I hate so say "I told you so," but it appears as if Donald Trump is borrowing talking points from Bernie Sanders and the Bernie-or-Bust crowd. The presidential debate schedule has been publicly known since last September, and yet Trump is just now realizing that two of the three debates compete against NFL football games.
And even though the Commission on Presidential Debates is composed of half Republicans and half Democrats, Trump is insisting that the debate schedule is a plot by Hillary Clinton to... what, exactly? Hide from Trump? Indeed, the exact opposite is likely true. Trump is probably terrified to debate Hillary on national television outside the comfort zone of Fox News and its wacky debate sound effects -- debates in which the contrast between the candidates, especially on foreign affairs, will be glaring.
Trump thinks she's trying to rig the election, of course, which is the chief gripe of Bernie loyalists who insisted she did the same via the DNC and so on. So, naturally, Trump is echoing that idea in order to pick off some Bernie supporters who might join his campaign.
And especially this one:
Thanks again, Berners! You've successfully provided attack lines for the man Bernie himself referred to as "the most dangerous presidential candidate in modern history."
Meanwhile, Trump's weirdest surrogate and Alex Jones henchman, Roger Stone, continues to insist that Hillary will absolutely steal the election. The calculus from both crooks is that if Trump loses the election, it can only be because Hillary stole it. They're building an escape hatch before-the-fact, revealing a hint of defeatism while prepackaging the de-legitimization of the Clinton presidency. The allegedly stolen election will be the new birth certificate, endlessly investigated by Trump's flying monkeys for the next four-to-eight years.
The great irony in both the NFL and election-fraud stories is that the Republicans have been actively attempting to restrict access to voting for more than a decade by rolling back early voting laws and expanding Voter ID. In other words, Trump seems to think everyone with a television should watch him debate (and lose to) Hillary Clinton, but it's perfectly fine to pass laws making it more difficult to vote.
Swing states like Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, Ohio and Michigan have Voter ID laws on the books, though the North Carolina law was overturned by a federal judge this week. Trump hasn't said a damn thing about Voter ID laws, possibly ever, and yet he's totally kerfuffled by football games coinciding with the debate schedule. Again, Trump and the GOP say it's bad that viewer attention will be divided, but it's perfectly acceptable if millions of Americans aren't allowed to vote because they're working, or because they can't get a photo ID in time, or because lines at polling places are too long.
We have hard evidence, backed up by numerous Republicans who've confessed to it, that the GOP is systematically disenfranchising voters in order to rig the elections for Republican candidates, and exactly zero evidence that Hillary Clinton blocked anyone from voting. Sure, there were numerous anecdotal stories from the primaries about independent voters who ran into problems when trying to register as Democrats. There are also reports of polling place shenanigans and so forth. Precisely none of these reports have in any way been linked to Hillary Clinton. Are they troubling? Of course. Any impediments to voting rights should be investigated and weeded out. But so far, there's only random reports without linkage to the Clintons, and, mostly, problems that are symptomatic of a pathetically mismanaged election system that ought to be immediately federalized.
In November, similar reports will surface, but nearly all of them will be linked back -- not to Hillary, but to Republican secretaries of state, Republican state legislatures and Republican governors. And we will have known about these problems, in some cases years in advance. That won't stop the Clown Dictator from blaming Hillary, before and after the fact. And he'll be just as wrong as the Berners he's borrowing from.