28 November 2016
Donald Trump finally was provoked last weekend to take the position many of his supporters had taken since it became apparent that Trump would become President without winning the popular vote. It took a report that elements of Hillary Clinton's campaign organization would cooperate with Jill Stein's kamikaze attack on the presidential vote in Wisconsin. While I continue to uphold people's right to vote for the candidate they like best, regardless of whether or not the candidate has a realistic chance to win, Stein only has herself to blame for Trump winning Wisconsin. As the latest tally of the popular vote in that state shows, Stein, the Green party candidate, received more votes than the margin separating Clinton from Trump. For all I know, Stein might like to see Trump's lead grow through a recount to the point where she won't be blamed for the Republican winning. But I suspect that a Trump presidency so horrifies the leftist candidate that she'd like to see recounts in Wisconsin and elsewhere flip some of the close states from Republican to Democrat. But as below, so above; just as Trump supporters have been answering efforts to use the popular vote to question Trump's legitimacy by questioning the legitimacy of the popular vote, so now Trump himself is claiming that only millions of fraudulent votes kept him from winning the popular as well as the electoral vote. The fraud libel is the modern version of the old Republican tactic of "waving the bloody shirt." Just as Republicans a century ago and more loved to remind voters that the Democrats were the party of secession, so Republicans now assume that since the Democrats always have been the party of immigrants -- at least until each wave of immigrants turns "white" and frets over the next wave -- Democrats will always depend on fraudulent voting by unnaturalized immigrants to win elections. History provides at least some basis for such claims, but it gives no reason to think that Republicans don't also cheat. If anything, we're only returning to partisan normalcy after a long period where fraud wasn't that big an issue between the parties. Perhaps demographic polarization has something to do with this, but in any event the timing of Stein's challenge is terrible. It comes after the establishment, at least, had reconciled itself to a Trump presidency, and after the lumbering transition process had begun. It may prove the climax to the self-defeating hysteria over Trump's election -- so long as they blame it on white nationalism they'll never figure out how to beat him or Pence next time -- but I still fear that worse is to come, perhaps on Inauguration Day.