Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio on Oct. 22, 2016.
Photo by Jay Laprete/AFP/Getty

Trump’s proof of a ‘rigged’ process is unintentionally hilarious

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly asked Donald Trump yesterday if he believes public-opinion polls are “rigged.” The Republican candidate didn’t hesitate, saying, “I have no doubt about it.”

From there, I more or less assumed the GOP nominee would deliver a confused rant about oversampling, but Trump instead went in a very different direction. “I won the third debate easily,” he insisted. “It wasn’t even a contest and everybody had me winning. Every poll had me winning, big league. And then CNN did a poll and they had me losing somewhat and I said, ‘How did that happen I wonder.’”

I’ll confess, this was the first time in a while I literally laughed at a Trump quote. He thinks he won the debate; every independent, scientific poll found that the public thought the opposite. Therefore, in Trump’s mind, it’s obvious the polls themselves are part of a scheme cooked up by nefarious forces conspiring against him.

If Trump perceived reality one way, how could there possibly be evidence of others perceiving reality a different way? The discrepancy is all the evidence the Republican candidate needs as the basis for a conspiracy theory.

As the interview continued, Trump complained that in 2005, when he made controversial comments about sexual assault, his “Access Hollywood” microphone “was not supposed to be on.” It led to this striking exchange:
O’REILLY: You think it was illegal, what they did, putting that tape out?

TRUMP: Oh, absolutely. No, that was a private locker – you know, that was a private dressing room. Yeah, that was certainly –

O’REILLY: Are you going to take any action after the election against NBC?

TRUMP: Well, you’ll see. You will see…. You’re going to see after the election…. I mean, you know, we’re going to find out soon enough. I will tell you.
Just so we’re clear, from Trump’s perspective, when Russia steals emails in the hopes of influencing America’s presidential election, that’s fantastic. But as far as he’s concerned, when a 2005 recording of Trump reaches the public, that’s “illegal.”

It’s hard to know whether the Republican presidential candidate intends to follow through on his litigious threats, though the Huffington Post published a list this week of all the people, organizations, businesses, and other entities he’s threatened with lawsuits since Trump’s campaign began – and it’s not a short list.

I’m so old, I remember when Republicans were the party of “tort reform” and used “trial lawyer” as an epithet.