National Commentary

An Illegitimate President-Elect

nfbenton-mugWill the outrages involved in the heavily-tainted November 2016 U.S. presidential election never cease?

Just the latest, coming one day before the official tally of the final vote gave loser Hillary Clinton almost three million more votes than winner Donald Trump, involved something of the extent of the atrocity that James Comey, the head of the FBI, perpetrated barely a week before the election in what many observers feel turned the tide away from a Clinton landslide into a stunning defeat.

Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), California attorney E. Randol Schoenberg obtained this week access to the warrant that the FBI filed to gain access to e-mails on a computer belonging to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner between Weiner and his now-estranged wife, close Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Comey crashed the election on Oct. 28, just 12 days before election day, with a bombshell announcement that the FBI was resuming its probe of Clinton’s emails, which he’d concluded months earlier to have found nothing worthy of charges.

But the FBI’s request for a warrant was not obtained until two days after Comey’s announcement, meaning that he and the agency had no evidence there was anything in the e-mails to justify the explosive impact that Comey’s announcement had on the election.

Needless to say, the Trump campaign sprung on the announcement with a blistering barrage of national TV ads accusing Clinton of the very worst. What had been moving toward a Clinton landslide was suddenly upended and Trump given a new life that eclipsed the earlier revelations about his self-admitted sexual assaults of beauty pageant participants and the CIA’s public announcement that the Russians were actively interfering in the election to the benefit of Trump.

So, this was not a legitimate election, and nothing will change that fact. What U.S. officials do about it is an entirely different matter, but it was a tainted process and the fact both the Clinton and Trump camps, the pollsters and the media all went into election day thinking it was going to be a Clinton landslide is crucial evidence of that fact.

The inestimable damage that was caused by Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s failure to demand a firm resolution to the outcome of the 2000 election, where he also won the popular vote but conceded when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to stop recounting ballots in Florida.

The many hundreds of thousands of lives lost due to the unprovoked U.S. invasion of Iraq under the direction of Gore’s opponent and the subsequent veritable tanking of the U.S. economy – both effects that are still with us – owe their cause to a refusal of a “loyal opposition” to demand fairness and justice.

So now, this is also repeating itself. The American public is ready for a much more robust reaction to the tainted November election, but they’re hamstrung when it has no effective leadership on that score.

Laying down and accepting defeat, it is said, is done in the national interest. But just as in December 2000, we at this point have no clue just how catastrophic such a concession will be for the American people or those anywhere on the globe.

In all that has transpired since election day last month, nothing has happened to cause one to conclude that we’re in store for anything less than a global “worst case scenario” over the next period.

Frightened friends have said stupid things like, “We survived the Civil War, didn’t we?” Who is the “we” he is talking about? A half-million American lives were lost in the bloody battles of a war that our sworn adversaries precipitated in the name of the perpetuation of slavery. Cholera and tuberculosis plagued surviving soldiers and their families for decades after that.

It is not that far off to suggest the election of 2016 was an attempted replay of the Civil War, with the South rising up behind its modern day Jeff Davis. Seeing Trump on his “thank you” rallies tour reminds us of the truly deplorable values of the white voters who got him elected – but not without help from friends.