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October 20, 2016

​Trump complains about rigged election in final debate

Essential question

How is the transition of presidential power important to maintaining democracy?

In the last presidential debate of the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talked about many issues, but one of the hot topics was whether Trump will concede if he loses the election.

This week, as his poll numbers continued to lag behind Clinton’s, Trump began making statements about his suspicions of a rigged election and warning followers of voter fraud and other attempts to undermine his campaign. He went as far as to say he would not accept the results of the election if Clinton won.

At the debate, Fox moderator Chris Wallace asked the Republican nominee if he planned to contest the results of the election if he lost.

“I will tell you at the time, I will keep you in suspense,” Trump said, despite assurances from members of his own campaign that he would concede in the event of a Clinton victory.

Clinton called this response “horrifying” and pointed to the instance several years ago when Trump accused the Emmy Awards of being rigged after not receiving an award for his reality television show, “The Apprentice.”

“Every time Donald thinks things aren’t going in his direction he claims whatever it is is rigged against him,” she said. “This is how Donald thinks.”

Key terms

voter fraud — the intentional corruption of the electoral process by one or more voters

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. Did you watch the final presidential debate? Why or why not?
  2. If so, what did you think of the candidates responses?
  3. What does it mean to “concede” and how does that relate to presidential elections?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why do Donald Trump’s accusations about a rigged election upset some people?
  2. What might happen if Trump refuses to accept the outcome of the election?
  3. What is the difference between “accepting” the outcome of the election and challenging an election in the courts?
  4. What do you think is most important for the candidates to focus on in the final weeks before the election?
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