The American people have heard the expression countless times since January 6: The ‘conspiracy theories’ that assert the 2020 election was anything but ‘the most secure election in history’ is a danger to democracy.
But if not believing in the legitimacy of an election is the litmus test for being destabilizing to “democracy,” then so-called Democrats have posed the most danger for years.
According to a new poll, more Americans believe that Biden’s record-shattering 81 million votes in 2020 was the result of a legitimate election than those who believe Donald Trump’s Russia-collusion-free 2016 election was on the level.
“Despite media concerns about the state of democracy, more Americans today believe that President Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election is legitimate than the number of Americans who said the same about former President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory when asked in 2017,” Fox News reported.
“Sixty-nine percent of Americans believe Biden’s 2020 win was the legitimate election result compared to 29% who say the president’s win was illegitimate, according to the results of a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll released Saturday,” the report noted.
The report goes on to note, correctly, that more Americans refused to believe Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was legitimate due to the often-repeated “big lie” that Russia colluded with him to steal the election.
“But while many Americans believe Biden is an illegitimate president, the same poll conducted four years earlier found that more Americans believed Trump was not legitimately elected,” the report went on. “That poll showed that 57% of Americans believed Trump was legitimately elected, while 42% said he was illegitimately elected.”
This is a difference of thirteen points for the same poll taken four years later. Amazing.
“Questions surrounding the legitimacy of Trump’s victory largely stemmed from claims that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to steal the election, though Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into the allegations found no evidence the campaign ‘conspired or coordinated’ with Russia,” the report noted.
“Despite the later finding that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia, the story dominated much of the first half of Trump’s time in office,” the report added. “According to one Harvard analysis of media coverage during the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, 9% of all coverage was devoted to the Russia collusion story.”
Hillary Clinton had played a key role pushing the Russia collusion conspiracy theory that undermined President Trump’s legitimacy before the riots at his 2017 inauguration and throughout his administration.
“Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the hacking attacks carried out by Russia against her campaign and the Democratic National Committee were intended ‘to undermine our democracy’ and were ordered by Vladimir V. Putin ‘because he has a personal beef against me,'” the New York Times reported in December 2016, one month following Clinton’s concession to Donald Trump.
“Make no mistake, as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign,” Mrs. Clinton told her donors in a Manhattan speech. “This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”
This is the same ‘air tight’ reasoning that the Democrats are using to accused Donald Trump for playing a role in the January 6th uprising by denying that the election was ‘on the level.’ It also known as the ‘propter hoc‘ fallacy of reasoning, which erroneously argues that because one event follows another event, it was caused by the prior event.
Hillary Clinton’s remarks casting doubt on the 2016 election results due to Russian ‘hackers’ is no different in essence than the claims that the 2020 election results were “stolen,” as Donald Trump remarked.
There were riots at the 2017 Trump inauguration that bear remarkable similarities to the 2020 capitol uprising. In 2016, a number of Democrats disputed the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election in the House of Representatives. As NPR reported:
More than half a dozen members rose at different points to object to the results of the election, citing Russian hacking, the legitimacy of the election and electors, voting machines, voter suppression and more.
House members would shout down future president Joe Biden eleven times as he attempted to restore order.
“The electors were not lawfully certified, especially given the confirmed and illegal activities engaged by the government of Russia,” claimed Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, the future impeachment manager presiding over the Democrat-led House’s impeachment case of Donald Trump, would himself present an objection.
“They violated Florida’s prohibition against dual office holders,” Raskin argued. Not a single senator agreed with him that there were any merits to his election objection.
“People are horrified by the overwhelming evidence of Russian interference in our election,” argued Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. The House would have to shut off her microphone to get her to stop arguing.
Rep. Raul Grijalva objected that North Carolina’s results purportedly violated the Voting Rights Act. Again, denied as baseless. Not one Senator would agree.
