ALL THE SERIOUS PEOPLE TODAY: IT’S IRRESPONSIBLE AND HIGHLY DESTRUCTIVE TO ENTERTAIN UNPROVEN CLAIMS OF ELECTION FRAUD.
Democrats overwhelmingly say fake news spread by Russia was at least somewhat likely to have affected the results of the presidential election – just under half (46%) say that it was very likely. Republicans disagree – except for those Republicans who think that Russian-sponsored spreading of fake news actually took place. A majority in this group believe it was in fact likely that the effort did affect the election outcome.
Two out of three Democrats also claim Russia tampered with vote tallies on Election Day to help the President – something for which there has been no credible evidence.
In response to the oncoming deluge of fraud claims, many of which will be clearly dubious, you’ll see the usual suspect crowd of journalist/activist types dropping giant heaps of gleeful scorn. They’ll laugh at the absurdity of supposed “conspiracy theories” being proffered about the vote counts in Arizona or wherever else. They’ll mock those who can’t accept reality. And they’ll be right in certain instances that the claims will be preposterous. But what will be even more preposterous is the profoundly misplaced sense of smug superiority they won’t be able to help themselves from exuding, given everything they just put us through over the past 4+ years.
I know we’re all tired of the polling-industrial complex and rightly so, but let’s please remember that a December 2016 YouGov poll found half of all Clinton voters that year didn’t just believe that Russia “interfered” in the election to the advantage of Trump, but that they tampered with the ballot tallies and effectively hacked the voting machines. By 2018, a supermajority of Democratic voters expressed this belief. And the belief didn’t become widely-adopted as a result of standard looney-tunes off-the-reservation conspiracy-theorizing, which is typically understood to emanate from the fringes of society. Instead these crazy, evidence-free beliefs were deliberately engineered by the most Serious precincts of mainstream respectable opinion, particularly those allied with the Democratic Party and its think tank / media affiliates.
The phrase “hacked the election” entered wide circulation by December 2016, with the New York Times among others spouting it without compunction. If you’re not a particularly sophisticated news consumer, and you have a pro-Democratic predisposition, what exactly do you think you’d have tended to infer from the phrase “hacked the election”? Trump winning the election was unfathomable to many, and people were understandably searching for answers. They were provided with self-deluding fantasies by sources they’d come to regard as authoritative. The people who used the phrase over and over again, like chronic liar Adam Schiff, aren’t stupid. They knew it would engender doubt as to the legitimacy of the election; that was the entire purpose.
One particularly egregious example from November 2016 was when Gabriel Sherman, then of New York Magazine, totally mischaracterized the views of a group of “prominent computer scientists” by attributing to them the belief that they had “found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” The group had then supposedly advised the Hillary campaign to request recounts on that basis. Sherman’s article caused a huge firestorm and clearly contributed to the patently false belief that Russia had tampered with the vote count. But it was bunk; the computer scientist in question renounced Sherman’s article. By then it was too late though, and the legitimacy of the 2016 election would never be accepted by huge swaths of the population — all thanks to the ineptitude/depravity/deceptions of the media class.
I’m going with depravity, for the most part. And note that Hillary eventually did concede — but then proceeded to spend the next four years calling Trump illegitimate as she and her allies spread unfounded claims of “Russian collusion” and produced an absurdly baseless impeachment vote.
Trump, on the other hand, is challenging things via litigation and entirely within the system. And yet he’s somehow the threat to our norms and institutions.
Related: Robert F. Kennedy claims 2004 election was stolen. “It’s a scandal and people should be prosecuted for it, there should be hearings, people should go to jail.” And for extra laughs,he says that exit polls are “an exact science” that could be used to overturn the election.