John Oliver explains why Donald Trump claiming the election will be rigged is so dangerous to democracy

'Telling your supporters the election is being rigged is legitimately dangerous because faith in fair elections and in peaceful transfer of power are essential foundations for a democracy'

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The Independent Online

Donald Trump has made many worrying claims since securing the Republican nomination, not least threatening to jail his opponent if he does reach the White House during a debate. 

After skewering many of his most contentious comments in the most turbulent period for Mr Trump since he launched his campaign, John Oliver is now concerned with one of his repeated claims - that the US election is being rigged.

The acerbic satirist and Last Week Tonight host claimed the narrative being driven by the 70-year-old undermines democracy and could destabilise the election. Oliver highlighted how the Republican candidate is presenting himself as the US saviour; as the only one who can deliver truth amid a tsunami of lies from opponents, the media and even his own party. 

 

On Sunday, Oliver warned the comments made by Mr Trump sound more akin to claims made by unhinged conspiracy theorists. He cut to one of his most recent: “This is a conspiracy against you, the American people, and we can not let this happen or continue.” 

“Holy s**t! That is not the kind of thing that a presidential candidate says. It’s the kind of thing that a man in a tinfoil hat screams inside his concrete bunker because he thinks his soup cans have been bugged by the lizard people in the White House."

Oliver later added: “Trump took a theme that has been dancing around all this campaign and made it explicitly and frighteningly direct —that is, that the election is ‘rigged’. 

“OK. Telling your supporters the election is being rigged is legitimately dangerous because faith in fair elections and in peaceful transfer of power are essential foundations for a democracy, and undermining them is like asking why one of those giant eagles didn’t just fly Frodo all the way to Mordor in The Lord of the Rings: If enough people start thinking that way, the whole thing kind of falls apart." 

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Oliver warned of the ramifications of Mr Trump presenting himself as a martyr who suffers attacks from everyone in power for the sake of US citizens. “We have known for a while that Donald Trump thinks he is the second coming of Christ, but it turns out he might mean that literally. The only real difference being, with Christ we think, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and with Trump it’s more, ‘Jesus, what the f**k did you just do!?’”

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