Not since the 1860-61 presidential transition period has the United States endured such a frenzied and extended protest from the electoral losers. You may recall in those former circumstances, President-elect Abraham Lincoln waited in the wings while his predecessor, President James Buchanan, stoically continued his passive contemplation of the country splitting in two. South Carolina seceded from the union on Dec. 20, 1860 and by the time Lincoln finally occupied the White House the following March 4, seven states had joined the Southern Confederacy.
That’s one way to contest an election.
The Democrats have found another: instead of repudiating the president, they just want to take back the presidency.
Have you seen the latest attempt by Hollywood C-listers to reverse the democratic process and this time convince enough members of the Electoral College to not vote for President-elect Donald Trump? It’s all rather stomach-turning actually; never mind that these propped-up celebrities are not even famous for being famous – because most of them are unrecognizable no-names. But the really comical element is their insistence that they “are not asking you to vote for Hillary Clinton.” Just who does this rogue’s gallery expect the faithless electors to vote for: Jill Stein maybe or perhaps Pope Francis?
This would all be comic opera without the Russians being involved – or at least perceived to be involved and therefore somehow swinging the election for Trump.
This is how the Democratic argument is shaping up. First: the Russians are responsible for hacking Podesta’s e-mail hack – even though anyone who read the WikiLeaks installments can find the segment where Podesta carelessly falls for a phishing scheme and relinquishes his cyber privacy. Second: the Russians wanted Trump to win the election – even though it was President Barack Obama who idly stood by and watched the Russians roll through the Crimea and onto the Ukrainian border. Despite Obama exercising the vigilance of somnambulistic night-watchman, we are expected to believe that the Russians could somehow hope for an even less robust foreign policy posture from Trump. Third, and finally: the election result is invalid if either one or two of these scenarios is correct. They aren’t even expected to demonstrate that the Russians somehow influenced the election for Trump, just that they influenced the election at all and that Trump somehow benefitted.
How many times have you heard the talking point about the “17 different intelligence” agencies” confirming something about the Russians being responsible for responsible for everything from the WikiLeaks to global warming? Actually, this outrageous claim is not really so compelling in itself: if the U.S. really does have that many competing sources of intelligence-gathering, it probably has about 16 too many.
At the heart of all this political theater that is being played in deadly earnest are the never say die Clintons who have never been exactly candid about what they’re thinking, feeling or conspiring on any given day. Hillary has been described by her close political confidants as in shock, in denial, in recovery, and indisposed. But you can bet that she has actively involved in what anybody should assess as highly presumptuous political rehabilitation process.
It rather reminds you of the first exile of Napoleon. The triumphant European powers first shunted the French Emperor off to the Mediterranean island of Elba where the defeated warlord promptly regrouped, returned to France, reorganized his forces and sought revenge at the Battle of Waterloo. After finishing him off for a second time, the British didn’t let it happen again and sent Napoleon packing for the more distant and forbidding St. Helena.
Trump, demonstrating an astonishing degree of naïveté for a weathered businessman, may be regretting all the magnanimity that showered on the Clintons, insisting that they are really “good people” after all and chastising his followers for all those hateful chants of “lock her up.” Clearly, Hillary and Bill were down following this historic election but they are never so distracted for long. This aging power couple is not about to settle for any form of political exile and are making this transition period as painful, as unsettling and as corrosive as possible for the incoming administration.
Can they overturn an election by summoning a phantom image of Russian President Vladimir Putin? I’m not sure that Sen. Joe McCarthy in his red-baiting prime could have engendered enough anti-Russian passion to convince Americans that the Ruskies had stolen a presidential election.
But that won’t stop them from trying – and the Clintons are plenty trying.
Follow David on Twitter @DavidKrayden