Donald Trump has consistently challenged our freedom of elections and voting.
Throughout his campaign, which he won by the way, Trump has consistently challenged most aspects of the election system, when he thought that he might lose something. (This seems to be a part of his personality, also called whining, and learned at an early age.) The latest challenge is a series of insults both by him and his spokesperson Kellyanne Conway to Hillary Clinton based on Jill Stein’s crowd funded recount effort for the three closest states, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In these three states, the excess for Trump out of total votes is, respectively, 0.93%, 0.22%, and 1.14%. State law regulates elections, and provides for either mandatory recounts, or candidate funded recounts. Trump is actually insulting each states’ rights to conduct their own elections, the most fundamental basis for democracy.
When Trump first said that he might not accept the Presidential election results, he implied that there was some sinister conspiracy going on. Later, his campaign had him soften this to only meaning that he might want a recount. Now, he is opposing the recount, which he was all in favor of before. You can be sure that he, or his campaign, or the Republican party will supply their best lawyers to also monitor the recount.
In practice, the recount will work to Trump’s advantage, as have most things that he has opposed (or whined about). Since the results of those states seem to be at odds with pre-election polls, and districts with machines versus paper ballots, the re-affirmation of the initial count will only remove any doubt about the legitimacy of Trump’s election (and Trump did not have to pay for it). Again, in practice, Clinton would need 38 more electoral votes to win, requiring reversals in all three states, which is highly, highly unlikely. If there are any errors in any state, the odds are 50-50 that they could even increase Trump’s winning margin.
Now, back to the situations in which Trump challenged the freedom of the people to conduct their own elections. Remember when Trump was claiming that the Republican primaries were fixed? It turned out that they were fixed to providing a victory for the candidate who was only getting a plurality, in order to complete the process a month earlier than the Democrats’ proportional voting method. About 80% of the Republican’s primaries were conducted by winner-take-all or winner-take-most primaries, which are far from democratic. Such primaries also led to the lack of funding during the last month for his rivals Gov. Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz, who dropped out, and allowed Trump to complete Super Tuesday unchallenged.
Then, Trump was complaining that the electoral system was fixed against his campaign. Some version of the electoral vote has been present in our system since the founding of the nation. It is an essential expression of states’ rights, which is most strongly supported by the Republican party. It turns out that he won the election because of the electoral system, while losing the popular vote. (I have argued in an earlier post, that if the election was based on the popular vote, we don’t know who would have won, since the whole campaign, and probably the primaries, would have been different.)
The campaign was really fixed by the Russian hacking of the DNC, the DCCC, and John Podesta’s computer, which Trump never condemned, but should have, since they were a foreign attempt to influence our election in Trump’s favor. Instead, Trump used the illegally obtained information to his maximum advantage.
Then there was the 11 day early, unprofessional, and probably illegal violation of due process, by FBI director Comey, in saying that they may have found more of Clinton’s emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer. Trump and his spokespersons made the biggest deal out of this, again violating due process, and applauding the FBI director’s violation of due process. When the Director reported a day before the election that there was nothing new there, Trump asserted the challenge that the emails could not possibly have been read so fast, implying that the Director was lying. Trump promised yet another investigation.
Then, unheard of in a US election, Trump promised to pursue his opponent Clinton until she was jailed. Only the world’s dictators resort to such tactics.
For a day or two, Trump expressed sympathy for Clinton, but never implied that she was innocent. Now he is insulting her again for Jill Stein’s exercising her rights under state laws.
Trump also violated norms to guarantee an informed election by refusing to show his income taxes, and a real health assessment. He did finally admit and even bragged about not paying any federal income taxes.
After implying during the election that he would separate his 524 business associates from his job as President to avoid conflicts of interest, he now says that he doesn’t need to, and that the voters knew this all along, and okayed it by electing him.
It’s not that I want to gain some revenge against Trump for winning that I write this, it is a warning that as President, Trump will continue to subvert our freedom of elections and voting in all ways possible to guarantee his re-election and the election of his henchmen.