Donald Trump’s failure to commit to accepting the election results has re-ignited a partisan debate over the aftermath of the contested 2000 presidential election. Liberals are trying to re-write history, and act as if Al Gore and his fellow Democrats behaved graciously, never questioning the legitimacy of the election or the system. But I think my fellow conservatives should also acknowledge that what happened in 2000 is not equivalent to what Trump is doing now, and that what Trump is doing is worse.

Back in 2000, Election Day was on Nov. 7, and it wasn’t until Dec. 13 that Gore, after more than a month of lawsuits culminating in a Supreme Court decision, acknowledged that George W. Bush would be the next president.

As my colleague Tim Carney has pointed out, liberals did not accept the result of the election, with Democrats even calling it a “coup.” Even those who now talk about how Trump’s comments are undermining democracy still challenge the legitimacy of the 2000 election result.

It’s an article of faith that the Supreme Court handed Bush the election in a purely partisan decision, even though, as Tim has detailed, an exhaustive media recount of the Florida ballots showed that Bush still would have won. Despite this, Bush was routinely referred to as “president-select.” And Hillary Clinton has not been innocent in this.

Following the debate last night, Clinton declared, “Our country has been around for 240 years, and we’re a country based on laws, and we have hot, contested elections going back to the very beginning. But one of our hallmarks has always been that we accept the outcomes of our election. We do the best we can to have free and fair elections, which we do, and somebody wins and somebody loses.”

But at a 2002 fundraiser, Clinton said Bush was “selected” rather than elected. More recently, earlier this year, she declared, “A court took away a presidency.” It’s hard to see how she can speak so sanctimoniously about being a nation of laws when she’s also comfortably saying that the nation’s highest court illegitimately handed the election to the guy who actually lost.

All of this having been said, it would also be unfair to suggest that what Trump is doing right now is in any way equivalent to the situation in 2000.

In 2000, controversy erupted after an election in which Gore won the popular vote and came within a few hundred votes in the deciding state, in which 6 million votes were cast. So in theory, small voting irregularities or the treatment of a tiny percentage of ballots could have tipped the balance of the election. Gore, himself, did eventually concede once the legal process had played out.

This is a lot different from Trump. Weeks before Election Day, just as he started tanking in polls, Trump preemptively began talking about the election system being “rigged,” portraying a vast, widespread, nationwide conspiracy to deny him the presidency. It’s an election that Clinton is poised to win by millions of votes and over 100 electoral votes.

Trump accuses Clinton of getting debate questions ahead of time

Also from the Washington Examiner

“Why didn’t Hillary Clinton announce that she was inappropriately given the debate questions,” Trump tweeted.

10/20/16 11:23 AM

So, as mistaken as it is, Democrats’ insistence on denying that the outcome in 2000 was legitimate is not the same as Trump making a much broader charge, absent any election results, that the voting system is fundamentally fraudulent. It also, it should be said, is part of a pattern, as he also questioned the fairness of the voting in Iowa, Wisconsin and Colorado when he lost those states during the primaries.

For Donald Trump, a solid debate showing disappears in an instant

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LAS VEGAS — Standing in a garish hotel lobby, casino music pounding, a Republican who has worked hard to help Donald Trump couldn’t quite believe how the final presidential debate had ended just a couple of hours earlier.

“He had a home run going — a home run — and then he pissed it away in ten seconds,” the person said. “Could he just try to win? Just f—-king try to win?”

The Republican was referring, of course, to Trump’s refusal to promise that he will abide by the results of the election, should he lose. “I will look at it at the time,” Trump said. “I will keep you in suspense.

10/20/16 3:25 AM

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