Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is “Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency.” This is the third in a series of excerpts; the first can be read here and the second here.
As we’ve seen, candidates can get chirpy at final presidential debates less than three weeks from Election Day, and Hillary Clinton was no exception. What “horror” had her inveighing so? The very thought that her Republican rival would question the legitimacy of the presidential election.
Donald Trump being Donald Trump, he wouldn’t budge. He would not pledge to accept the election results a priori. OK, no, Trump didn’t use the phrase “a priori.” But he did speculate that the electoral process could be rigged. Until he saw how it played out, the Republican nominee said, he could not concede that the outcome would be on the up-and-up.
First, Trump reaffirmed an allegation for which he’d already been roundly condemned: Foreigners could swing the election — specifically, “millions” of ineligible voters, an allusion to illegal immigration, the piñata of Trump’s campaign.
Second, he complained about the gross one-sidedness of the media’s campaign coverage: scathing when it came to him, and between inattentive and fawning when it came to his opponent, whose considerable sins were airbrushed away.
Third, Trump claimed there was deep corruption: Clinton, he maintained, should not have been permitted to run, given the evidence of felony misconduct uncovered in her email scandal.
Instead of prosecuting Clinton, law enforcement agencies of the Democratic administration bent over backwards to give her a pass, and congressional Democrats closed ranks around her, conducting themselves in committee hearings more like her defense lawyers than like investigators searching for the truth.
A flabbergasted Clinton responded that she was shocked — horrified — to hear Trump “talking down our democracy” this way. This was a top theme in her campaign’s closing days: The election was absolutely legitimate; Trump was traitorously condemnable for refusing to say so.