“I’ll keep you in suspense”: not as clever as he thinks!

“I’ll keep you in suspense”: not as clever as he thinks! October 20, 2016

So if you haven’t done so already, please read my summary of last night’s debate.  But I wanted to highlight one issue:  Trump’s response to the question of whether he will “accept the results of the election.”

Fundamentally, the answer was a mess.  “I will decide at the time,” he said, and he sputtered about the media poisoning the minds of voters, and duplicate or ineligible voters wrongly on the rolls, and even the accusation that Clinton shouldn’t be able to run because “she’s guilty of a serious crime,” and that for all these reasons the election is rigged.

He’s pressed.  Will he conceded?

And he says, with a smirk, “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

Folks, let’s presume that he doesn’t actually intend to encourage violence or riots or revolution.  Let’s presume that we’re really talking about demands for recounts or investigations of voting irregularities, or perhaps petulent claims that it wasn’t the will of the voters, or wasn’t his fault in any way, that he lost, but rather a deceptive media which prevented the truth from being known.  And twitter was abuzz last night with times in the recent past when Democrats insisted, long after an election was over, that it was lost only due to fraud, or when they promoted theories about Republicans and Diebold machines, and Democrats in turn parsed the meaning of “election” to claim that Gore “accepted the results of the election” because as long as there was still one more recount to be demanded, the “election” wasn’t over.  (Yeah, this is a bit silly — I generally think of “election” as the vote-casting, not the vote-tallying, don’t you?)

But Trump could have simply said something like, “I know the media is making accusations that my supporters will start riots after the election is over, just like they accuse my supporters of being racist and ignorant and deplorable.  But we know that it was Hillary’s campaign operatives who started the violence at my rallies.  My supporters are good, honorable, law-abiding people.  It’s true that I encourage them to monitor the election, and, like every candidate, I won’t rule out legal action if my advisors feel there has been fraud, but it’s despicable to accuse me or my supporters of anything else!”

But he didn’t.  Not because he really does plan riots.  He really seemed like he thought he was being clever last night with this statement.  Leave ’em hanging.  Be devious.  Give his supporters something to cheer for.

But he wasn’t being clever.  He was being a frickin’ idiot.  Every word he said in that debate, every effort to project “I am a serious, credible candidate” was erased — maybe not right then and there, but in the reporting, in the attack ads, in the reaction to that statement in the remaining weeks.

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