Sheriff Openly Calls for Riots as Trump Says Election is ‘Rigged’

David Clarke tweeted that it’s “pitchforks and torches time.”

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SOURCEThink Progress

As Election Day approaches and the polls continue to look dire for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, he is pinning the blame on everything except himself. “We’re going to beat the rigged system; we’re going to beat the rigged election,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) also told the crowd that “they are attempting to rig this election.”

Trump’s supporters are taking his “rigged” system rhetoric and accusations of lying by the media to their implied conclusion: revolt.

Most of the grumblings and musings of rebellion have come from everyday Trump voters, but on Saturday, Trump surrogate and Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke, an elected law official, tweeted that it’s “pitchforks and torches time” with a (stock) photo of an angry mob.

Trump’s campaign is currently floundering under the weight of numerous new allegations by women accusing Trump of sexual assault and harassment. In response, Trump has smeared the women, threatened to sue the media, and promoted conspiracy theories about the election being rigged against him by the media, the government, and the political establishment.

Trump has made similar allegations before, encouraging his supporters to watch the polls on election day to “make sure it’s on the up and up.” His comments seemed specifically aimed at sending his (overwhelmingly white) supporters to “watch” polls in inner-city areas, which have a higher population of black and Hispanic Americans. Trump is actively recruiting poll watchers at rallies and on social media.

Voting rights advocates have raised alarms that the kind of monitoring Trump is asking for is likely to make it more difficult for people of color and other disenfranchised populations to vote — which could actually have consequences for the democratic process.

As Sheriff Clarke’s tweet shows, the rigged election rhetoric could also have real consequences should Trump lose the election.

At a recent rally in Cincinnati, Trump supporters told a reporter for the Boston Globe that they intended to head to local polling stations and watch for illegal immigrants, and that they suspected Hillary Clinton’s campaign was stuffing ballot boxes. They also floated ideas of armed rebellion and assassination.

“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, told the reporters of Clinton. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take… I would do whatever I can for my country.”

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