To hear the current caterwauling over Donald Trump’s promise to “keep us in suspense” about whether he’ll accept the results of the 2016 presidential election, you’d think Democrats had never challenged the validity of an election result before.
In truth, top Democrat leaders regularly complain about rigged systems and stolen elections to keep their followers angry. This has never been more obvious than with the 2000 election, which Democrats routinely portray as rigged, stolen, or illegitimate to this day – and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.
This isn’t about dredging up ancient history to score rhetorical points. As critics of the Democrats’ antics have pointed out over the years, they did real damage to the integrity of the U.S. political system, exactly the way Trump critics claim his statements have done – but we’re talking about over 15 years of damage here, and it wasn’t just one person making a few controversial statements.
Here are the top 5 ways Democrats have refused to accept the legitimacy of the 2000 election:
1. Al Gore’s Recounts and Lawsuits: Of course, this list could be started nowhere else. Liberal partisans are currently in the grip of a nationwide mass delusion that Gore calmly accepted the results of the agonizingly tight presidential election, then passively waited for the results of an automatic mandatory recount before making his concession final. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s true that an important difference with Trump was that Gore didn’t challenge the validity of the election in advance. (Then again, he didn’t have widespread stories of voter fraud, illegal coordination between Super PACs and political campaigns, and activists caught bragging about how they engineered political violence to mull over.)
But once that razor’s-edge election was over, Gore retracted his concession and demanded recounts of only a few specific Florida counties, not the entire state. There was a mandatory machine recount of Florida votes, but Gore refused to accept it.
Gore’s reluctance to swiftly demand a manual statewide recount, instead of just the counties where he thought friendly election officials could manufacture a victory for him, was criticized as a major strategic error by legal experts at the time.
Liberal history revisionists are hoping everyone will forget this, but Gore’s strategy involved literally conjuring votes out of thin air – he was looking for “undervotes,” claiming that ballots where no one was chosen for President would be counted as Gore votes, in the Democrat counties of Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia.
Gore dragged the entire country through an agonizing legal nightmare for over a month, causing a significant delay in the Bush Administration’s ability to get established in 2001… a year in which history, and Bill Clinton’s feckless foreign policy, would give Bush a very busy September.
Throughout this process, Gore’s constant refrain was that he wanted “every vote to be counted,” which insinuated Bush was a villain who wanted to disenfranchise people, particularly black people. In a December 2000 update on the recount drama, the New York Times reported that Gore’s team “wanted to assess the reaction from its allies and see whether an outcry, particularly by black voters, might trigger enough public concern” to sustain his refusal to concede the election.
Gore fought like mad against his election lost, pulling out every trick in the book, and he kept going even after prominent Democrats began warning him that his resistance was damaging the integrity of the American election system — several of them are quoted to that effect in the New York Times article linked above.
When Al Gore appeared at a Hillary Clinton rally in Miami just last week, he mused darkly about “what happened here in Florida” and got the desired angry result from the crowd of Democrats, which ended up chanting “You won! You won!” — accompanied by an approving nod from Hillary Clinton. Gore finished up by encouraging his audience to vote so that one day, in the years to come, they wouldn’t be welcoming Hillary Clinton onstage and saying “actually you did win, it just wasn’t close enough to make sure that the votes were counted.”
Sorry, Democrat propagandists, but Al Gore has never accepted the 2000 election as fully legitimate, not to this very day. Articles challenging the legitimacy of that election remain a staple of mainstream liberal publications.
2. The War on Katherine Harris: Think Trump was out of line for calling Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” in the third 2016 debate? That’s nothing compared to the all-out misogynist war our tolerant and sensitive liberal friends waged against Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in 2000. Her appearance, and especially her use of makeup, were relentlessly mocked. Try this on for size:
Her lips were overdrawn with berry-red lipstick — the creamy sort that smears all over a coffee cup and leaves smudges on shirt collars. Her skin had been plastered and powdered . . . . Caterpillars seemed to rise and fall with every bat of her eyelid. . . . Her mouth is a jagged edge. One of the reasons Harris is so easy to mock is because she, to be honest, seems to have applied her makeup with a trowel.
That’s not some foaming-at-the-mouth lefty blogger – that description of Harris was written by a Washington Post reporter, for the express purpose of justifying even more savage sexist attacks on Harris.
