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That flea-bitten ogre Donald Trump has spent much of the past week warning that the election is about to be stolen from him. Who is doing the stealing, we don’t know, but presumably Hillary Clinton is in on the conspiracy, as is the Democratic Party, the globalists, The Media™, and Emmanuel Goldstein. Here’s The Donald yesterday:

Notice that Trump never says Clinton is plotting outright election theft, as in miscounting votes to favor her candidacy. He just insinuates that because the media coverage and the polls haven’t recently leaned his way, the fix must be in. Disputing Trump’s claim doesn’t mean denying the germs of truth underneath. The media really does tilt left, pollsters do sometimes get predictions wrong, and voter fraud does occur despite the left sticking its fingers in its ears.

RELATED: Trump wonders aloud if the election is rigged, and Paul Ryan’s response is on point

But Trump is asking us to declare him the victim of electoral larceny in an election that hasn’t even happened yet. It is, one might say, sad. Ronald Reagan faced a tendentious media and polls that often wildly overestimated enthusiasm for his opponents, yet he cruised to victory in two separate presidential elections. Good conservative candidates don’t gripe as the uneven playing field slides obstacles in their direction; they push back and they overcome. Donald Trump, being a deeply pathetic ninny, is incapable of doing that.

Trump voters feel slighted by a Washington political consensus that looks after its own and seems impregnable. They’re not wrong to feel that way, but the problem is, from there, it’s not that big a leap to imagine those same elites rigging the election in order to preserve their power. And indeed, a new Politico poll finds that 41 percent of Trump backers think Clinton might win unjustly. Trump has successfully preyed on their anxieties, and done so for purely selfish ends.

RELATED: I’m voting for Gary Johnson because it’s the only way to make my vote matter

Trump’s purpose in peddling these febrile theories is twofold: 1.) to soothe his own inflamed ego as his poll numbers collapse, and 2.) to transition into his next job in the event that he loses the election, one at the nexus of politics and entertainment, probably with his own Trump TV network. Trump’s ardent supporters will be even less likely to abandon him if they believe he’s the president in exile, and so on he’ll go, his mojo undiluted, despite having handed the Republican Party yet another defeat.

Trump cares about himself and nothing more. That his self-aggrandizement has now lured him into the conspiratorial sewer shouldn’t surprise us.

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