Not sure if this qualifies as news since Hillary Clinton has been questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 election from almost at the time she first found out the results. In a presidential debate in October 2016, Hillary declared Trump’s suggestion that he would wait for the outcome to determine whether to endorse the results “horrifying,” and that Trump was “talking down our democracy.” In a new interview with Mother Jones, Hillary apparently has no problem talking down democracy in a horrifying fashion, as long as democracy didn’t serve her ambitions:
A year after her defeat by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton says “there are lots of questions about its legitimacy” due to Russian interference and widespread voter suppression efforts.
In an interview with Mother Jones in downtown Manhattan, Clinton said Russian meddling in the election “was one of the major contributors to the outcome.” The Russians used “weaponized false information,” she said, in “a very successful disinformation campaign” that “wasn’t just influencing voters, it was determining the outcome.”
We’ll get back to “voter suppression” efforts in a moment, and even the Russian influence via the Internet, which is what Hillary blames in this interview. Let’s cast our memories back thirteen months when Hillary clearly expected to win the election, on how she viewed Trump’s contention that accepting election results was contingent on the outcome:
CLINTON: Well, Chris, let me respond to that, because that’s horrifying. You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him. …
CLINTON: So that is not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around for 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election. You know, President Obama said the other day when you’re whining before the game is even finished…
WALLACE: Hold on. Hold on, folks. Hold on, folks.
CLINTON: … it just shows you’re not up to doing the job. And let’s — you know, let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating — he’s talking down our democracy. And I, for one, am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of position.
And now … today, as CNN’s Brian Stelter notes:
"Do you think it was a LEGITIMATE election?" Clinton: "I think there are lots of questions about its legitimacy, and we don't have a method for contesting that in our system. That's why I've long advocated for an independent commission to get to the bottom of what happened." https://t.co/XAEsK2V2wc
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 17, 2017
I guess this just shows that Hillary wasn’t “up to doing the job” after all, eh?
There are two major thrusts to Hillary’s argument. First, Russian propaganda distorted the electorate, which has been often alleged but with very, very little proof. Estimates of Russian investment in propaganda on Facebook and Twitter range between $100,000 -$200,000 … for an election in which the campaigns and their allied PACs spent close to $1,000,000,000 on advertising. Hillary’s own long-time pollster laughed off that claim a month ago, noting that most of the Russian spending on Facebook didn’t even address the election, and nearly half of it came after the election.
Next, Hillary brings up her “voter suppression” argument:
Republican efforts to make it harder to vote, through measures such as voter ID laws, shortened early voting periods, and new obstacles to registration, likewise “contributed to the outcome,” Clinton said. These moves received far less attention than Russian interference but arguably had a more demonstrable impact on the election result. According to an MIT study, more than 1 million people did not vote in 2016 because they encountered problems registering or at the polls. Clinton lost the election by a total of 78,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
“In a couple of places, most notably Wisconsin, I think it had a dramatic impact on the outcome,” Clinton said of voter suppression.
First off, Wisconsin’s voter-ID laws are identical to those in dozens of states. The idea that they created a hostile environment for Democrats ignores the fact that Democrats lost several elections over the last few years in Wisconsin long before that law went into effect. Besides, Team Hillary had plenty of time to plan for that environment and plenty of money to build a GOTV effort to compete within it. Instead, Hillary Clinton ignored Wisconsin in the general election, as well as Michigan and Pennsylvania to a large extent.
Barack Obama spent his time and money in these states building a well-designed GOTV effort, while Hillary’s campaign relied on a remote-control campaign, a TV advertising blitz, and a state party that had proven ineffective over the last few years. He managed to win in all three states even as they turned more Republican in local and state elections. Team Hillary took them for granted, and the GOTV numbers reflected it. That has nothing to do with voter-ID or Russian influence — and it has everything to do with the candidate herself.
Finally, let’s remember one thing in particular. Despite the obsession we have had with Russian propaganda influence in the previous election cycle, no one has produced a shred of evidence that the mechanisms of the election were compromised in any way whatsoever. The ballots got cast and counted in an effective and verifiable manner, as recounts in all three of the states Hillary cites proved. Hillary may complain about the electorate, but the election itself was completely legitimate.
Hillary’s only whining because the game is finished … and she lost.