The left has been marching relentlessly through our institutions for decades. That’s a major reason why confidence in our institutions — e.g. the mainstream media — is so low.
Now, as John points out, the left is trying to march through the Electoral College, an institution that has been around since the birth of the Republic. Left-liberals want electors to nullify the vote in their states in order to prevent a Trump win, and are harassing and even threatening them in an attempt to bring this about.
Has anything like this ever been attempted? Not to my knowledge. The election of 1876 produced a huge controversy involving the Electoral College. But this was because there were disputes about the outcome of the vote in a number of states.
This year, there are no such disputes. Instead, electors are being asked to ignore the outcome in their states, and the request is backed in some cases by attempts at coercion.
On what basis? Because Russia allegedly interfered in our election and because leftists really, really, really dislike Donald Trump. (Some also point out that Trump lost the popular vote, but this has never been considered grounds for electors to “vote their conscience.”)
Many conservatives really, really, really dislike Barack Obama. And it would not have been difficult to gin up a case that he won the last election unfairly.
After their first debate, Romney pulled even with Obama. With the Benghazi attacks in the mix, there was good reason to believe Romney might win.
However, the Obama administration lied about the nature of Benghazi in order to preserve its claim that it had essentially defeated al Qaeda. Team Obama also worked Candy Crowley, moderator of the second debate, so she could take the president’s side against Romney when the issue of Obama’s honesty about Benghazi came up.
This wasn’t the case of a foreign power trying to help a particular candidate — hardly an unheard of occurrence in the annals of presidential elections. This was one of the candidates lying about a matter of national security in order to gain an advantage.
As far as I know, conservatives/Republicans never considered urging the Electoral College to nullify Obama’s victory on this basis (or any other). To do so would not only have been absurd, it would have been obscene.
The same is true of what the left is trying to do now. And the left is doing it without a murmur of disapproval from the Democratic party. To my knowledge, Hillary Clinton, who promised to accept the outcome of the election, has not denounced the left’s effort. During his press conference last week, President Obama declined to weigh in on the question of what electors should do — as if this is something about which reasonable people can disagree.
Meanwhile, liberal pundits are calling for president-elect Trump to stop talking about the election in order to “heal” the country. See, for example, this column by Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post.
But with the left trying to prevent Trump’s accession to the presidency based on claims that his victory is illegitimate, Trump has good reason to tout his win and to address, in his inimitable way, the various claims of illegitimacy. Trump will continue to have reason to do so after the Electoral College votes because the left surely will continue to insist that the Russians tilted the election in his favor and to hammer home the almost entirely irrelevant fact that Clinton won the popular vote.
Faced with claims that his victory was illegitimate, President George W. Bush tried to heal the country. He never denied the thinness of his victory margin and he compromised with Democrats on judges and on some policy matters.
This approach didn’t work out very well for Bush or his party. Trump has a different one in mind, and I don’t blame him.