In what may mark the absolute low point of this election, Donald Trump finally showed America what he meant when he promised the “shackles” were off. At a rally in New Hampshire — a state he is losing by five points — Trump told the gathered a mob of supporters vibrating with anger that the election was about to be stolen from them and Clinton will have no legitimacy as president. This is, in all of American history, unheard of. And things only got uglier from there.
But let’s back up.
Near the beginning of Trump’s spittle-laden rant, he once again claimed that he won the 2nd presidential debate and — without a hint of irony — also noted that the only reason Clinton won was that she was pumped full of drugs. As usual, Trump offered zero proof for this astonishing allegation.
“Athletes, they make them take a drug test, right. I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate,” Trump said.
“Why don’t we do that? We should take a drug test, prior, because I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, ‘Oh, take me down,’ “
He then claimed Clinton could barely walk afterwards — again, something that bears absolutely no relationship to reality.
Trump: “I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate because I don’t know what’s going on with her” pic.twitter.com/yYKy8VfmP5
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) October 15, 2016
Trump has long been noted for his uncanny ability to project his own character flaws onto his opponents. Trump, a known liar, calls people liars. Trump, an unstable narcissist, says others don’t have a good temperament. Trump, a crook, will gladly accuse others of being crooked. And now, the man who spent the last two debates audibly sniffing into his microphone like a coke fiend has said Hillary Clinton was doping. The mind boggles.
But Trump’s speech went from the absurd to the dangerous when he began reinforcing the idea that Hillary Clinton and “the media” are stealing the election. Off-script and without prompting, Trump announced that Clinton should be in jail. Chants of “lock her up” followed swiftly.
— David Bienick (@BienickWCVB) October 15, 2016
He also turned up the volume on his accusations that Clinton would destroy the country.
Hillary Clinton is "plotting to destroy the sovereignty of this country," Trump says. Now crowd chants "President Trump."
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) October 15, 2016
This would be shameful behavior on any day, but Trump says these things on the very same day a damning report came out in the Boston Globe that passed along conversations with Trump supporters in which they openly admitted to plotting civil war after the election. One man proudly boasts of planning to “racially profile” Hispanics, Syrians and “people who can’t speak American” as they head to the polls.
Meanwhile, Trump’s real chances of winning continue to nose-dive. His base loves him. America hates him. It’s a situation that will only serve as a tinderbox when he loses and his fans, duped into thinking he had a shot, refuse to accept that reality was a lot different than the bubble of a New Hampshire Trump rally.
This is a scary time for American democracy.
Featured image via Darren McCollester/Getty Images