A whole lot of rig­ging go­ing on

Cecil Whig - - & - Jay Am­brose

— 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. She said she was ap­palled. 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 that some en­tity — Russia is a fa­vorite sus­pect — had some­how man­aged to tinker with some vot­ing ma­chines on elec­tion night. There’s no ev­i­dence. It is a con­spir­acy the­ory as prob­a­ble as two plus two equals five. But many have asked what’s wrong with mov­ing ahead.

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, Oct. 19, Las Ve­gas.

“Rig­ging an elec­tion would de­mand a wide­spread, na­tion­wide ef­fort with the two ma­jor par­ties col­lud­ing at ever y 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

WASH­ING­TON

Clin­ton’s pres­i­dency with the ‘ rigged elec­tion’ is­sue.”

— Jesse Jack­son, civil rights ac­tivist, The Philadel­phia Tri­bune.

“The can­di­date’s reck­less closing mes­sage that noth­ing is on the level — not Democrats, not the press, not the polls, not Repub­li­can lead­ers, not even the in­tegrity of the vot­ing process — has left many of his sup­port­ers pre­pared to de­clare the elec­tion re­sults il­le­git­i­mate.”

— Dana Mil­bank, Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist.

“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 al­readyfrayed 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, chief po­lit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dent for Slate.

“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 cer­tainly been rig­ging al­le­ga­tions in mod­ern pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. But it is true that the charge can be de­mean­ing to the process, and where has all the whin­ing gone? Here is Reid show­ing off his rigged mind when asked about the re­count mov­ing ahead. “Sure, why not?” Jay Am­brose is an colum­nist for Tri­bune News Ser­vice. Read­ers may email him at speak­to­jay@ aol. com.

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