Over the past couple of weeks, Donald Trump has ramped up complaints that the election process is rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. Many have been quick to dismiss his claims and have been acting like he’s crazy for saying as much.
On Tuesday, President Obama lashed out at the GOP nominee during a press conference at the White House, saying that Trump’s gripes are historically unprecedented and that he should stop “whining.”
“I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the election process before votes have even taken place,” he said.
Obama’s memory must be pretty short, so I’ve compiled this list to remind him — and everyone else — of eight times liberals claimed an election was or would be stolen.
1. Labor Union Leader Roseann Demoro
The national vice president of the AFL-CIO wrote an article for Salon in which she explained how the Democratic Party primary was “rigged from the start.”
She explained the debate times, media bias, and vote rigging were what kept Bernie Sanders from clinching the Democratic nomination for president. Demoro also claimed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid met with casino owners where many caucuses were being held, in order to tamper with the election process.
“The Nevada caucuses were then rigged with massive voting irregularities such as casino owners orchestrating which workers would be allowed to vote and, in clear intimidation, openly monitoring how they voted,” she wrote.
2. NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller
This New York University professor has taught several courses and authored several books claiming that George W. Bush’s presidential victories in 2000 and again in 2004 were the result of large-scale fraud.
After John Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election, Miller told Democracy Now! that the Democratic nominee said the election was stolen from him.
“[Kerry] told me he now thinks the election was stolen,” Miller said. “He says he doesn’t believe he is the person that can be out in front because of the sour grapes question. But he said he believes it was stolen.”
His book “Loser Take All: Election Fraud and The Subversion of Democracy, 2000 – 2008” explains how Republicans were going to try to steal the 2008 election away from Obama. Here’s a synopsis of the book:
Among the subjects treated here are: myth of George Bush’s victory in Florida in 2000, and FOX News’s key role in propagating it; Senator Max Cleland’s dubious defeat in Georgia in 2002; Bush’s ‘re-election’ in 2004, including evidence of systematic fraud outside of Ohio; startling evidence of fraud committed in the 2006 midterm elections, which the Democrats appear to have won by a far larger margin than officially reported; and, crucially, evidence that the Republicans will attempt to steal the presidential election in 2008.
In a PBS interview from 2008, Miller explained that voting machines can’t be trusted because the companies that make them have close ties to Republican candidates.
“The use of this kind of voting apparatus is extremely worrisome and something that we should be watching very carefully,” he said.
Amusingly, the title of his 2005 book: “Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them)” appears to have been changed to simply “Fooled Again: The Real Case For Election Reform.” The apparent change seems to imply that his fears of the elections being stolen in favor of the GOP were invalidated by Obama’s 2008 victory.
3. Vox’s Ezra Klein
In 2014, Klein wrote a piece explaining that the election process is skewed in favor of incumbent candidates. Once in office, candidates often get to have a say in where the electoral lines are drawn — which means they can gerrymander their way into staying in office.
“A new Rasmussen poll finds that 68 percent of Americans think elections are rigged in favor of incumbents,” he wrote. “And they’re basically right. . . Few congressional elections are seriously competitive. Reelection rates for incumbents tend to hover around 90 percent.”
4. Vox’s Dara Lind
Lind wrote a piece today entitled “A short history of white people rigging elections,” in which she explains how white people intimidated black people by acting violently towards them at the polls.
“Let’s be clear: Rigged elections have happened in American history,” she writes. “But the people who’ve most often rigged elections aren’t liberal elites acting in cahoots with nonwhite shock troops — they’re white supremacists trying to maintain white power in the face of a diverse electorate.”
She’s not wrong — poll taxes, “literacy tests,” and other methods were often employed to disenfranchise black people, but her assertion that it never happens in other circumstances is . . . interesting.
What’s ironic is the publication has taken strides to dismiss Trump’s claims that the election process is rigged, publishing a piece today entitled “I’m a Republican lawyer, here’s why the election can’t be rigged.”
Logan Dobbs put it best here:
5. Politico‘s Ben Wofford
In August, Wofford wrote a piece explaining how the election could be hacked in seven minutes. The piece focuses on a professor who bought an $82 voting machine and hacked with it so he could manipulate results.
“In American politics, an onlooker might observe that hacking an election has been less of a threat than a tradition,” he writes, citing Huey Long’s infamous rigging in 1932, and the 1948 “Lyndon Landslide” during which Lyndon B. Johnson “mysteriously overcame a 20,000 vote deficit in his first Senate race.”
6. Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall
In 2006, Marshall accused the Ohio secretary of State of helping to steal the 2004 election in favor of Bush. Now, he says Trump’s claims of election-rigging are “disgusting.”
Trump's wholesale effort to discredit the US election process is truly unprecedented and frankly disgusting, an assault on who we are.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 18, 2016
7. Salon’s Farhad Manjoo
“Was the New Hampshire vote stolen?” Manjoo asked of the 2008 New Hampshire primary Clinton unexpectedly won.
In recent years several factors — 1) crazily hackable voting machines, 2) generally heightened partisanship, 3) very close races, and 4) a real, honest-to-goodness purloined race (see Bush v. Gore) — have raised the paranoid in all of us. Wondering if any election outcome is honest has become a standard post-election emotion; not wondering, now that’s just crazy.
Manjoo concluded his piece by saying that even if we fixed our voting machines, it still wouldn’t make elections fair.
8. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Today, Warren chided Trump on Twitter:
It's not rigged, @realDonaldTrump. You're losing fair & square. Put on your big-boy pants because this is what accountability looks like.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 19, 2016
In 2013, however, Warren went on the Senate floor to chastise Republicans for making “naked attempts to nullify the results of the last presidential election. To force us to govern as though President Obama hadn’t won the 2012 election.” At the time, she conveniently seems to have forgotten that Republicans in Congress had also won an electoral mandate through their own re-elections. Unless she was implying Republican lawmakers’ re-elections were fraudulent despite being conducted by the same process as Obama’s re-election.
As John Gibbs wrote, voter fraud is very much a real thing. According to a 2012 Pew Charitable Trust report, roughly 18 million voter registrations are either “significantly inaccurate” or invalid — enough to tip an election. Yet somehow when Donald Trump echoes the concerns about election integrity many Americans have had for years, it’s totally insane. I guess election-rigging only matters when Democrats lose.