How the Election Was “Rigged” Before a Ballot Was Cast
Let me get this out of the way: I am not voting for Donald Trump for reasons many, many others have well-explained. Believe me.
Although I don’t think Trump should be President, I do not dismiss out of hand everything he has said. Trump’s accusation of a “rigged system” merits attention.
As discussed below, a “rigged” system is not limited to the proof that voting is futile, because the votes cast will be cast aside, or that fraud is so rampant that the election’s outcome is pre-determined. The true “rigging” is what appears to be collusion to arrange optimal conditions for the election of Hillary Clinton including, by the way, supporting Donald Trump’s nomination to the GOP ticket.
Those clanging a warning bell about the “rigged” charge avoid the truth by attempting to define the term in the narrowest way, to suit their fierce, yet hollow, denials. This chorus of hand-wringers claiming Trump is irresponsible or wrong to mention “rigged” ironically suffers from both defects, plus a conflict of interest. After all, many in that chorus are singing for their supper, deftly served by the Clinton machine and its oilers in the press.
Choose the Form of the Disruptor
Although not my candidate for president, I will remember Trump as a disruptor: a catalyst for change. Change causes discomfort, which normally is not welcomed. Trump’s disruption included a great deal of bad. Just check the electoral map as of this writing. But disruption is not all bad, not even in Trump form.
Trump-the-disruptor blasted away some of the scaling on our Nation’s tarnished plumbing. Unfortunately, the corrosion peeled away, revealing decay underneath. It’s mostly green, not coincidentally the color of money. And it stinks.
Revealing corrosion beneath the surface is the first step to repairing it. Therefore, these revelations are a silver lining in what otherwise is a nasty, sulphur cloud known as the 2016 election cycle. Many heretofore uninvolved in the political process for the first time paid attention. The parties’ leaders have been called to account and are re-examining their rules. The DNC Chair stepped down mid-season. Activists across the political spectrum are questioning staid processes and institutions.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant, as Justice Louis Brandeis famously wrote. Trump’s umber glow, fueled by an international fugitive’s release of thousands of insecure emails, may prove an effective substitute. The corrosion revealed, with the proper attention, it can be eradicated or at least contained.
The “R” Word
Like the imperial storm troopers’ blasters, Trump’s mouth is not a precision weapon. His erratic way of speaking, hubris, and bombast created drama, which attracted the press to him like moths to an orange flame.
The media’s gift of oodles of free airtime gave Trump and his surrogates unparalleled access to Americans. His words are repeated by his followers and detractors alike. That I can tell you.
Trump speaks not only imprecisely, but also without the gloss applied by Washington insiders and the elite press corps. Case in point is Trump’s use of “rigged.” He is not the first person or the last to use the term to criticize inequity, as this video demonstrates with flair.
During the primaries, Trump argued arcane, state primary rules “rigged” the system of selecting delegates to the convention.(Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters also used the term, but to describe the DNC’s favoritism towards Hillary Clinton). In reality, the game was rigged, just not the way Trump claimed. More on that below.
Fast forward from June to October 2016. With the emergence of sexual misconduct allegations during the waning weeks, and media outlets all but declaring war on Trump, his candidacy and his supporters, Trump has revived his charge that the system, nay the entire election, is “rigged.”
Thou Dost Protest too Much
The “tut-tutting” and tongue clucking over Trump’s use of the “R-word” echoed throughout the news rooms and politicians’ staffers’ offices; a cacophony of smug, one-cylinder engines with valve trouble. The outrage was so acute, the press nearly stopped its daily reminder that Trump did not release his tax returns, and the obviously coordinated blast of sexual abuse allegations.
To make Trump seem “extreme” (the Washington go-to word for an opponent’s position that differs from your own), the “rig-o-phobes” breathlessly argue the rigging accusation is an indictment of the voting machinery. They equate “rigging” to the allegation that the election results — the voting machines or tabulations — are altered to predetermine an outcome.
To make that accusation of a “rigged election” is to undermine our entire system for changing power. And you heard that from Congresspersons, professors, lawyers, chefs, and probably even Kardashians, almost as if these arguments were supplied to them. They all decried Trump’s lack of evidence of a “rigged” election. As Eric “Otter” Stratton (Faber Coll. pre-Med.) proclaimed: “Well, you can do what you want, but we’re not going to sit here while you bad mouth the United States of America.” Many of the outraged seem just about as sincere as Otter.
President Obama, never one to whine about Fox News, Congressional Republicans, guns, or police, took time to comment. Trump’s complaining about a rigged election before the votes are counted demonstrates he’s not tough enough to be president, Obama said. Not everyone has the incumbent’s courage to “lead from behind,” watch baseball games — in Cuba — during terrorist attacks, or resolutely draw red lines, apparently in erasable ink.
