As he fell further behind in polls and battled allegations of sexual misconduct in recent days, Donald Trump moved to darker corners. He sketched out conspiracies involving global bankers, casually threatened to jail his political opponent, and warned in increasingly specific terms that a loss by him would spell the end of civilization.
The distrust of U.S. institutions that Trump has nurtured among his core supporters is readily apparent.
One North Carolina man predicted in an interview that the military would probably assassinate Hillary Clinton if she’s elected president. A woman at an Iowa town hall for Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, offered to join a revolution if Clinton prevails. Another man at an Ocala, Fla., rally was certain Trump would fire the FBI and scores of other federal bureaucrats in a housecleaning if he wins.
Many who have watched Trump’s campaign warn that the spread of such ideas may be only the beginning. The scorched-earth strategy Trump has adopted risks creating a lasting and bitter divide in American society, they say.