Nearly half of Democrats think the 2016 presidential election was “rigged,” according to a new poll released this week by YouGov. The poll found that a whopping 42 percent of Democrats believe the election was rigged. Only 58 percent of Democrats responded that Donald Trump was “legitimately” elected on Nov. 8.
The Democratic belief that the 2016 presidential election was rigged in President-elect Donald Trump’s favor is especially ironic given the myriad attacks on Trump for suggesting that voter fraud could potentially swing an election. Just weeks before the election the Washington Post‘s Philip Bump declared in the headline of one of his articles that Trump’s “voter fraud claims are ridiculous.” Vox claimed that Trump’s voter fraud claims were “baseless” and “based on a lie.”
The New York Times editorial board even spent an entire column lambasting Trump for questioning the legitimacy of U.S. elections:
It may be too late for the Republican Party to save itself from the rolling disaster of Donald Trump, but the party’s top leaders still have the duty to speak out and help save the country from his reckless rhetoric. The most frightening example is Mr. Trump’s frenzied claim that the presidential election is being “rigged” against him — a claim he has ramped up as his chances of winning the presidency have gone down.
Instead of disavowing this absurdity outright, Republican leaders sit by in spineless silence. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, are the two most powerful Republicans in the country and should be willing to put the national interest above their own. Both know full well that there is no “rigging,” and yet between them they have managed one tepid response to Mr. Trump’s outrageous accusations: “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results,” Mr. Ryan’s spokeswoman said, “and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”
This is like standing back while an arsonist pours gasoline all over your house, then expressing confidence that the fire department will get there in time.
And then there’s Salon, which breathlessly claimed in October that “Donald Trump’s ‘rigged election’ lie is working: 73 percent of GOP voters think election could be stolen.”
“Trump’s dangerous rhetoric is taking his supporters into dangerous territory,” Salon’s Sophia Tesfaye wrote.
My, how things have changed. Now that Donald Trump has been duly elected as the 45th president of the United States, claims of election rigging just aren’t as nutty. Within the Democratic party, election truthing is officially mainstream. But that’s not all. Refusing to accept the legitimacy of the president is also back in style. According to YouGov, a majority of Democrats refused to accept Trump as the legitimate president: 43 percent said they would, 40 percent said they would not, and 17 percent said they weren’t sure.
While conspiracy theories about election rigging may be commonplace among Democrats, the vast majority of Americans think the votes cast this year were accurately counted. Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said that Trump was “legitimately elected.” Eighty-two percent of Independents and 92 percent of Republicans responded that Trump was legitimately elected.
The YouGov poll, which was conducted from Nov. 11 through Nov. 14, surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults.