Crying Wolf over 'Stolen Elections'

It has become commonplace in modern political discourse to assert that the Republican Party stole the 2000 election and there is a growing chorus, recently detailed in these pages, charging that the GOP pilfered the 2004 election as well.

Now there is a new rumble of thunder building on the left concerning possible election fraud in the 2008 primaries. This time the designated victim is none other than Senator Hillary Clinton!

Yes, you heard that right. Hillary Clinton, she of Whitewater and the Rose Law Firm billing records fame, has a growing and vocal coterie of agents charging that she was unfairly jobbed by unseen forces who refused to allow a woman to lead the Democrats into the November election. While this characterization of the Democratic nomination battle is bizarre and easily disproved, it certainly holds dangerous implications for the future, namely the fact that every future election will be subject to allegations of fraud and that candidates who cannot concede defeat gracefully will resort to the "big lie" in order to rationalize their loss and delegitimize an opponent's victory.

This disturbing aspect of modern politics began, appropriately, in the 2000 general election. The Democrats and their media echo chamber charged that George W. Bush and the Republicans stole Florida and fraudulently won the election. They willfully discounted documented evidence of Democratic Party shenanigans in St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Detroit. Likewise, those charging vote fraud ignored Democratic candidate Al Gore's efforts to disqualify military absentee ballots which would certainly have trended Republican and his attempts to cherry-pick Democratic counties in Florida for special recounts. Finally, after exhaustive studies by Florida daily newspapers determined that Bush did, indeed, win the state, the Democratic conspiracy mongers shrugged their shoulders and continued to insist that the "other" party stole the 2000 election.

The crying-foul tactic worked well enough for the Democrats that they decided to re-employ it in 2004. The party and their media allies ignored Democratic dirty tricks, such as flattening the tires of thirty vans the Milwaukee Republicans had rented to drive voters to polling places. Instead, the Democrats with the assistance of a complicit media simply hammered home their theme that Republican skulduggery had stolen Ohio and thus the election. The fact that Bush won Ohio by 120,000 votes did not dissuade the conspiracy theorists one bit. They repeated their "fraudulent election" mantra until certain people started believing them.