TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – An American political analyst said the American deep state, a loosely organized cabal who has taken power away from the official government, possibly selects candidates to run for president in the US.

“If Clinton was to run against any other Republican the likelihood would be her defeat. This is a possibility, if one believes that the “deep state,” a cabal of militarists, banksters and financial magnates, actually selects the candidates to run for president,” Dennis Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, told the Press Shia Agency News Agency.

Following is the full text of the interview.

Press Shia Agency: As you know, there is now only one day left before America votes on its 45th president, with Hillary Clinton's polling lead over Donald Trump having narrowed significantly in recent days. Who will win the 2016 US presidential election and why?

Etler: Conventional wisdom still puts its bet on Clinton winning the presidency. She has had a commanding lead until the home stretch, but now the steady drip of hacked emails are beginning to take their toll, exposing Clinton's dirty politics, pay to play duplicity and double-dealing. Trump is taking advantage of Clinton's troubles and is inching up in the polls. If his upward trend continues and Clinton polling numbers fall further there is an outside chance that Trump could pull it off and win by a hair.

It's frequently suggested that Trump's candidacy was manufactured to put Clinton in a better light since going into the race she had historically high negatives. Only Trump was seen more negatively. If Clinton was to run against any other Republican the likelihood would be her defeat. This is a possibility, if one believes that the “deep state,” a cabal of militarists, banksters and financial magnates, actually selects the candidates to run for president.

It can be argued that the neo-con presidency of George W. Bush was so discredited by war and economic collapse that the only way to save the system's credibility was to promote the candidacy of the first “African-American” president with a quasi-liberal agenda. Obama has fulfilled his role admirably, but his neo-liberal policies, particularly his support of regime change and destabilization abroad, have also been discredited. Clinton represents the status quo which some in the ruling elite see as bankrupt and a threat to US imperialism's long-term interests. Critics of the neo-con/neo-liberal interventionist policy think that Clinton's war policy has backfired in the Middle East and the South China Sea. They see a resurgent Eurasian axis consisting of China, Russia and Iran, as an existential threat to continued US hegemony.

The Trump camp in the ruling elite wants to peel Russia away from this emerging Eurasian alliance to further isolate both China and Iran and fragment the anti-imperialist coalition. Hence Trump's overtures to Russia while doubling down on his unrelenting China and Iran bashing. Trump and his “deep state” backers in the intelligence community and the FBI want to “Make America Great Again” which is code for a Reaganite policy of “Peace through strength” abroad, i.e use the US military to intimidate and bully nations overseas, while imposing “law and order” and economic austerity at home. In other words, escalate attacks on minorities, women and immigrants while rhetorically promoting white angst to create a backlash and divide the US people against each other. Trump's domestic and foreign policy is thus a proto-fascist one that resonates well with certain powerful elements in the US ruling class who want to curtail the rise of any true alternative to the corrupt system of US corporatist imperialism.

There is, therefore, the distinct possibility that forces in the deep state selected Trump as their representative and are using Clinton's baggage of scandals to derail her candidacy at the finish line.

Nonetheless the contest between Clinton and Trump is really a battle amongst two camps within the “deep state.” One which wants to preserve the neo-con/neo-lib status quo and one that wants to promote a more aggressive policy of gun-boat diplomacy abroad and retrenchment at home.

Press Shia Agency: Trump has repeatedly said that the 2016 election is rigged, saying a "large-scale voter fraud” is taking place. What is your take on this? Is the US election really rigged?

Etler: US elections have always been “rigged” by the two party duopoly. The Republicans have been pushing the “large-scale voter fraud” argument for years so Trump's assertions are nothing new. There is however no evidence for it occurring. It is not necessary for the system to remain intact and would be extremely difficult if not impossible to implement logistically. Since US elections are basically fights within the ruling class, for the vast majority of people it matters little who wins. For instance, ever since the Civil Rights Movement began over 60 years ago Black unemployment has stayed twice that of whites, even after 8 years of Obama. The two parties cater to different demographics and practice identity politics to favor their own constituencies and disadvantage their adversaries.

Press Shia Agency: One of the most important questions is will Clinton rig the election to win the White House like she did in the primaries against Bernie Sanders?

Etler: The primary system in the US is hardly democratic and quite easy to manipulate. General elections are quite a different story and follow completely different rules and procedures. To expect Clinton's primary election manipulations to be repeated at the national level is like comparing apples and oranges.

Press Shia Agency: Is there any clear mechanism to monitor the election process and verify the official results?

Etler: Standard procedures are enough. Election fraud on the scale needed to influence the results is not an issue except for those who do not want to accept them.

Press Shia Agency: According to a recent report by Reuters, a militia group in the US state of Georgia is preparing for civil unrest should Clinton win in the upcoming election. What do you think? Would they take up arms if she wins?

Etler: A lot of empty talk. Heard the same BS many times in the past.