What do people who ascribe to the theory of anthropological global warming call those who do not agree? Climate Science Deniers. Following that logic, those who refuse to accept the Nov. 8 election outcome deserve to be labeled Election Result Deniers. Seeing this prolonged refusal to accept the legitimate results that will make Donald Trump the next president is disconcerting.
Lets start off by admitting what we know: Russians attempt to influence every American presidential election via various means because our country is of grave interest to them militarily, economically and geopolitically. Many governments, including our own, have exerted influence on the elections of other nations to further their own interests. Welcome to modern politics.
Now that we have agreed on that, to what extent is Hillary Clinton’s loss attributed to undue outside factors namely election tampering via electronic hacking by the Russians? There is no data set for that. First we would need definitive proof that the Russians hacked into America’s election systems. Then we would require further proof that the hacks had a widespread, deleterious effect on the results. This has not been proven.
Certainly many well-reported events played a role in Clinton’s loss; Bernie Sanders’ surprising popularity especially with millennial voters, Clinton’s negative public persona, the ongoing FBI investigation into her private email server, allegations about her health status, Wikileaks email revelations, FBI Director James Comey’s announcement about newly discovered emails, and Clinton’s defense of partial birth abortion at the last debate. Could these issues have influenced Democratic voters’ decision to stay home? Something certainly did. Clinton underperformed Obama’s 2012 electoral vote totals. In Cleveland, Clinton had 7.66 percent fewer votes in comparison with Obama’s 2012 showing.
Did Donald Trump outperform Mitt Romney’s 2012 vote tally? Absolutely, in all of the places where it mattered for an electoral college win. In every Designated Market Area as reported by Echelon Insights, Trump gained voters when compared to Romney’s 2012 performance. In those same DMA’s Clinton experienced significant losses. In Youngstown Ohio much as Clinton had 14.95 percent fewer votes than President Obama. In city after city in the battleground states Clinton significantly underperformed her predecessors efforts.
On Nov. 9, millions of Americans woke up to an unexpected civics lesson: America is a representative republic not a pure democracy. The Electoral College matters, which is why the flavor of the week for Election Deniers is to attempt to delegitimize the very underpinnings of our republic by calling for electors to vote their consciences.
So far, the Democrats have offered fake news, misogyny, sexism, racism, and now those dastardly Russians as reasons for their candidate’s loss. But five weeks after the election, proof abounds that some strategic errors matter.
Donna Brazile, chairwoman off the Democrat National Committee, dumped money into urban get-out-the-vote efforts in Chicago and New Orleans while Clinton avoided campaigning in Rust Belt states. This was a critical misstep.
Messaging matters. What did Clinton plan to do for Americans besides bankrupting coal companies? Where was the inspirational messaging beyond pointing to our innate differences and demanding demographic obeisance?
A very flawed establishment candidate in Hillary Clinton lost to a very flawed change candidate in Donald Trump. A month after the election and a recount effort in three states still yields the main subject in national news: the illegitimacy of the Republican president-elect. Still ringing in my ears are the numerous calls by media types for Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus to promise that their candidate would accept the election results.
A Washington Post article, “Trump poses an unprecedented threat to the peaceful transition of power,” warned ominously: “Now, for the first time in modern history, a major party candidate rejects both sides of that equation. If he loses, Donald Trump says, it will be due to cheating that makes the results illegitimate.”
Clinton solemnly responded that to refuse to accept the election results would be “horrifying.” She added, “That’s not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and 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.”
Clinton is right. My sincere hope is that electors, Democrats, Never Trump voters and everyone in between accept the results of our legitimately held election. Our republic depends upon it.