Despite what Democrats would have the nation believe, contested elections are not merely a 2020 anomaly performed only by disgruntled supporters of former President Donald Trump. The role of election denier is one they favor anytime one of their own is facing defeat at the ballot box, and such denial is still fertile ground for Democrats facing a likely midterm voting disaster – so can Americans expect a November revival of this tactic?
A Rasmussen poll from April of this year suggests the party currently in power might well resort to crying foul, should it fail to retain control of the House of Representatives. If it were to also lose its razor-thin Senate majority – sustained only by the deciding vote of Kamala Harris – the left-wing media is all but certain to amplify Democrat assertions of “voter suppression” and “Russian interference.” The said survey found that 72% of Democrat voters still think Russian meddling altered the outcome of the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. Polls conducted by YouGov and Gallup produced similar results. Additionally, 53% of Democrats say it is “very likely” that Moscow will try to sway the results of the 2022 midterms.
Those who strongly approve of the job Joe Biden is doing as president are most likely to anticipate Russia putting its thumb on the scale as the November elections approach. Fully 75% of them think Russia’s intervention is “very likely.”
The Recent History of the Election Denier
One need not look very far back to reflect upon examples of Democrats taking up this mantle. Supporters of former Vice President Al Gore (D) – along with the 2000 presidential candidate himself – famously and frequently claimed that year’s White House contest was “stolen.” To this day, a great many Democrat voters – perhaps even most of them – who cast ballots in that election would likely maintain the result was not fair or even legitimate. Then-Senator Joe Biden was also an election denier, according to a July 2021 report from The Western Journal:
“Newly unearthed comments show that Joe Biden declared in 2013 that former Democratic nominee Al Gore had won the 2000 presidential election and had chosen to be the bigger man by walking away from a victory that had been stolen from him.”
Democrats in Congress attempted to prevent the certification of Electoral College votes in 2001 after George W. Bush won the presidency, in 2005 after he was re-elected, and in 2017 following Trump’s 2016 victory. In the first two cases, voter suppression and/or compromised voting machines were cited by the losers as reasons to dispute the results and, as everyone remembers only too well, the excuse for the third was Russian interference.
Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams refused to concede to Republican Brian Kemp after his 2018 victory in Georgia’s gubernatorial race. She claimed voter suppression and has continued to repeat the allegation ever since.
Most recently, after Republican Rep. Mayra Flores in June won a special election for Texas’ 34th congressional district, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) told supporters at a campaign event, “[Republicans] stole that last election.”
Documented examples of Democrats playing election denier abound – mostly in connection with the 2016 contest. Numerous party officials and members of previous Democrat administrations have said Trump’s presidency was “illegitimate.” Even former President Jimmy Carter declared the 45th president only got elected “because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”
And, of course, current White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has previously asserted on Twitter that both the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 race for governor of Georgia were “stolen.”
A Function of Democracy
Is it so bad that Democrats have frequently claimed elections they lost were rigged against them? Is it a crime that Trump and his supporters think the 2020 election was stolen? In both instances, no. The question is always what one can prove – but challenging the outcomes should be considered integral to the democratic process. In truth, if disputing an election result is deemed tantamount to treason – and those who do it are labeled extremists or insurrectionists – then democracy itself has become a joke. For if no-one can query the integrity of an election, then whichever party is in control could, in fact, rig any and every election they choose. Whether they do or not is immaterial; when the official vote tallies are shielded from doubters by the threat of criminal justice proceedings, then whoever runs the elections has carte blanche to produce whatever results they prefer.
Are Democrats and their allies in the media likely to trot out various “rigged election” allegations when the dust settles in November, should they suffer heavy losses? It appears to be a good bet that they will – and Trump supporters will probably be the first to revel in calling out their claims.