Hillary Clinton is appalled at Hillary Clinton – or should be.
When Donald Trump was saying the presidential election was rigged, she said he was “denigrating” our democratic system. Now she is joining an effort to get a recount in three states because the election just might have been rigged, and she should be appalled at herself, right?
She isn’t. She is instead reverting to another Hillary of the past, the one who tells lies. The Clinton entourage is saying her legal participation in the recount process, intended for Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, is not participation. I think it is, although this much is in her favor: She did not organize the effort or help raise the money needed to finance it. That was done by Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate who is rumored to have gotten some votes.
Stein may have bought into some computer nerds saying it was possible some entity – Russia is the favorite – had somehow managed to tinker with some voting machines on election night. There’s no evidence; it is a conspiracy theory. But many have asked what’s wrong with moving ahead.
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You can find the answer to that question by reading what was said about Trump’s rigging thesis (lately repeated with assertions of illegal immigrants voting).
“We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election.”
–Hillary Clinton, third presidential debate
“Rigging an election would demand a widespread, nationwide effort with the two major parties colluding at every level. This is why election law experts say it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.”
–Sari Horwitz, reporter, Washington Post.
“Just as he tried to undermine the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency with the malicious and false ‘birther’ issue, now he’s gearing up to assail the legitimacy of Hillary Clinton’s presidency with the ‘rigged election’ issue.”
– Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist, The Philadelphia Tribune.
“These types of claims … may erode the electoral legitimacy of the winner, sowing doubts about their governing authority, as well as causing chaos by making it harder to bring Congress and the country together after a bitterly fought campaign.”
–Political scientist Pippa Norris, Washington Post’s Monkey Cage political blog.
“Trump’s anti-democratic conspiracymongering is unprecedented in modern elections. And we can begin to guess at the consequences of this rhetoric. Angry people, stirred by demagoguery and convinced they’ve been robbed of their rightful power, are a real threat to the already-frayed fabric of our democracy. … And if he doesn’t (win)? If he loses and pushes his base to reject the outcome? Then we could see protests, we could see mobs – we could even see violence, all directed against the people supposedly stealing the election. It wouldn’t be the first time.”
–Jamelle Bouie, Slate chief political correspondent.
“I think the only thing rigged that I’ve seen in this election is (Trump’s) mind.”
–Harry Reid, Senate minority leader, NBC interview.
Some things are wrong with the above statements, just a tiny fraction of the voiced outrage. Rigging would not take a nationwide effort and there have been rigging allegations in modern presidential elections. But it is true that the charge can be demeaning to the process. But where is the whining now? Here is Reid showing off his rigged mind when asked about the recount moving ahead.
“Sure, why not?”