tone. "She's scared."
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First Published On : Nov 6, 2016 15:45 IST

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