“The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box,” said Adam Schiff last week. “For we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”
The message was clear: impeach Trump or he’ll steal the 2020 election.
If you ask Democrats, anytime they’ve lost an election it was not lost fairly. In 2000, George W. Bush “stole” Florida. In 2004, he “stole” Ohio. In 2016, Russia got Trump elected. Any high-profile election loss by a Democrat in a race they thought they would win is met by a cacophony of accusations of voter suppression, foreign interference, vote tampering… you name the excuse, they’ll throw it out there hoping it will stick. Many Democrats, including presidential candidates, give credence to the conspiracy theory that Stacey Abrams had the Georgia gubernatorial stolen from her, because of, you guessed it, voter suppression.
The Democrats’ tactic of citing the upcoming 2020 election is merely a preemptive delegitimization should Trump win. A Trump victory will for sure result in Democrats at all levels of government calling for investigations, and there will be a coordinated effort to undermine Trump’s second term.
This preemptive attack on the results of the 2012 election has had me thinking though. It’s long been noted that anytime Democrats accuse Trump or Republicans of something, it’s the Democrats who are actually guilty of it.
A scholarly study conducted by the American Enterprise Institute concluded that suppression of the Tea Party movement by Obama’s IRS helped him get reelected.
The Tea Party movement’s huge success was not the result of a few days of work by an elected official or two, but involved activists all over the country who spent the year and a half leading up to the midterm elections volunteering, organizing, donating, and rallying. Much of these grassroots activities were centered around 501(c)4s, which according to our research were an important component of the Tea Party movement and its rise.
The bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes-more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012. The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 – 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million. The bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes-more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012.
The effectiveness of the Tea Party, combined with Obama’s relatively small margin of victory in key swing states, suggests that the IRS’s suppression of the Tea Party movement likely tipped the scales in favor of Obama.
“Had the Tea Party repeated and built on their activism of 2009 and 2010 in 2011 and 2012, Obama would have lost the election. What happened to the Tea Party boost? It didn’t grow from 2010. It appeared to weaken,” Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform wrote in his book, End The IRS Before It Ends Us. “The Tea Party didn’t fall down the stairs. It was pushed.”
Norquist referenced the fact that Lois Lerner had received specific orders to “do something” about conservative funding in advance of the 2012 election, after the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court. “Everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it. The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem. The IRS laws are not set up to fix the problem … so everyone is screaming at us right now: fix it now before the election,” Lerner said, according to Norquist’s book.
By targeting conservative groups, hundreds of Tea Party groups were never able to operate and mobilize against Barack Obama in the 2012 election, preventing a similar outcome as the 2010 elections.
James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal agreed that the IRS helped Obama in 2012. “Barack Obama’s reelection deserves to be listed with an asterisk in the record books. We know only that he did win with the help of a corrupt IRS. And if indeed the election was stolen, many in the media were complicit in its theft.”
For all the Democrats’ bellyaching about 2016 and now about 2020, it should not be lost on the American public that there is far more evidence that the IRS’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups helped Obama win reelection in 2012 than there is evidence that Trump colluded with Russia, or is trying to “steal” the 2020 election.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis