Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. More than a month later, Democrats can’t accept that fact. Rather than face the reality that millions of voters rejected Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, they have embraced conspiracy theories to try to explain their loss. And in a serious threat to democracy, they are now relying on these half-baked notions to try to overturn the result.
Since the election, Democrats and liberal pundits have blamed Hillary’s defeat on a series of nefarious interventions and unjust set-ups: from FBI director James Comey’s letter to congress about new evidence regarding Clinton’s emails, to an avalanche of ‘fake news’ duping the voters, to an unfair electoral college and rigged vote counts. (In Wisconsin, a recount paid for by the Green Party’s Jill Stein, and backed by Clinton, saw Trump increase his vote tally.) The latest and maddest scheme was sparked by a Washington Post report claiming that the CIA has ‘high confidence’ that Russia hacked the Democratic Party’s emails with the aim of helping Trump to victory.
This story is far from a ‘bombshell’. But you’d never know it from the hysterical reaction. First, we don’t have the full story, and the Washington Post is basing its report on anonymous ‘senior administration officials’. There’s no new evidence. It was reported in October that Russia was suspected of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails. What’s supposedly new is the CIA’s assessment of Russia’s motives, namely that it tried to tip the scales towards Trump. But it has also been reported that America’s other intelligence agency, the FBI, rejects this conclusion, and apparently not everyone within the CIA agrees either.
With such partial and inconclusive information, a wise response would be to remain calm and investigate further. But for Democrats and their supporters, it’s plenty evidence to shriek that the election was fixed by a foreign power. For New York Times op-ed writer Paul Krugman, the election is ‘tainted’ and Trump is ‘illegitimate’. To other liberal pundits, Comey and Republicans in Congress have committed ‘treasonous acts’ by allowing Russia to get away with its hacks.
These responses might be laughed off as just the screeches of sore losers, the grown-up versions of the campus crybabies who need counselling and Safe Spaces to cope with Trump’s win. But matters have taken a more serious turn. Yesterday, former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta announced his support for a ‘special intelligence briefing’ for the electoral college ‘electors’ before they vote on 19 December. Podesta’s and the Democrats’ hope is that these 538 electors, after viewing evidence of Russian hacking, will overturn the votes of millions of Americans and install Clinton. If it ever came to pass, such a move would represent a grave threat to democracy.