Krugman: Two of the Biggest Culprits Who Tried to Rig the 2016 Presidential Election

In the waning hours of this horror movie of an election, Paul Krugman dares to look ahead and consider what American politics might look like starting on November 9. Even if Clinton wins, he writes in Monday's column, "let’s be clear: this was, in fact, a rigged election." Just not in the way Donald Trump thinks.


In fact, based on the actions of state governments, Russian intelligence, right-wing media, and the FBI, the election may have been tipped in Trump's favor. 

Krugman begins his attack with state governments, where apparently racist officials feel perfectly comfortable pushing for voter ID laws whose unspoken goal is to prevent nonwhite Americans from voting: 

"The spirit of Jim Crow is very much alive—or maybe translate that to Diego Cuervo, now that Latinos have joined African-Americans as targets. Voter ID laws, rationalized by demonstrably fake concerns about election fraud, were used to disenfranchise thousands; others were discouraged by a systematic effort to make voting hard, by closing polling places in areas with large minority populations."

But state officials weren't the only members of government doing their best to boost Trump. FBI director James Comey, Krugman points out, "used his position to spread innuendo and influence the election," with his letter to congressional Republicans. Of course, Krugman notes, Comey had plenty of support within the FBI:

"In the final days of the campaign, pro-Trump agents have clearly been talking nonstop to Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and right-wing media, putting claims and allegations that may or may not have anything to do with reality into the air. The agency clearly needs a major housecleaning: Having an important part of our national security apparatus trying to subvert an election is deeply scary. Unfortunately, Mr. Comey is just the man not to do it."

Speaking of Fox News and the former New York City mayor whom we're sorry to have unleashed on the rest of America, the media, both the far-right and mainstream varieties, have come out of this election with blood on their hands. Fox, Breitbart and their ilk may have been outwardly spreading lies, but as Krugman notes, the mainstream media "simply refused to report on policy issues, a refusal that clearly favored the candidate who lies about these issues all the time, and has no coherent proposals to offer."

He continues, "Take the nightly network news broadcasts: In 2016 all three combined devoted a total of 32 minutes to coverage of issues—all issues. Climate change, the most important issue we face, received no coverage at all." With coverage like that, it's no wonder an email server has dominated our national conversation for a year. Clinton's email carelessness is "orders of magnitude less important than multiple scandals involving her opponent—remember, Donald Trump never released his tax returns." 

Even if Clinton does win, Krugman reminds us not to get too comfortable:

"Republicans will, of course, deny her legitimacy from day one, just as they did for the last two Democratic presidents. But there will also—you can count on it—be a lot of deprecation and sneering from mainstream pundits and many in the media, lots of denial that she has a 'mandate' (whatever that means), because some other Republican would supposedly have beaten her, she should have won by more, or something."

Because of this, Krugman leaves us with two important pieces of advice. First, Clinton, against all possible odds, has run an excellent campaign, whose relentless attacks would have felled lesser candidates in days. Second, if she does win, it will be "thanks to Americans who stood up for our nation’s principles—who waited for hours on voting lines contrived to discourage them, who paid attention to the true stakes in this election rather than letting themselves be distracted by fake scandals and media noise."

If we have anything to be thankful for on November 9, it will be these Americans. 

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