In med school some classmates and I went trick-or-treating to homes of professors. After inviting us in, one insisted we hear a recording of him telling a joke. With sound effects! Shortened and cleaned up, it went like this: Shipwreck. Captain, pretty young wife, handsome young sailor paddle to uninhabited island. Captain orders rotating watch in nearby tree. Young man goes first. Says, “One o’clock and all’s well,” looks down and says, “Stop making love down there.” Repetitively: “Two o’clock…” etc. Captain is puzzled, but when he takes his turn he says, “Six o’clock and all’s well… By golly, it does look like they’re making love down there.”
Donald Trump and his henchfolk kept saying, “Stop rigging the election down there,” and now others are saying, by golly, it does look like it was rigged. Nice one, Donald. I mean, if a person knew the election was going to be swung in his favor, how useful would it be to get the other side to think it was an illusion?
We know Russia was messing with our election and did so with the knowledge of the Trump campaign. Russia’s online propaganda influence on our political discourse is ongoing and growing. James Comey might have provided advance information to team Trump. So is it beyond imaging that the Donald and his merry band of deplorables knew the fix was in, maybe had a hand in it? Might that explain Trump’s repetitive warnings of rigging, as an attempt to inoculate himself against Democrats looking into malfeasance?
Well, sure, demands for recounts can be seen as nothing more than sour grapes or, as Donald Trump, who has the best words, described it, “Sad.” But there’s no historical precedent for the winner of electoral votes losing the popular vote by such a yuge margin. Moreover, some experts concluded there’s statistical suggestion of tampering. Indeed, even before the audit, four precincts across Wisconsin “discovered” they’d tallied more votes for Trump than the total number of people who voted. An error, they said. Same mistake in each precinct. Well, these things happen.
Recounts detect certain kinds of errors. Can they, without analyzing each machine, uncover hacking of voting software? Given their other meddling and the steady stream of revelations of coziness with the Trump campaign, is it inconceivable that Russian hackers accomplished what many have claimed, since the advent of digital voting equipment, is relatively easy? Beyond speculation, what about known rigging in plain sight, via minority-voter suppression laws produced in Red states since the Supreme Court neutered the Voting Rights Act. How much did they tilt the election? Possibly by millions of votes. More than one way to make America great, right?
So there’ll be a watered-down recount. I doubt it’ll turn up much, or that anything will change if it does. It sure would be entertaining, though. There’s not enough popcorn in all of Iowa. Nor antacids in my medicine cabinet.
Meanwhile, I’m certain we all agree: let’s stop calling Trump’s victory “the will of the people,” or a “mandate.” Because, despite Trump’s latest spectacular lie, “the people” chose Hillary Clinton by over two-and-a-half million non-suppressed votes. (Note to Donald: if you claim millions voted illegally AND call the recount “nonsense,” you should also say “oops.” And when you sue to stop the recounts, the rest of us say "hmmm...")
While awaiting the outcome, here’s a thought experiment: Imagine the official Republican reaction if a Democratic president-elect had holdings around the world and had already pressured Argentina and Turkey to make self-enriching deals? What if she’d summoned media people before a golden throne, berated their coverage of her, made implicit threats, and demanded an end to unflattering photos? Would they rage about unambiguous attacks on the First Amendment as they had about imaginary attacks on the Second? Would they call a popular vote win/electoral vote loss “the will of the people” if it were their candidate? Would they “get over it”? Ever?
Finally, predict Foxolimjonsian responses if her family-business-managing daughter sat in on the president-elect’s conversations with foreign leaders; or if she’d selected the wealthiest administration in history, including Wall Street billionaires and lobbyists, after promising to “drain the swamp.”
I know: tough assignment. Take your time. And your answers must fit on a bumper sticker.[Image source]