The GOP Really Doesn't Want To Hear About Trump And His "Rigged" Election
It's become clear that most Republican Party leaders at all levels, local and national, are really, really tired of hearing Donald Trump going on about this election being rigged.
This election which, in fact, hasn't happened yet.
A major party candidate – behind in the polls and sinking fast - stating over and over again to crowds of cheering supporters that the election is rigged, a set-up job, the result of some kind of conspiracy between the news media and that "nasty woman" he is running against, Hillary Clinton.
Stop, Donald. Just stop. If you win, you win; if you lose, you lose. Game, set, and match.
It's really unprecedented for a major political party candidate for president to sow this kind of distrust in the integrity of the voting system – a system which may not be perfect, but which, on the whole, works pretty well, from the smallest local office to the presidency.
It really has Ohio's Secretary of State, Jon Husted, a Republican and the state's chief elections officer, ticked off.
You can argue all day long about Husted's policies as secretary of state and whether or not he has made voting more accessible or less accessible. But Husted, who wants to be Ohio's next governor, takes the integrity of the voting system seriously.
That's why he fired off an op-ed column to CNN.com Wednesday. He took the notion of a "rigged election" head-on.
"Lacking any credible evidence, allegations like these are only intended to strike fear into voters that their opponents are going to 'steal' the election,'' Husted wrote. "This is not just irresponsible; it unjustly calls into question the legitimacy of our elections. When these seeds of doubt are sown in the minds of voters, our election system – the cornerstone of our democracy – is compromised."
America, Husted wrote, "is a beacon of hope around the world, in part because we have sorted out our differences with elections. Whether we like the outcome or not, we trust our elections and believe in the principles of democracy. Leaders have a responsibility to preserve this trust, not undermine it."
Friday, Husted's office released a two-minute video on YouTube explaining the process of counting votes. "Hopefully, this video illustration will give people peace of mind that we have a secure election system in the state of Ohio,'' Husted said.
Unlike Husted, who speaks and writes in more measured terms, Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, is very blunt in his opinions – especially when it comes to Donald Trump.
Kasich was the last-candidate-standing-between Trump and the GOP nomination this summer; and, although he acknowledged that he, indeed, lost the battle for the nomination, he has steadfastly, absolutely refused to express a single word of support for Trump. He even successfully ignored Trump's coronation in August at the Republican National Convention, even though it was held at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland and Kasich was, at least theoretically, the host governor.
Wednesday, Kasich went on CBS this morning and said that Trump's notion of a rigged or stolen election is "silly" and is "like saying we never landed on the moon."
Daniel Tokaji, professor of election law at The Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, said there has been erosion in public confidence in the integrity of the voting system for some time now.
"There already is this loss of faith,'' Tokaji said. "But Trump, with his claim of a rigged election, has taken it to entirely different level. It's irresponsible."
Trump has compared this situation to 2000, when, in a razor-thin election, Democrat Al Gore ended up losing to Republican George W. Bush. A recount of punch card ballots in Florida; and, ultimately, a U.S. Supreme Court decision, ended up handing the White House to Bush.
But there are clear differences between 2000 and the "rigged" election of 2016. In 2000, it was about counting ballots, not the widespread fraud Trump alleges will happen.
And the 2000 election was a dead heat, while this one is shaping up to be a blowout in the favor of Clinton.
"I would hesitate to ever predict Mr. Trump's conduct,'' Tokaji said. "But if this election is not close, he should just concede defeat and move on."
Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou supported Kasich during the GOP presidential primary season. But once Trump had won the nomination, Triantafilou got on board with Trump.
On Oct. 13, when Trump held a rally at US Bank Arena, Triantafilou served as master of ceremonies.
He says he is still with Trump, but he draws the line over the candidate's accusation that the election is somehow rigged.
"I am not at all concerned about a rigged election,'' said Triantafilou, a member of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. "I know how elections work here. I know how elections work in Ohio.
"I've seen some incidents over the years where I thought fraud was going on, but it's just been minor stuff,'' Triantafilou said. "It's never so widespread as to change the result of an election."
If this presidential election continues trending the way it has in the past several weeks – and there's little reason to believe it won't – then, in 16 days, Clinton will have been elected the 45th president of the United States.
And Trump can concede or fight on or do what he likes.
"I don't want to suggest the Apocalypse is near,'' Tokaji said. "Our democracy will survive. And Donald Trump can concede the election or make himself look ridiculous."