Cokie Roberts on the radio the other day was explaining how irresponsible it is to impugn the integrity of the election process. It calls into question the legitimacy of whoever wins, you see. Recalling eight years of “President Select Bush,” this seemed a bit much. So I ask, to what extent is the election rigged?
Well, to what extent does it need to be? It’s not like anyone has thousands of phoney ballots to print up and then stuff into ballot boxes across the country. No vote in my county is going to have any effect on who gets my states’ electoral votes. We’re swamped by the voters in a handful of heavily populated counties.
There are only two or three key states that could go either way. Skew things just a bit in Florida, maybe by double-counting some absentee ballots and “losing” some others. Arrange a bit of electronic manipulation in Ohio; a delay here and there; an “accidental” release of results, or a “mistaken” early report of polling data calculated to increase turn-out in one place, or suppress it in another. At ninety-nine percent of the polling places across the country, no rigging would be necessary.
As to the ethics of the whole business, we saw what Democrats were willing to do to stop Mitt Romney and John McCain. What would be off the table if they were trying to stop Hitler? The theory is that integrity is maintained by Democrats watching Republicans, and vice versa. But how hard is the Republican Party going to fight for Donald Trump? Everybody knows the leaders would rather have Clinton, pro forma endorsements notwithstanding. They don’t need to collude in the rigging, not that they’re above that. All they need to do is fight weakly and ineffectively. Republicans are masters at fighting weakly and ineffectively.
So, I think the election is rigged in favor of Secretary Clinton, just like the Democratic primary was. I don’t think it’s rigged enough to overcome a landslide, but probably enough to give Secretary Clinton a point or two advantage. From a utilitarian point of view, a Clinton victory might not even be the worst outcome. If the country is going to continue its trip to perdition, I’d as soon have the handbasket carried by a Democrat.