“Let’s not conflate issues,” Kamala Harris scolds Savannah Guthrie, as the VP desperately attempts to avoid the real issue Joe Biden created yesterday. The NBC host of Today asked Harris a very simple question. Biden sounded a lot like Donald Trump — and Stacey Abrams and Hillary Clinton, too — in his presser yesterday when he claimed that the midterms this year “easily could be illegitimate.”
“It’s just astonishing” to hear that rhetoric from Biden, Guthrie declares, perhaps especially after hearing lectures over the past year from the administration that questioning elections is a form of insurrection. So does Harris agree that the midterms may now be considered illegitimate because Biden didn’t get his election-federalizing bill passed?
In response, Harris spews word salad to avoid the point (via Twitchy):
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 20, 2022
In case you missed it, here’s Biden’s response to the question near the end of the presser:
Joe Biden is asked by @PhilipWegmann is the 2022 election results could be illegitimate:
"I think it could easily be illegitimate" pic.twitter.com/xSlJWLNdCB
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 19, 2022
Q Thank you, sir. I just wanted to clarify: A moment ago, you were asked whether or not you believed that we would have free and fair elections in 2022 if some of these state legislatures reformed their voting protocols. You said that it depends. Do you — do you think that they would in any way be illegitimate?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yeah, I think it easily could be — be illegitimate.
Imagine — imagine if, in fact, Trump has succeeded in convincing Pence to not count the votes.
Q Well, I —
THE PRESIDENT: Imagine if —
Q In regard to 2022, sir — the midterm elections.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, 2022. I mean, imagine if those attempts to say that the count was not legit. “You have to recount it and we’re not going to count — we’re going to discard the following votes.”
I mean, sure, but — I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit. It’s — the increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed.
This is “Big Lie” territory, the exact same kind of demagoguery that Democrats spent the first week of January decrying in the anniversary of the Capitol riot. Not even a fortnight later, Biden’s plowing the same ground only in a pre-emptive effort to delegitimize the results of what appears to be a massive Republican advantage in the midterms ten months from now. It is, in fact, the very same impulse in designating any election that produces unhappy results for one’s own interests as illegitimate. It’s banana-republic territory.
It was bad when Trump indulged this. It was equally bad when Hillary Clinton indulged it, and when House Democrats indulged it for most of Trump’s presidency in the Russia-collusion social panic of 2017-19. And this is even worse, as it undermines the legitimacy of an election that hasn’t even taken place yet.
Guthrie puts Harris on the spot by trying to force her to choose between the Big Lie and responsible governance. Harris chickens out and doesn’t choose either one, and is clearly flustered by the predicament. Not only does Harris keep trying to change the subject, she fumbles her way through it so poorly that Harris makes her desperation clear. Both Harris and Biden are so far over their heads that Jacques Cousteau would have trouble finding them at this point.
Kudos to Guthrie for pushing the issue. Will other mainstream media journalists follow her example?