If you’ve paid any attention to the news in the last couple months one of the recurring complaints made by progressives about Donald Trump is that he is constantly saying the system is “rigged.” Those claims have spawned innumerable pieces, like this one at CNN, warning how dangerous this sort of talk is:
“Remember, we are competing in a rigged election,” Trump said at a Wisconsin rally Monday night. “They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common.”
His accusations alone, experts say, could inflict long-standing damage on the US political system itself by eroding trust in the probity of the electoral process.
But the Washington Free Beacon has outdone itself with this clever “supercut” featuring a host of top-tier Democrats explaining that…wait for it…the system is rigged:
What’s brilliant about this clip is that it cleverly indicts the media without a word of additional commentary. Because the fact is that progressives like Elizabeth Warren have been arguing for years that “the system is rigged” and we rarely if ever hear a peep of protest about it from the press. Case in point, here’s an exasperated Warren talking about this theme in an interview with the Boston Globe from September 2015:
Warren even said this week that she agrees with Trump that the system is rigged, though of course she means something different. “He’s right. The game is rigged. It’s rigged for the Donald Trumps and billionaires of the world, and we’re here to fight back!” Warren said. And, as the Free Beacon clip shows, socialist Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have all echoed this language.
In fact, it’s fair to say that between Occupy Wall Street, the Piketty boom, the attacks on Mitt Romney and “vampire capitalism” we’ve had five solid years of progressives insisting the system is rigged. And it has an impact. It’s talk like this that results in 43% of Democratic primary voters saying they are fans of socialism and 56% saying the government is in the best position to run the economy (52% would support nationalizing major industries).
Where has the media been all this time? Why haven’t they scolded Democrats for language that is intended to destroy people’s belief in the reliability of our economic system?
It’s fair to argue that Trump’s harping on a rigged election is corrosive of our civic institutions. But it’s also fair to say that Democrats constantly saying our economy is a rigged system designed solely to benefit billionaires is just as corrosive of civic trust in important institutions. The fact that so few journalists seem to have noticed the parallel tells you more about journalists than it does about whether or not endless attacks on capitalism are a good idea.