Trump has started to claim that the election is being rigged.
And a poll has revealed that 41% of voters think that the election could be stolen from Trump (73% of Republicans believe that, and 17% of Democrats).
So what's going to happen when Hillary wins? Will Trump gracefully acknowledge defeat, and wish her well for the future? My feeling, based on how he's behaved over the last year, is that he won't. He'll scream that the election was rigged. Because the alternative - that he's a loser - isn't acceptable to him.
So what will the 35% of the electorate that voted Trump do. Will they accept defeat gracefully? I hope they do. But there's other things to consider, which are difficult for we British to comprehend.
The first is the existence of 300 million guns in private hands. One nutcase with a gun can do quite a lot of damage; a million people with guns can do a hell of a lot of damage. And there's a lot of Americans who believe that one important reason they are armed, is so that they can stop government doing bad things.
The second is the American attitude towards revolution. They glorify the events of 1776; they call it "The Revolution". The last time we British had a revolution was 1688, and most people won't even have heard of it, it was so politely done.
The third is that there's a fair number of Americans who want to revisit their civil war, only this time they want it to end differently.
So would Trump incite violence? He has form. He promised to pay the legal fees of supporters who attack protesters at rallies. "There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. So if you see
somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them,
would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell— I promise you, I will
pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise. It won’t be so much
’cause the courts agree with us too."
And then in another speech: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump
said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second
Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.” For we British who might not be able to decode this, Second Amendment is the right to bear arms. Meaning guns.
Trump is probably not stupid enough to call for a revolution explicitly. But he could say things that some people will interpret as a call to arms; something that he can deny meant that.
This could get messy.