Donald Trump’s declaration that the general election could be “rigged” against him reeks of a candidate poised for defeat, the White House suggested Wednesday.

“I know this is the subject of debate at the end of the last presidential election when some supporters of Gov. [Mitt] Romney complained of skewed polling. So this is not a new claim. I would just note that it is often a claim made by people who don’t end up winning elections,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing. “What I’ll just say in general is that the cornerstone of our democracy is the ability of eligible voters, citizens to cast a ballot and to have it counted and the more people participate in that system, the more people that participate in that process, then the stronger our democracy.”

Earnest went on to note that President Barack Obama has made a similar case in front of bipartisan audiences.

“You’ve seen the United States Department of Justice pursue cases in the court to ensure that the rights of eligible voters are protected when it comes to participating in elections and the president has actually worked in bipartisan fashion including signing up the lawyer for Gov. Romney’s campaign to offer up advice about what we can do to make it easier for eligible voters to participate in the process,” Earnest said. “And the reason for all of that is the president believes our democracy benefits when the American people are engaged in that debate and when as many eligible voters as possible cast ballots.”

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