For one brief moment, I'm going to agree with Donald Trump: The election is rigged.
Of course, here's the thing: He's doing the rigging.
For most of his quixotic campaign, Trump has spoken of dark forces trying to thwart him. It happened in the primary contest, when he bruited that the "Establishment" didn't want him to win. And it's been a theme of his general election campaign, to the point where he's convinced that every polling station in the country will be rigged in Hillary Clinton's favor.
Of course, it's nonsense. It's the sour grapes of an "alpha male" about to go down to a historic defeat. So he turns to that time-honored excuse of all fascists: the "stab in the back".
But he's talked about the inevitability of a Clinton win to such an extent that 81% of his fans think the election will be stolen, and their votes don't matter. Now, tell me: Why would anyone with that belief wake up on a cold November morning to trudge to a polling station if he or she believes that station already has the fix in for Mrs. Clinton?
By feeding his followers these dark conspiracies, Trump isn't motivating them to vote. In fact, he may be depressing their enthusiasm. (Polling shows Democratic enthusiasm now outstrips that of Republicans.) This not only guarantees that Trump will lose bigly, but it also dooms downballot Republicans. The stirrings of a wave election are on the horizon, all because the GOP nominated a circus clown to carry its standard.
Republicans made a bet with the devil, and it's coming due. The fix is in, but it's of Trump's own doing. However, we'll have to deal with the blowback for years to come.