Jimmy Carter: Let's face it, Trump didn't really win the election

Jimmy Carter: Let's face it, Trump didn't really win the election

On the one hand, do we really want to go into outrage mode about something a 94-year-old man had to say?

On the other hand, we do it to Bernie all the time.

This is a mild surprise, as Carter is the only living president with whom Trump has — or had, I guess — something resembling a cordial relationship. Carter sent him a letter a few months ago about negotiations with China, to which POTUS replied by dialing him up and chatting. “The President has always liked President Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter,” said the White House in a statement afterward.

I fear the Trump/Carter relationship is now doomed to return to the dreary days of 2013-14:


Unless Carter’s suggesting that Russia fiddled with the vote totals, a claim for which there’s no evidence, I don’t know what he means when he says Russian interference hasn’t yet been “quantified.” How does he propose to quantify how much John Podesta’s emails convinced fencesitters to vote Trump, particularly when there was so much other news competing for their attention — Comey reopening the Emailgate probe, Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape, etc?

I don’t think he means anything in particular, actually, beyond the very basic assertion that the election was so tight in so many swing states that *any* interference necessarily must have been decisive. That logic doesn’t bear out, but a lot lot lot of Democrats believe it.

If you want to view Trump’s presidency as illegitimate for your own partisan or ideological reasons, the Russian hackings of the DNC and Podesta are your ready-made justification. No need to get into the nuts and bolts of whether, and how, a critical mass of votes changed.

But in fairness, it’s hard to fault them sometimes. Here’s the president embarrassing himself and the country in Japan today, joking with a guy who has journalists shot in the face about the fact that he doesn’t have any “fake news” problem in Russia. (Second time this week that he’s joked about his political enemies dying, actually.) This was after he had already mocked the media’s request earlier for him to challenge Putin about interfering in the campaign in 2016. I wonder who’ll be appointed special counsel in 2021 after the next round of Russian campaign hackings.

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