Sheila Jackson Lee objected again, this time for South Carolina. She was denied again. They also had to cut off her microphone, again. She then objected to Wisconsin’s election results, claiming Russian interference in the election. The widespread claim Trump colluded with Russia to “rig” the election was later debunked, including by the Mueller report.
Rep. Maxine Waters, who has persistently sought to impeach Donald Trump since the early days of his administration, would also object to the 2016 election results.
“I wish to ask: Is there one United States senator who will join me in this letter of objection?” Waters asked. Not one senator would concur.
At one point, at least three protesters began yelling from inside the visitor’s gallery, disrupting the certification of Donald Trump’s election.
“It is over,” Biden had said at one point. It wasn’t for Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton had fueled distrust of the presidential election results prior to the leaked audio obtained by the New York Times in December 2016. In the remarks, alluded to above, she blamed the Russians for her loss. But it was not the only thing that she blamed for losing the 2016 election: She also blamed the FBI.
In November 2016, Clinton had also undermined the legitimacy of the election. As reported by the New York Times:
In her most extensive remarks since she conceded the race to Donald J. Trump early Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton told donors on a 30-minute conference call that Mr. Comey’s decision to send a letter to Congress about the inquiry 11 days before Election Day had thrust the controversy back into the news and had prevented her from ending the campaign with an optimistic closing argument.
“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Mrs. Clinton said, adding “our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”
The impression that the FBI would use a “baseless” investigation to harm her campaign was one left lingering in many of her aggrieved voters’ minds.
The Clinton legal team also cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2016 election. As NPR reported separately about a sit-down interview between key members of the Trump and Clinton campaigns:
“The Clinton team also blamed FBI Director James Comey’s two letters in the final days of the campaign about the investigation into Clinton’s email server, as well as Russian-linked hacking of the Democratic National Committee and campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal Gmail account.”
Hillary Clinton had done more than cast doubt on Trump’s legitimacy with her words. She had a strong hand in the funding and development of the infamous Steele dossier, which was published by Buzzfeed on January 10th, 2017, ten days prior to the Trump inauguration riots. The dossier would make “explosive — but unverified — allegations that the Russian government has been ‘cultivating, supporting and assisting’ President-elect Donald Trump.”
These dangerous unfounded allegations undermining the legitimacy of Trump’s election, later proven to be entirely without merit, were never labeled or censored as potential disinformation by social media platforms, despite their origins as political opposition research. They were boosted relentlessly on mainstream news reports, legacy publications, and in the digital space.
This only fanned the flames of dissent in the Democrat base. The damage to the country from such reckless non-journalism continues to this very day. One week after the election, a poll was published on views about the “legitimacy” of Trump’s election:
A strong majority of Americans accept Donald Trump as the winner of the presidential election last week, but a significant minority of Hillary Clinton supporters say his victory was illegitimate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey was conducted immediately after Election Day as anti-Trump protests sprang up across major cities…
“A 58 percent majority of Clinton supporters say they accept Trump’s election, while 33 percent do not. Questions about Trump’s victory are passionate — 27 percent of Clinton supporters feel ‘strongly’ he did not win legitimately,” the poll said.
Fact-free reportage would continue to fuel the views of a majority of young adults that the 2016 election results were illegitimate. As was reported by the Associated Press in March 2017:
A majority of young adults — 57 percent — see Trump’s presidency as illegitimate, including about three-quarters of blacks and large majorities of Latinos and Asians, the GenForward poll found.
The predictable result was that the January 20th inauguration of Donald Trump would be a tinderbox, ready only for a match strike to burst into full conflagration. And that is exactly what happened.
NBC News reported at the time that “several police officers were injured” in the post-election chaos. And as the left-wing Guardian reported:
More than 200 protesters were arrested on Friday as police used pepper spray and stun grenades to suppress a series of small, violent confrontations before and after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Thousands of protesters from numerous groups descended on Washington DC for mostly peaceful protest throughout inauguration day, in a sign of the dissent and discord Trump’s divisive presidential campaign produced.
