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Was the election "rigged," or "fortified?"

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In the American Mind, Joshua Hochschild relives some of the important events of recent American history.

As the election nears, Trump seems more popular than ever before. After four years, people aren’t just taking a risk on an unknown quantity, they are voting for someone who presided over a robust economy, created jobs, reduced minority unemployment, kept us out of wars, brought troops home, reduced energy prices, reframed diplomacy in the Middle East, and so on. His opponent (who typifies the establishment choice) is uncharismatic and frail.

You suppose you could ask a political scientist to explain why it all adds up to reasonable suspicion of an irregular election, but it’s intuitive, isn’t it? It’s intuitive—and yet hard to summarize. Do we even have a single word to capture it? Is it fraud? Is it ballot harvesting? Is it rigging? Is it stealing? Is it hacking? Is it vote-switching? Is it gaming the system? General lawlessness? Illegitimacy? Is there even a single word that can cover the multi-layered suspicion that has now accumulated about how the powers-that-be might seek to undermine a straightforward, legal, democratic process?

Later, much later, when “the secret history” can be reported, you will learn that it can in fact be called an “unprecedented conspiracy” and “shadow campaign,” that they were not “rigging” the election, they were “fortifying” it.

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