Americans face a stunning situation this morning: a presidential candidate who refuses to accept the results of a presidential election.
I’m speaking, of course, of Hillary Clinton.
As Jim Geraghty notes in National Review this morning, Hillary told fundraisers in 2002 that George W. Bush was “selected, not elected” in 2000.
If that phrase sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been a recurring theme for Democrats for almost 16 years now. It’s a mantra that has been repeated by everyone from Joe Biden (who said Al Gore “was elected president of the United States of America”) to Jimmy Carter (who said there is “no doubt in my mind that Gore won the election”) to Jonathan Chait (who wrote a piece titled “Yes, Bush v. Gore Did Steal the Election”).
Yes, Democrats have been rewriting the 2000 election for years, saying that Al Gore really won. But until the last 12 hours or so, I never heard their new revisionist history: that Al Gore in fact graciously surrendered power. The very same Chait who still alleges fraud in 2000 is claiming that Al Gore conceded, end of story:
In 2000, there was an automatic recount. GOP blocked it. Gore conceded. They call him a sore loser anyway. https://t.co/Yz9n3VKrgy
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) October 20, 2016
Here’s what actually happened: news media called the election for Gore about an hour before polls closed in Florida, depressing turnout of the Republican vote in the panhandle, which was in a different time zone and heavily populated by Bush voters. Then the media retracted their call and very late that night awarded the contest to Bush. Gore called Bush and conceded.
Then he retracted it.
After automatic machine recounts showed Bush still winning, Gore sought manual recounts. But despite his rhetoric about “counting every vote,” Gore did not ask for a statewide recount of all votes, but a recount only in four Democratic counties that were more likely to favor him. As recounts proceeded, shenanigans were happening in these Democrat-controlled counties, with standards shifting constantly in ways that benefited Gore. Here’s a passage from the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore:
As seems to have been acknowledged at oral argument, the standards for accepting or rejecting contested ballots might vary not only from county to county but indeed within a single county from one recount team to another.
The record provides some examples. A monitor in Miami-Dade County testified at trial that he observed that three members of the county canvassing board applied different standards in defining a legal vote. 3 Tr. 497, 499 (Dec. 3, 2000). And testimony at trial also revealed that at least one county changed its evaluative standards during the counting process. Palm Beach County, for example, began the process with a 1990 guideline which precluded counting completely attached chads, switched to a rule that considered a vote to be legal if any light could be seen through a chad, changed back to the 1990 rule, and then abandoned any pretense of a per se rule, only to have a court order that the county consider dimpled chads legal.
It was chaos, and utterly . . . rigged. Yes, that term is a fair description of what Al Gore tried to do. He tried to steal the election, by having selective recounts and supporting an absurd and partisan “counting” process . . . and failed.
Ultimately, Gore conceded when he had to, and not one second before. And, as Sean Davis from The Federalist notes, Gore grudgingly conceded only the “finality” of the outcome while still disputing the correctness of the Supreme Court’s decision. And he spent years implying that he had really won. I watched him do it, on talk shows and in other appearances.
And Hillary Clinton pushed that same line, too. Which makes it ironic that she is getting on her high horse about Trump’s refusal to validate the fairness of an election that hasn’t even happened yet. An election where James O’Keefe has revealed Democrats acknowledging Democrat voter fraud, and inciting violence and pretending it resulted from “spontaneous” demonstrations . . . that DNC officials linked to Hillary actually orchestrated. An election where the DNC put its thumb on the scales for Hillary in the primaries. An election against a party, the Democrats, with a long and storied history of stealing elections, from LBJ’s first Senate race to JFK in 1960 to Al Gore’s attempt in 2000 to Hillary’s nomination this year.
Trump is wrong to claim that the vote counting process is rigged against him. He has no evidence of that. But he is not wrong to refuse to agree to concede the fairness of an election that has not even occurred.
And Hillary Clinton is wrong to refuse to concede the fairness of an election that did occur.
But good luck reading any of this anywhere but conservative blogs.