Shortly after Trump was sworn in, violent protests broke out in the downtown area close to the north lawn of the White House and just blocks from the pathway of the inaugural parade. A few dozen protesters, clad in black, threw projectiles at police and barricaded the road with newspaper kiosks and bins, which they later set fire to. The group were quickly surrounded by police in riot gear who used sting-ball grenades and pepper spray, police said, after a black limousine was set on fire.
Again, let us cite the Guardian report, so there can be no sense that the record is being distorted in hindsight:
Before the swearing-in ceremony took place activists from the anarchist group known as the black bloc smashed storefront windows and cars as they clashed with police. Officers in riot gear had again responded with pepper spray and sting-ball grenades, according to police, as the breakaway protesters were overwhelmed with force less than two miles from the US Capitol.
The group of about 200 people, many wearing black hoodies and masks, were eventually contained in a police cordon as they chanted: “This is what a police state looks like” and “You’re protecting fascists”.
The U.S. Attorney’s office sought to charge hundreds in the 2017 Capitol uprising as participating in a “black bloc riot.”
Over 200 rioters — a number similar to the 249 protesters criminally charged in the capitol uprising in 2021 — would be arrested in the aftermath of the Trump inauguration protests. The 2017 protests occurred with over 5,000 National Guard troops in the nation’s capitol, and hundreds of police officers from around the country.
“President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day was marred by noisy demonstrations, shoving matches and sporadic clashes with cops that resulted in more than 200 arrests,” NBC News reported at the time.
All of the charges against the 2017 rioters were subsequently dropped. Criminal proceedings against the 2021 rioters continue to this day.
Hillary Clinton would go on to escalate her rhetoric disputing the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election. In September 2017, in an interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, she even declined to rule out contesting the 2016 election, based on the upcoming evidence provided in the Mueller report.
“I want to get back to the question, would you completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?” Gross asked.
“No. I would not. I would say…” she responded.
“You’re not going to rule it out,” Gross followed up.
“No, I wouldn’t rule it out,” Clinton said.
Remarkably, Clinton lamented the lack of a “mechanism” to hypothetically challenge the 2016 election results, but also cast aspersions about the overturned Kenyan election, which the Supreme Court reversed following alleged voting irregularities. She called the Kenya election a “project of Cambridge Analytica, the data company owned by the Mercer family that was instrumental in the Brexit vote.”
In 2019, she claimed outright the election was “stolen.” She warned Democrats, “you can have the election stolen from you.”
“Hillary Clinton says she has been telling candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination that even if they run a perfect campaign, the election could be ‘stolen’ from them, implying that was what befell her in 2016,” the USA Today reported.
“You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you,” she claimed.
In September 2019, she outright called Trump an “illegitimate president.” The Washington Post reported in September 2019:
Hillary Clinton dismissed President Trump as an “illegitimate president” and suggested that “he knows” that he stole the 2016 presidential election in a CBS News interview to be aired Sunday.
“No, it doesn’t kill me because he knows he’s an illegitimate president,” she said. “I believe he understands that the many varying tactics they used, from voter suppression and voter purging to hacking to the false stories — he knows that — there were just a bunch of different reasons why the election turned out like it did.”
In October 2020, Hillary Clinton had still not abandoned her contentions that the 2016 election was not “on the level.”
“Hillary Clinton is sticking with her conviction that the 2016 presidential election was not conducted legitimately, saying the details surrounding her loss are still unclear,” National Review remarked.
“There was a widespread understanding that this election was not on the level,” she said during an interview for The Ticket podcast. “We still don’t know what really happened.”
What is actually not “on the level” are the accusations against Trump supporters as being “dangerous to democracy” because they disagree with the way the 2020 election was run in several states. If that is the case, then Democrats are even more dangerous for doubting Trump’s election and for viciously undermining his presidency for four years.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.