I was eight years old the last time the Democrats accepted the results of a presidential election.
The year was 1988, and George H.W. Bush defeated Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. America had, for the third time, won one for the Gipper. George H.W. Bush won 40 states and 426 electoral votes, while Dukakis only won 10 states and Washington, D.C, for a total of 111 electoral votes. Bush would lose in 1992 to Bill Clinton, who also won reelection in 1996.
George W. Bush’s victory in 2000 hinged on just over 500 votes in Florida. Terry McAuliffe, who is currently running for governor of Virginia, still won’t concede that George W. Bush legitimately won that election.
Things were different in 2004, when Bush won reelection. Bush handily won Florida, but John Kerry’s advisors urged him to contest the results in Ohio over allegations of voting “irregularities” statewide. Accusations that voting machines built by Diebold had been secretly programmed to give Bush fraudulent votes persisted amongs Democrat activists and bloggers. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) filed an objection (on behalf of a group of Democrats in Congress) to the counting of Ohio’s electoral votes and sought to delay certification of the 2004 presidential election results. As recently as 2018, John Kerry said that he still believes that Bush stole the election from him.
So in 2016, when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, it wasn’t shocking that Democrats claimed the election was stolen. The narrative that Trump was a Russian asset who colluded with Russia and somehow stole the election became mainstream. The Washington Post and New York Times won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting on it. Hillary Clinton repeatedly called Trump an illegitimate president, and other prominent Democrats made similar accusations throughout his presidency. The bogus claims were used regularly to undermine his presidency.
Contesting election results has even made some Democrats famous. For example, despite losing her bid to be governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams has never conceded defeat, citing bogus allegations of voter suppression.
To this day, there are people on the left who, despite the evidence against it and all the investigations that found nothing, still believe Trump colluded with Russia and stole the 2016 election. The whole narrative was absurd on its face—true conspiracy theory territory that went mainstream because the anti-Trump media allowed it to. It gave new life to efforts to abolish the Electoral College and most certainly inspired Democrats to attempt a massive federal takeover of elections once they were in power again.
But despite reports of discrepancies and fraud in various battleground states, the questioning of election results has become taboo. Speech claiming Biden stole the election will get you banned on social media. Any suggestion that there was fraud in the 2020 election can get you labeled a conspiracy theorist. Millions of dollars were spent investigating the bogus Russia collusion narrative, but discussion about voter fraud in 2020 is forbidden. After four years of outlandish claims about Russia collusion, the new Democratic narrative was that 2020 was the most secure election in history. No investigations were necessary; just take the Democrats’ word on it. It was all on the level. Never mind the fact they’d been questioning every election they lost since 2000.
Efforts to investigate the 2020 election have been quickly ridiculed and attacked. For example, when the 2020 Maricopa County audit was released, the mainstream media lied about its findings, claiming it proved the legitimacy of Biden’s victory in the state, despite the fact that it flagged more than 50,000 votes (roughly five times Biden’s state-certified margin of victory) as potentially fraudulent. Meanwhile, anyone who questions the results of the 2020 election is deemed not only a conspiracy theorist but an enemy of democracy.
It’s funny how “democracy” somehow isn’t threatened when Democrats question the legitimacy of an election won by a Republican. After thirty years of Democrats normalizing the questioning of the legitimacy of elections, they expect Republicans to be shamed into silence about the highly questionable results of the 2020 election. Their faith in the results isn’t strong enough to withstand scrutiny, so it’s just easier to censor speech proclaiming the election was stolen and use the power of government to target those who believe the election was stolen as if they were domestic terrorists.
A recent poll found that most Americans believe that cheating affected the results of the 2020 election, so this issue won’t go away just because Democrats are trying to make questioning the results taboo. Meanwhile, 95 percent of voters believe it’s important to prevent cheating in elections.
While it is probably inevitable that the next time a Republican wins the presidency Democrats will believe the election was stolen, we must make a meaningful effort to secure elections. Americans overwhelmingly support voter ID laws. Let’s start there.