Recently Donald Trump began recruiting what he’s calling “election observers” on his campaign website. This should alarm any person who values democracy, no matter what their political affiliation.

Mr. Trump’s current poll numbers are miserable, and as it stands he could be facing an absolutely humiliating defeat in November. In response, instead of changing his message or his delivery, Mr. Trump seems to have accepted he might very well lose, and so has begun to lay the foundation for an unhinged conspiracy to explain his defeat.

On cue, Mr. Trump is already accusing Hillary Clinton of “cheating” long before anyone has voted. It would be almost laughable in its transparency if Mr. Trump didn’t have so many Americans fooled by his performance.

Mr. Trump’s poll watchers will accomplish nothing positive. Reasonable people know that in-person voter fraud is so rare that it is statistically irrelevant. Those same reasonable people are then left to assume that Mr. Trump’s groupies, loitering and strutting around near voting sites, must be there for a different reason altogether: voter intimidation.

The only thing worse than a bully is a bully with an ounce of authority, whether real or imagined. Given the not-so-subtle undercurrents of violence we’ve seen at Trump campaign events, I can only imagine the caliber of “volunteer” Mr. Trump will have pumped full of delusions of grandeur and waiting for us at our voting places.

No doubt they’ll think of themselves as “patriotic Americans” while totally missing the irony that by hiding behind imaginary voter fraud as an excuse to menace their neighbors as they exercise their constitutional rights, they are anything but patriotic and are instead representing candidate-sanctioned thuggery better left in the dustbin of history.

A dustbin that will hopefully also contain the shattered remains of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign come November.

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach