Did the Republicans claim a "rigged election" when Florida stopped counting votes in 2000 and five members of the Supreme Court selected Bush?
Rather than claim a “rigged election” in 2000, did VP Al Gore accept the controversial court decision, which handed George W. Bush the presidency — even though Gore won the popular vote?
It’s too easy — and too whiny — to scream “rigged election” when your side might lose. It’s also dangerous and destructive to American democracy. Politicians cannot claim the United States is the best system in the world — then assail it if voters choose their rivals!
In fact, any attempt to undermine the integrity and credibility of the American electoral system — without solid evidence — is Third World strongman stuff. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad have all been accused of rigging their country’s elections. So has Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Does the U.S. want to join such company?
As for the charge that the media is doing Donald Trump in, the networks gave him more earned media than any candidate in recent history — just ask the 17 people who ran against him.
Playing partisan politics with something as vital as voting isn’t just nasty. It's a fundamental assault on one of our most cherished liberties: The right to vote and the assurance that vote is counted. Yet a just-released Politico poll found an astounding 41% of voters believe the November election could be "stolen" from Donald Trump, due to widespread voter fraud.
What’s the proof? The Donald said so.
This is the same guy who was so threatened by a satiric sketch, he tweeted “SNL” should be taken off the air. So much for speaking truth to power. When Bassem Youssef, Egypt’s version of Jon Stewart, was arrested for mocking the Egyptian government in 2014, his TV show was cancelled and political criticism stifled. That’s not how we roll.
It’s an American tradition to have lively, informed discussions and debates about policies that will impact hundreds of millions of people. Whatever your political stripe, citizens can and should engage in the process.
It’s a travesty for a major party nominee to take that tradition and, unnerved by dissent or disagreement, respond with tabloid vitriol and threats of jail time.
Trump isn’t trailing in the polls because the election is fixed. His economic policies have been called into question — nonpartisan groups worry it will cost millions of jobs. His lack of public service is alarming to those who believe he doesn’t understand how government works.
Further, his temperament is an issue — even supporters have doubled as apologists for his lack of impulse-control. Social media is an acceptable communication tool, but using it to insult women, minorities, immigrants and the disabled is not considered adult behavior. Nor is bragging about sexual assault indicative of leadership.
Then again, does anyone think Trump’s "rigged election" claim is real — versus the basis for establishing a new media entity. His luxe brands have lost their luster. It’s time to rebrand.
Perhaps all the shouting and faux outrage is a prelude to what Trump does best: reality TV. And like all successful shows, it needs a big reveal. Post-election fraud talk, festering resentment and political manipulation sound like the perfect trifecta to birth a Trump news site or Trump TV.
Now that’s rigged.