It's clear by now that the Trump candidacy -- covertly led by trickster-in-chief Roger Stone -- engages in the practice of "mirror imaging" -- that is, the practice of ascribing one's own sins to one's foes.
For example, in order to cover up the (by now painfully obvious) Putin/Trump conspiracy, Trump and his surrogates trotted out some truly surreal claims that the Clintons
were somehow in league with Evil Vlad. The argument used to justify this absurd accusation was, of course, laughable and illogical.
And now this
Over the last 48 hours Trump's allies, surrogates and now Trump himself have forcibly injected the topic of voter fraud or 'election rigging' into the election. Longtime TPM Readers know this topic has probably been the publication's single greatest and most consistent focus over fifteen years. The subject has been investigated countless times. And it is clear that voter fraud and especially voter impersonation fraud is extremely rare - rare almost to the point of non-existence, though there have been a handful of isolated cases.
Vote fraud is clearly the aim in what is coming from Trump allies. But Trump's own comment - "I'm afraid the election's gonna be rigged, I have to be honest" - seems to suggest some broader effort to manufacture votes or falsify numbers, to allude to some broader conspiracy. Regardless, Trump is now pressing this issue to lay the groundwork to discredit and quite possibly resist the outcome of the November election.
I'll go further. If Trump is accusing Clinton of rigging the vote, we should conclude that he has his own means of doing the very same dirty deeds.
may indeed be rare, but there are other methods which come into play during the tabulation phase. This new Wired story is a must-read.
We've seen various examples of questionable vote tallies in recent times. The Brexit vote, for example. The Democratic primary in Michigan was obviously
reeky, even if proof is lacking. It has been established beyond reasonable argument that pro-Hillary Hispanics were purged in Brooklyn
, a move which favored Bernie Sanders.
(Sanders supporters, in a classic example of mirror imaging, used this occasion to accuse Hillary
of vote manipulation. This episode gave me a big clue that Trump's team was helping Sanders. It soon came out that Tad Devine, Sanders' political hit man, worked with Paul Manafort in Ukraine.)
I bring you, once again, this passage from the all-important essay Roger Stone: Pretty Reckless is Going Straight to Hell
. (Paragraph breaks added to increase readability.)
I don’t think Stone ever says what policy he is for in this memoir, and he might well consider a focus on policy a distraction. There is only winning and losing an election, and five methods for achieving a victory recur again and again in races that Stone is involved with, four methods that create a mirror maze of confusion, misdirection, and elimination.
The first is through association, by having a candidate receive an endorsement from a person or group who potential supporters of the candidate are predisposed to view as an opponent, or through association with something unquestionably malevolent made via protesters, pamphlets, or other means funded by Stone’s campaign but without any fingerprints.
The second is by having a group, funded by allied interests, oppose a candidate or policy due to some larger moral principle that everyone can agree on – the issue is not candidate A versus B, but opposition to crime, gambling, or child abuse.
The third is the smear, saying your opponent is corrupt, weak, racist, a rapist, a murderer, a pedophile, always helpfully done not through you, the opponent on which this tar might stick, but through a phantom proxy. This last is used very, very often by Stone.
The fourth, and one of the most effective, is through fragmentation of the vote. There is, say, overwhelming support for candidate A, who will raise the minimum wage, versus candidate B, who won’t. You split this overwhelming vote by funding another candidate, who wants to raise the minimum wage even higher, and who chastises candidate A for compromising their principles and being beholden to business interests for not asking for a higher wage. Through a vote split, candidate B, the one who says he believes the condition of workers must be improved, but not through easy sounding solutions like a higher minimum wage, scores a victory. At the same time, you make great efforts to keep the votes for your own candidate or issue from being fragmented.
The fifth is vote suppression, of black and latino voters, who tend to poll democrat. The first four have been employed in elections that Stone has been involved in, with Stone often taking credit. The fifth has been employed alongside Stone’s efforts, though perhaps without the collusion of Stone.
(Emphasis added.) But we know that suppression of minorities is not the only means of manipulating the vote. As long as the pre-election polls are reasonably close -- within, say, a three-to-five-point margin -- much hugger-mugger is possible. (I'm not talking about voter impersonation
, which is a ridiculous canard used by the GOP to justify their actions against minority voters.)
To prove the point, we need nearly turn our attentions to recent elections in Ukraine.
Paul Manafort -- Donald Trump's campaign manager and Roger Stone's long-time partner -- used to work for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian former leader of Ukraine. (This is how Trump's team first came into contact with PutinLand
.) Yanukovich's electoral victories in 2004, 2010 and 2012 almost certainly came about through fraud
A key tactic that helped Yanukovich get away with it was mirror imaging
-- he went into the 2010 elections accusing his opponents of practicing fraud
Remember: The man running Yanukovich's political fortunes in 2004 and 2010 was the same Paul Manafort who is now running Donald Trump's campaign.
Manafort's history in Ukraine suggests that he feels quite comfortable with election fraud -- and with mirror imaging. Whenever Team Trump launches a new claim against Clinton, be wary -- and reach for your mirror.