Trump in Johnstown, PA on Friday.
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Donald Trump has called on “everybody” to independently monitor polling places to protect against a “rigged” election. He's riled up huge crowds saying he'll accept the results … if he wins. A top surrogate even called it “pitchforks and torches time” in America.
But many avid Trump supporters at rallies in North Carolina and Pennsylvania — two important swing states — said on Friday they don't plan to monitor polls on Nov. 8 and aren't planning any action if the Republican nominee doesn't win.
Those who will take action said they want to do so peacefully.
“I'll be disappointed but no, I mean, you have to respect the office of the presidency,” said 66-year-old Mary Singleton at a rally in Fletcher, North Carolina. “Not necessarily the person, but you have to respect that office.”
Mary and Chris Singleton
Emma Loop/BuzzFeed News
Singleton, holding bright pink “women for Trump” signs, said she understood Trump's comments during Wednesday's final presidential debate where he said, when asked if he would accept the election outcome, “I will tell you at the time…I will keep you in suspense.”
Trump has pushed the conspiracy theory the election is “rigged” by a Clinton-driven system that has the control over the media. (It is very hard to rig an election.) He's also implied that there will be widespread voter fraud and that votes will be cast under the names of dead people.
“I can remember when Kennedy was elected,” Singleton said. “They found out later that a lot of dead people had voted.”
Singleton attended the rally with her son, Chris Singleton, who said Trump should concede if it's a clear victory for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I mean if it's a huge defeat then yeah, you should accept it,” he said. “If it's close and he thinks there could be a chance of voter fraud then he might want to contest.”
“If he does lose, I don't want him to do to the country like what Al Gore did in 2000 and drag it out for two more months,” he added. “We don't need that as a country.”
In Fletcher, North Carolina
Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images
At the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Friday, During his speech, Trump worked the crowd packed in the stands and on the damp stone-slabs covering the rink’s ice into a cacophony of boos rained down upon the reporters at the event.
“We are in a rigged system and a big part of the rigging is these people,” Trump said, pointing to the cluster of reporters standing on the media riser positioned where center ice would be for a hockey game.
As the crowd turned and joined him in lambasting the press, Trump added, “they don’t even want to look at you.”
Asked before the rally if they agreed that the election is “rigged,” many supporters agreed — but none said they felt the need to take part in the any actions like poll watching. And few were concerned about major disruption whatever the voting outcome on November 8 after the election.
Jerry and Eileen Mahoney, from Danville, PA, told BuzzFeed News they believe Trump had a right to say what he said at the debate, adding that they thought the election was a “little rigged” and that they have lingering concerns about dead people.
In the end, win or lose, they believe that Trump will “do the right thing” when it comes to accepting the election results.
Nelson, a 20-year-old rally attendee voting in his first election, when asked if he bought Trump’s notion that the system is rigged, said “I believe it.”
“If he loses the state of Pennsylvania then something is messed up,” he added.
However both Nelson and ellow rally attendee and first time presidential voter, Brady, said that no matter what the outcome, even if Trump loses, they’ll support the next administration.
“I feel like that’s my obligation as an American,” Brady said.
“Not going to like it, but we’re going to have to -— got to support America,” Nelson added.
Emma Loop for BuzzFeed News
In North Carolina, Andrew Penley, an Iraq war veteran, is more convinced that voter fraud exists, citing videos and articles he's seen online. He said Trump “shows a heightened sense of awareness” of what's happening.
Still, Penley said he doesn't have anything planned if Trump loses. “I haven't heard of anything like that,” he said about taking action if his pick contests the election.
About 1,500 people filled one half of an event hall at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher, in where polls show Hillary Clinton with a narrow lead.
It was the first of three planned rallies for Trump on Friday. The Republican nominee, whose speech was periodically interrupted by yells of “build that wall,” and “lock her up,” said he felt “invigorated” by his supporters. He even conceded that he would be comfortable with an election loss if he knew he had spoken at as many rallies as possible.
Jordan Penix, 16 — who attended the North Carolina rally with a group of teenage friends, all male, who got permission from their parents to skip school — said he thinks Trump would accept a loss “but he doesn't want to admit it.”
Mike Hayes/ BuzzFeed News
Penix added that likes Trump and has worked with his campaign for the past couple months, but thought the Republican candidate was being cowardly by suggesting he might not accept a loss. “He's kind of being a sore loser right now,” Penix said before Trump took the stage.
Penix said he'll be disappointed if Trump doesn't clinch the presidency, but would look toward the future and not take any action. “You've got to become stronger from it and come together as a country, build on what happened,” he said.
In Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Jacob Rearick, 21, said he agreed with Trump “50%” about the election being rigged but said it would be hard to know for sure.
“There are a lot of voter fraud out there… if you go to the black market it’s easy to get a fake ID,” Rearick said.
He said he’d be at polls all over the state on Nov. 8. But, he said, his poll watching efforts will be focused on going to different sites and getting the word out about Republican candidates — not detecting voter fraud. “I don’t plan on doing that, I just don’t really have the time to do that,” he said.
And Trevor Emerick, 22, from Butler, PA, 22, who is also voting for the first time, and only decided to register to support Trump, said he “100%” believes the election is rigged.
Mike Hayes / BuzzFeed News
Asked if he thought supporters should protest if Trump loses, Emerick said, “It would be nice,” stressing that they should be non-violent.
A woman who identified herself as Susan C. said Trump's election result comments were typical of his brand.
“I just think that he has been so different throughout this whole campaign that it doesn't surprise me that he said it,” she said. “I'm glad that he did, because he's not going to conform to what's normally done every election.”
“He's an outsider and that's what we all love about him,”
Susan and a man next to her said they werne't going to poll monitor or take to the streets if Trump lost. They only mused about doing one thing if Clinton becomes president.
“Move to Canada,” they said.
Emma Loop reported from Fletcher, North Carolina; and Mike Hayes reported from Johnstown, Pennsylvania.