Women’s News racked up a few more of the insults directed at Harris in 2000:
A Democratic operative labeled her Cruella de Vil, the villainess of “102 Dalmatians,” and the term got repeated everywhere. The Boston Globe said maybe she was planning to unwind at a drag bar, because of all her makeup, and the Boston Herald called her a painted lady. Jay Leno called the election “tighter than Katherine Harris’ face.”
They also tried slut-shaming her by mocking the cleavage she displayed in TV appearances, to deafening silence from “feminists.”
Gore and his team attacked Harris professionally while Democrat minions were tearing her to shreds on a personal level. “Gore’s advisers have accused Harris, a Republican and a Bush supporter, of trying to hand the election to George W. Bush,” ABC News reported in November 2000.
Gore spokesman Mark Fabiani bluntly declared, “Ms. Harris’ attempt to steal this election will never stand.” How’s that for assaulting the integrity of the U.S. election system, Clinton fans?
3. Hillary Clinton Thinks Bush Was “Selected, Not Elected”: While we’re on the subject of Hillary Clinton, she’s done a lot more than just nod along with Al Gore’s “I wuz robbed” schtick.
Now, our democracy is still evolving. We had all kinds of problems in some of our past elections, as you might remember. In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state, so I mean, we have our problems too. But we have been moving to try to remedy those problems as we see them.
Her audience would have found nothing subtle about her “brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state” insinuation, given that she was speaking in Nigeria at the time.
Clinton even peddled her Bush-Gore conspiracy theories right on the stage of this year’s Democratic primary debates, when she declared, “A court took away a presidency. Now we’ve got the Republican Congress trying to take away the Constitution, and we should not tolerate that.” CNN actually fact-checked this outburst and rated it “False.”
4. The Butterfly (Ballot) Effect: One of the Democrats’ strategies for overturning the 2000 election was to claim that the “butterfly ballot” in Palm Beach County was too confusing for any reasonable person to figure out, causing many confused Gore voters to incorrectly cast their ballots for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan.
The liberal outrage machine was gearing up to portray this as an evil conspiracy to disenfranchise the befuddled Democrat voters of Palm Beach, but were brought up short by the discovery that the butterfly ballot was designed by a Democrat, elections supervisor Theresa LePore, who said she used a two-page layout so the type would be larger and easier to read. LePore nevertheless became the target of fury from Democrats in her area and was voted out of her office in 2004.
The butterfly ballot has figured in attempts to delegitimize the 2000 election ever since it was held. For example, Florida Congressman Rob Wexler declared, “I think it’s fair to say Theresa LePore’s mistake resulted in the wrong man becoming President.”
Wexler was one of several Democrat heavyweights to work for LePore’s defeat in 2004; others included Gore’s running mate Joe Lieberman and another Democrat presidential contender, Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Her opponent, Arthur Anderson, said he ran to defend “the right to have our vote count.”
5. Disenfranchised Minority Voters: Racial conspiracies have long been a mainstay of Democrat assaults on the legitimacy of the 2000 election. Among the most persistent of these beliefs is that Florida police officers used roadblocks to keep black voters away from the polls. This wasn’t just fever-swamp muttering from the far Left — Florida Governor Jeb Bush was actually brought before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to testify on the subject. Liberals ignored his testimony and continued to insist sinister forces denied minority voters in Florida their chance to elect Al Gore.
Conspiracy theories about sinister voter-roll purges abound. The butterfly ballot and Gore’s thwarted recount antics have been portrayed as racist conspiracies against blacks and Hispanics.
Liberals have often referred to Bush’s election as a “coup” over the years. Among the most energetic users of the term was Rev. Jesse Jackson. For example, he said the Supreme Court was a “willing tool of the Bush campaign,” which “orchestrated a questionable velvet legal coup.” Jackson couched this charge in racialist terms and called for “massive non-violent demonstrations” on the Martin Luther King holiday in 2001.
Jackson also called for the Justice Department to investigate the Florida vote, declaring “there is widespread disgrace across the state,” not just in the dangling-chad precincts of West Palm Beach.
“This last vote caused a crisis in the credibility of this election. This is a crisis of integrity. We the American people deserve better. We should settle for nothing less,” Jackson thundered. “Florida is the Sunshine State. This ballot came out of the Bushes.”
Al Sharpton has played this game as well. Running his own political campaign in 2003, he said that in 2000, “Bush won the election at the Supreme Court, not in the electorate, but the reason he was able to do that is because there is no Constitutional right to vote.”