No, what we have here is a — likely intentional — failure to communicate. As the news media insists, there’s “no evidence” of a wholesale corruption of the election apparatus. Mind you, there is likely voter fraud, voting by people unauthorized to do so, efforts to expedite citizenship to as many immigrants as possible before the election so they can vote, etc. But there is scarce proof that these instances, however, obnoxious, are outcome determinative, or that a “rigged election” is coordinated nationwide.
It’s a Rigged System, Folks
That all said, such proof is unnecessary to show that the election is “rigged.” One simply has to consider the term in a way that most Americans understand it.
For me, and I assume others who are neither “media” nor politician, “rigged” means that there is and has been an almost desperate attempt to elect Hillary Clinton among people who can influence voters in a meaningful way.
Here are a few examples of what I call “rigging”:
- Let’s first go to Chris Cuomo, CNN Reporter, and of course the son of Liberal, Democrat icon Mario Cuomo, and incumbent Governor Chris Cuomo. He’ll tell you, on TV, that the Hillary for President media campaign started even before she declared. Direct evidence? Sure, but wait. There’s more.
- The Democratic National Committee, contrary to its repeated assertions of impartiality, favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. He didn’t have a chance, even though there is no proof that anyone actually tampered with the primary voters’ ballots.
- The Wikileaks emails reveal the Clinton campaign decided to promote Trump’s candidacy so that he would be the nominee. The “rigging” is that the mainstream media played right along. Sure, the money ratings played a part. As Les Moonves, CEO of CBS said about the campaign in February 2016, “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” But the incredible amount of time the news media devoted to Trump fulfilled the DNC’s wishes. It’s a wonder Trump had any time to tweet, he was on TV and radio so much. Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, and the others? Not so much. The choice of many, Sweet Meteor O’Death, has been virtually blacked out.
- Once Trump became the nominee, though, all bets were off. All pretense of objectivity abandoned, the newspapers and broadcast media made it their business to ensure he lost. See, e.g., here and here, and Google is your friend.
- NBC held negative information about Trump until October to maximize the negative effect on the campaign (here). That’s rigging.
- Mike McCurry, co-Chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, was Bill Clinton’s press secretary during Whitewater and, yes, Lewinsky. Not that he did anything to hurt Trump, but that’s not the point. If I’m Trump, I’m nervous.
- Speaking of ties, connected by blood or otherwise, have you ever seen a list of the relationships between mainstream media companies and the Obama administration? Here’s one. Never mind that George Stephanopoulos, one of the original Clinton “spin doctors” now holds positions of power at ABC News. Oh, and he donated $75,000.00 to the Clinton Foundation without disclosing it. But he said he was sorry after being caught. All good.
- About those debates, how is it that John Harwood was a debate moderator? He was in close contact with John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chair, as proven by Wikileaks, and delivered what some called the most biased, hostile moderator performance.
- And of course, the media nearly refused to cover Mrs. Clinton’s obvious health issues. When she collapsed in public on 9/11, they called it a “stumble,” for example. She went over 250 days without a press conference, finally causing a Washington Post writer to remark her recalcitrance was “beyond ridiculous.” But he did so only to see if Trump was justified in hammering on the issue. (Here). Tell me a Republican candidate would be treated with such kid gloves.
- Then there is the matter of the shifting explanations about the emails, the destruction of evidence, the chance meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Clinton, the decision not to prosecute. This issue simply would have been career-ending if the press had spent as much time and effort reporting it as, let’s say, Governor Christie’s “bridgegate,” Marco Rubio’s small boat, and Trump’s crazy accusations against his fellow nominees. Story selection is a pernicious form of media bias.
- Watch the press change the Wikileaks email story into “it’s irresponsible to read stolen, private emails,” rather than focus on the corruption revealed within them. Would they worry about the privacy of a Republican campaign chair if his / her emails were hacked? Heck no. Did they support Gawker’s publication of Hulk Hogan’s private video? Oh yeah.
- Not convinced, yet? Follow the money. As the headline reads, “Journalists Shower Clinton with Campaign Cash.”
Still not convinced? I can go on, but I won’t. Trump is right on this point. It is a rigged system. He’s (probably) just wrong about what is rigged.
Nota bene, though: my thesis is not that Trump deserves to win because the fix is in. He has made far too many mistakes, and deserves much of the negative press he has received. Point shaving does not guarantee a win. But it corrupts what should be a fair contest. That is why point shaving is a form of “rigging.”
My conclusion, rather, is that members of the liberal, mainstream press were committed to Hillary Clinton’s victory from the jump, even if Trump had declined to run. They built up Trump to the exclusion of the other candidates because they saw him as the one candidate she could beat.
The line between advocacy and journalism has blurred. Members of the press, purporting to “report facts,” now considers itself responsible for telling you what’s good for you. Here, read for yourself.
Regardless of whether their choice is correct, they have stepped outside of what ought to be their role, i.e., reporting said facts. In taking license to pick winners and losers, they rigged the system.
Wikileaks has pulled back the curtain. When this horrible election is over, perhaps some good will come out of all of this if there are reforms. But I am not betting on them. Only a fool bets on a rigged game.