Democrats are aghast that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would declare our election system “rigged,” and that he declined to state in the third presidential debate whether he would accept the result if he loses in November.
Trump is both wrong, and right, about the “rigged” nature of the system: in a fair system, Hillary Clinton would certainly not be her party’s candidate.
Regardless, Democrats — including Hillary Clinton — seem to have forgotten their own history of claiming elections are “rigged.”
1. 2000: Al Gore and the Florida recount. Yes, Gore eventually accepted the result — but only after withdrawing his concession, trying to have the vote recounted only in Democrat-heavy Florida counties, and suing to stop ballots from being recounted. Even after a consortium of media outlets concluded that George W. Bush had indeed won more votes in Florida, Democrats continued to claim the election had been “stolen” by the Supreme Court and Bush was an illegitimate president.
2. 2004: John Kerry and “rigged” machines. While Kerry conceded the election, he and his running mate continued to believe afterwards that the election had been stolen from them, possibly by voting machines. Elizabeth Edwards said in 2007 that she had been “very disappointed” in Kerry’s decision to concede the election. And last year the New Yorker reported that Kerry believed “proxies for Bush had rigged many voting machines” in Ohio, and that he may in fact have won the election.
3. 2008: John Podesta and Obama’s voter fraud. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out recently, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have suggested that voter ID laws are a way of rigging elections against black people. And while they downplay fears of voter fraud, Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta reported internally (via Wikileaks) in 2015 that Clinton operatives believed that “the Obama forces flooded the caucuses with ineligible voters” to win the primary.
4. 2014: Congress and a “rigged” district system. Thanks to the Tea Party wave election in 2010 in response to Obamacare, Republicans were left in charge of many state legislatures as they redrew congressional district boundaries. Except in a few states — such as Illinois, where Democrats drew several Republicans out of their seats — that meant Republicans held the advantage in the House. As a result, Democrats complained bitterly that congressional elections were “rigged” against them.
5. 2016: Bernie Sanders and a “rigged” primary. Sanders uses the word “rigged” often to describe the economic system. But in 2016, the Democratic Party primary was rigged against him in a political sense — both openly, in the party’s anti-democratic super delegate system, and secretly, through collusion between party officials and the Clinton campaign. Sanders supporters protested at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia against what they called a “rigged” election.
Hillary Clinton herself has made at least one similar claim. National Review — which officially opposed Trump earlier this year — points out that Clinton told a private fundraiser in 2002 that George W. Bush had been “selected,” not “elected.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.