Photo: AP

“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” Donald Trump said at a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, the Associated Press reports. The Republican nominee did not offer specifics, although he said that he’s been hearing “more and more” (from who??) that this is the case.

He followed up with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday night: “November 8th, we’d better be careful, because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.”

According to the AP, this is an unprecedented claim by a modern presidential candidate from a major party. Even so, it shouldn’t be surprising: In April, after losing primaries in Colorado, North Dakota, and Iowa to Ted Cruz’s delegate maneuvering, Trump accused the Republican party of trying to sabotage him.

“Our Republican system is absolutely rigged. It’s a phony deal,” Trump said at the time. “They wanted to keep people out. This is a dirty trick.” As it turned out, this was an effective argument. More recently, he has tried to court disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters by calling Hillary Clinton “the devil,” with whom the Vermont senator “made a deal.”

Speaking of dirty tricks, in an interview with Breitbart podcaster Milo Yiannopoulos longtime Trump confidante and advisor Roger Stone outlined last week how he’d like to see the purported billionaire handle his impending defeat. From Breitbart:

“I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly,” Stone said. “He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’”

“If you can’t have an honest election, nothing else counts,” he continued. “I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”

Stone’s commitment to non-violent resistance is most admirable. Meanwhile, the crisis of legitimacy continues apace.