A supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton "needs to be taken out" at a recent Trump rally in Cincinnati (video below).
Dan Bowman told CNN: "I feel like Hillary needs to be taken out. If she gets in the government, I'll do everything in my power to take her out of power, which if I have to be a patriot, I will."
Bowman was asked what that meant, and he replied, "Take it any way you want to take it."
When told that his statement sounds like a threat, Bowman said, "That's what a patriot is."
Bowman was asked if he was making a physical threat against Clinton, and he replied, "I don't know, is it?"
Bowman went into more detail for The Boston Globe:
If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it. We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take ... I would do whatever I can for my country.
The newspaper noted that some Trump supporters wore a T-shirt that apparently mocked women who have accused Trump of sexual assault: "F--- Your Feelings." Others wore shirts bearing a misogynistic attack on Clinton: "Trump that Bitch."
The Trump campaign said in a statement to the newspaper: "We reject violence in any form and will not allow it to be a part of our campaign. Those who hold unacceptable views do not represent the millions of Americans who are tired of the rigged Washington system that will make their voices heard at the ballot box on Nov. 8."
Thousands of Trump supporters booed the media when they entered the Cincinnati rally, apparently taking a cue from Trump, who has blamed journalists for reporting his scandals.
Additionally, many Trump supporters believe Trump when he says the election has been rigged against him in some sort of conspiracy.
"It’s one big fix," Trump told a crowd on Oct. 14 in Greensboro, North Carolina. "This whole election is being rigged."
"The media is indeed sick, and it’s making our country sick, and we’re going to stop it," Trump added.
However, not all Republicans are on Trump's conspiracy train.
Al Cardenas, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida during the 2000 electoral recount, told the newspaper that an average of 1.5 percent of votes go uncounted, but he discounted Trump's "rigged" conspiracy:
How do you proclaim fraud before the incident takes place? It’s like my calling you a robber before you rob the bank. In America, you call out a crime or malfeasance after it happens. That’s a significant number in a close election, but they are not wrongdoings. Americans should feel that the ultimate outcome of the election is fair. That’s how we defend our democracy.
Fergus Cullen, former chairman of the New Hampshire GOP, is worried that Trump's fear mongering about a rigged election could incite violence if Trump loses to Clinton:
That’s really scary. In this country, we’ve always had recriminations after one side loses. But we haven’t had riots. We haven’t had mobs that act out with violence against supporters of the other side. There’s no telling what his supporters would be willing to do at the slightest encouragement from their candidate.
While some supporters of losing candidates have cried foul, such as Richard Nixon voters in 1960 and Al Gore fans in 2000, Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University presidential scholar, noted how Trump is different:
What’s really distinct is the candidate himself putting this out front and center as a consistent theme throughout the last part of the campaign, and doing it when there’s no evidence of anything.
If Clinton is elected, as it looks like she will be, they will be convinced she should not be president because the Republican nominee has confirmed their own fears, anxieties, and conspiratorial outlook. It will make governing more difficult.
Trump has also called for his supporters to be unofficial "election observers" to prevent "crooked Hillary from rigging this election."
Steve Webb, a 61-year-old Trump supporter, told The Boston Globe:
Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure. I’ll look for ... well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American. I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.
Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, responded to Trump and his supporters on an Oct. 15 blog posting:
Trump’s comments are especially dangerous because he is encouraging his supporters to take matters into their own hands. He’s telling his supporters to go to "certain areas" looking for fraud at the polls. This means a real risk of voter intimidation even if Trump himself organizes nothing. There will be people in red shirts marching to the polls.