Harsanyi: Stages of losing an election to Trump
Though many things have changed in American political life over the past couple of years, one aspect remains a comforting constant: Democrats never lose an election. Not really. Not fairly.
Elections can be stolen. Americans can be misled. Big Oil or big business can buy elections. Whatever the case, something fishy and nefarious must also be going on, because there’s absolutely no way voters could reject Democrats.
From the night of Nov. 8 onward, the political coverage has been dominated by a series of conspiracies to explain the election of Donald Trump. Never acceptance. Always denial.
FBI Director James Comey: Weeks after the election, conventional wisdom had coalesced around the idea that his letter informing Congress that the bureau had found new evidence relating to the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton had irreversibly changed the election. After hammering Trump with one accusation after the next — some of them legitimate and some of them unproven — Democrats seemed to believe their candidate should be immune from news of her own doing. But it was Clinton who used a secret email server to circumvent transparency. She was the one who sent unsecured classified documents. She was the one who lied to the American people. And she was nominated by Democrats who never seriously entertained any another candidate.
Voting machines: Conspiracy theories over rigged elections are nothing new. We saw them in 2000 and 2004. Trump had also peddled the rigged-election conspiracy before Election Day. I remember this because I was told that the Republican nominee was irreparably undermining public trust in our institutions. By devoting so much time to stories that aren’t newsworthy, our media does the same.
The Constitution gets it wrong again: We are now in the midst of widespread anguish over the imaginary popular vote. Not only is the system we’ve used to elect presidents since the founding of the republic “unfair” and “undemocratic,” critics say, but like anything else progressives dislike these days, it’s also tool of white supremacy and sexism. One could argue that Democrats oppose dispersing political power and states’ rights and one of the core ideas of the Founding Fathers, but that would be giving them far too much credit. They only seem to oppose those things when they’re losing elections.
Fake news: After some ginned-up alarm over the proliferation of “fake news,” Clinton recently joined the chorus by claiming it is “an epidemic” in America. The fake-news panic of 2016 is a variation on a long-held liberal notion that people are too easily manipulated by conservatives. This is one of the reasons Democrats are interested in empowering the state to ban political speech by overturning Citizens United, passing a Fairness Doctrine or handing control of the internet to the government. It’s difficult to dispute that voters are often susceptible to believing stories that reinforce their pre-existing views about the world. But no one is innocent. Surveys say that at one point, more than half of Democrats believed that President George W. Bush knew about 9/11 before it happened.
The Russians are coming: Now, we’re shifting into our Russia Panic phase. The CIA claims that the Russians attempted to interfere in the election to assist Trump. This seems wholly plausible, considering Trump’s favorable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it should be fully investigated. There’s still debate among U.S. intelligence services about the Russian hacks, but that hasn’t stopped some Democrats from questioning the patriotism of those who refuse to accept the hysterical version of events. Well, unless the Russians transformed Hillary Clinton into an unlikable, ideologically malleable, corrupt, inveterate fabricator over the past 30 years, the claims that the Russians stole an election should be received with a giant dose of skepticism.
Of course, there will always be overarching theories about why Republicans win elections — like assuming half the country is racist. The left is so enveloped by its identity politics that it may not understand that the other half of the country is sick of it. While I’m no fan of Trump, Democrats have been demanding that I panic over every Cabinet pick, every statement and every event. It’s not normal.
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist.