Saturday, October 29, 2016

More on the Same

Let's face it.  This has been a bad news cycle for Hillary.  Large increases in Obamacare premiums, embarrassing Wikileaks revelations and the latest FBI bombshell are all combining to hurt her.  Actually, the latest bombshell is starting to look more like a rather small firecracker, but the initial headlines created the impression of a bombshell, and initial impressions are not so easily erased.  Nate Silver clearly shows her lead declining, with Arizona, Iowa and Ohio moving back into Trump territory.  North Carolina, Nevada and Florida leaning toward Clinton at least for now, but reversal a very real possibility.  That being said, Hillary could lose all those states and still retain a razor-thin majority in the Electoral College.  The next-most contested states are Pennsylvania and Colorado,  with a Trump victory in either state looking most unlikely.

But a razor-thin victory in the Electoral College opens the door to greater mischief than a wider one. Trump might cite the example of Al Gore and demand a recount in whichever state goes for Clinton by the narrowest margin, even though there are no grounds whatever for such a recount, in hopes of delaying the outcome long enough to deny her a majority of electoral votes when they are counted and throw the Election into the House.  Or, if Republicans retain a majority in both houses of Congress, he may seek to persuade them to reject the votes of the state that Hillary won by the narrowest margin and, again, throw the election into the House.

I am not saying he will do either of these things. Just for what it is worth, I find the latter scenario most unlikely and the former possible but unlikely to be successful.  But the point in either case will not be to win the election, but to cast doubts on the legitimacy of the outcome and to convince his followers that they have been cheated of their due.

And, as many have observed, refusal to accept the legitimacy of an election outcome does more than anything else to undermine our democracy.

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