Today's deep thought from WaPo: Will election losses ever be accepted by ... Republicans?

Here’s a test for Hot Air’s readers, VIP level or not: Is this a headline from the Babylon Bee or the Washington Post? No fair peeking!

Surprise! That is not satire but an actual political argument from a Washington Post analyst. Well, it’s not intentional satire, anyway, but it’s all the more amusing because of it.

What prompted this cri de coeur? Matt Bevin’s request for a recanvass after his apparent loss in Kentucky:

Many people were surprised when Democrat Andy Beshear beat incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election this week by 5,000 votes, but the fact that Bevin isn’t ready to concede hasn’t shocked anyone. And that decision raises questions we ought to be prepared for in the eventuality that President Trump loses in 2020.

Citing “irregularities” but offering nothing in the way of evidence, Bevin has asked for a recanvass (in which vote totals from around the state are retabulated), which could be a prelude to a recount and ultimately to a “contest.” The most remarkable statement, however, came from the president of the Kentucky Senate, who noted that according to state law, the election could end up being decided by the state legislature, where Republicans have firm control of both houses. Which means that technically, they could just give the election to Bevin if they wanted.

Let’s recap. We’ve spent the last three years having Hillary Clinton claim her election loss was illegitimate. House Democrats spent two-plus years that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to beat Hillary, with House Intel chair Adam Schiff repeatedly (and falsely) claiming in public that he’d seen proof of it, a conspiracy theory that finally got trashed by Robert Mueller. On top of that, we’ve endured a full year of whining from Stacy Abrams over her loss in Georgia’s gubernatorial loss by a gap eleven times larger than the one in Kentucky this week, with media outlets like the Washington Post dutifully supporting her martyrdom. Let’s also not forget Hillary’s accusations of presidential contenders being “Russian assets” in that cycle and this one, too.

And it’s Republicans who have to “relearn how to accept political outcomes they don’t like”? Child, please.

A recanvass isn’t exactly a call to the barricades anyway. It’s the first step to a recount, but the 5000-vote gap is too much for either to make a difference. Recanvasses are just re-doing the math reported out of the voting precincts, which usually result in minor changes to vote counts. Recounts and ballot challenges can have somewhat larger impacts, but generally only in the hundreds, not the thousands.  At any rate, a recanvass is about as easy and mild as it gets, and it’s a completely legitimate request anyway.

What about the Kentucky legislature’s threat to give the office back to Bevin? Interestingly, state law forbids recounts for some statewide offices, including governor and lieutenant governor. The only way to correct for an election with enough irregularities to call the outcome into question is to have the legislature settle it. Republicans control the legislature, but in an election with this wide of a gap, they’re not going to intervene unless Bevin can produce some evidence of substantial misconduct leading to his loss.

In fact, contra Paul Waldman’s nonsensical argument, Kentucky Republicans are demanding that Bevin either show evidence of that now or concede defeat:

A growing number of Republican lawmakers are urging Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a fellow Republican, to either provide evidence of the voting “irregularities” he has alleged or concede Tuesday’s election to Gov.-elect Andy Beshear, who defeated him by 5,189 votes.

“The best thing to do, the right thing to do, is for Governor Bevin to concede the election today so we can move on,” said Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville. …

Although Republican lawmakers were skeptical of an election contest, many said they were fine with Bevin’s decision to request a recanvass.

“There’s nothing wrong with checking the math,” said state Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger. “Unless there is a mountain of clear, unambiguous evidence, then he should let it go.”

By Jove, that certainly looks like Republicans … accepting an election’s outcome! And, let’s be frank — many Republicans aren’t sorry to see Bevin go anyway. Donald Trump is the reason this race was as close as it was, but even his popularity in Kentucky couldn’t pull the cantankerous Bevin across the finish line. They’ll let Andy Beshear pretend he’s in charge for four years, and the GOP will find a better candidate to run in the meantime.

For today, though, this WaPo piece is a superb case of projection, or a humorous example of accidental self-satire, or both. The Babylon Bee is jealous, I’m certain.

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