Donald Trump made a very Trumpy first post-debate appearance Monday afternoon in Pennsylvania. In his Ambridge, P-A rally, Trump hit many of the same notes he gonged the night before during the second presidential debate of the campaign—a.k.a. the least uplifting debate in American history—while amping up his nostalgia for the glory days when Americans leisurely mined coal and ate steel for breakfast. Those were the days. Trump’s contrived nostalgia for things that once were has reached a point where the next logical step is he demands we rebuild America’s Styrofoam industry. Because science is for squares and nobody beats America.
One particularly disturbing theme Trump hit on again in Ambridge is the conspiracy theory that the Donald has been setting up for quite some time now that the election is going to be “stolen.” From him, obviously. Not by him. He would never do that. To further stir the pot of fear and loathing that certain segments of his supporters feel for others that don’t look like them, he again told the Trump faithful to be on the lookout for “other communities” when it comes Election Day.
“So this year, we have an election coming up on November 8th, so important that you get out and vote. So important that—watch other communities because we don’t want this election stolen from us. We do not want this election stolen from us.”
What communities could Trump possibly be talking about? Would it, perhaps, be the same “communities” (of Americans) that Donald Trump and his supporters want to take “our country” back from? Trump doesn’t say. Because saying it would be overtly chauvinist and bigoted, implying it gives the campaign just enough wiggle room to gaslight the country later on. It’s unclear why Trump has drawn a seemingly arbitrary line of decorum and doesn’t say explicitly what he’s implying. Perhaps, like his ISIS strategy, it’s a secret.
Either way, it’s a troubling, potentially damaging line of thinking that the Republican candidate for president is pushing that the election, like everything else in America these days, is being “stolen” from the people to whom it rightfully belongs. Trump people. “You’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to get your friends, and you’ve got to get everybody you know, and you gotta watch the polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas,” Trump said during a speech last week. “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.”
“You know what I’m talking about…” In Pennsylvania and beyond, Trump is actively recruiting those that believe they do.