Donald Trump’s talk of an election rigged by the media and his threat not to concede the election if he loses has ignited a media firestorm. However, despite his claims that the DNC is in cahoots with the media to attack him, the reporting on the issue has been far from homogeneous.
In a rather self-contradictory article Reuters seems to suggest that his comments have “challenged a cornerstone of American democracy and outraged Democrats and many Republicans,” and simultaneously given him a lead over Hillary in their poll (contrary to every other poll, except his own).
The Washington Post cites both a poll and a study conclude the rigging are actually likely to lower Republican turnout. The ultra-right Political Insider, ran an absurd headline saying, “CONFIRMED by Experts! Voting Machines in Maryland, Illinois Rigged to Support Democrats.” Even Rolling Stone has weighed in, making a strong case that Trump’s call to monitor polling places is deeply racist, “given our nation’s long history of voter intimidation and election violence targeted at African-Americans.”
Republicans have been under court order since 1983 to not do anything resembling “voter security” or “ballot integrity” because they last time they wanted to monitor people in Philadelphia, Detroit and in other battleground states, it turned out that they were threatening and intimidating minorities so much that the DNC sued them and won an injunction that the GOP hopes to repeal in 2017. It doesn’t seem likely with their candidate goading people to do exactly what got them in trouble last time as Tal Kopan and Josh Gerstein reported in 2013 for Politico:
The case, Republican National Committee vs. Democratic National Committee, dealt with a consent decree issued in 1982 that prevents the RNC from engaging in some voter fraud prevention efforts without prior court consent. It specifically said the RNC could not engage in ballot security efforts (later defined in 1987 as “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud,” according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit opinion), especially in areas where racial or ethnic makeup could be considered a reason for the activities.
A response to claims of voter intimidation in minority areas in the 1970s and early 1980s, the decree allowed the RNC to continue “normal poll watching” operations while barring activities that could be aimed at voter suppression, though the RNC complained to the courts that the distinction was unclear and difficult to follow. The decree effectively put the national party on the sidelines as concern about voter fraud became more and more pronounced in GOP ranks in recent years and as states passed a series of voter-identification measures.
In deciding the case, which stems from a 2008 lawsuit brought by the DNC, the district court clarified ballot security efforts as “any program aimed at combating voter fraud by preventing potential voters from registering to vote or casting a ballot,” and upheld the consent decree while adding a Dec. 1, 2017, expiration date.
The RNC appealed, saying that its decades-long compliance and good faith should justify ending the consent decree.
The Third Circuit upheld the district court’s decision and modification, saying that just because the RNC had largely complied with the order, the “mere passage of time” does not count as a change of facts that would warrant lifting the order.
The Supreme Court, as is customary, did not offer an explanation for declining to hear the RNC’s petition.
An official at the RNC, which is seeking to improve its outreach to minority groups in the wake of a grim showing in November, downplayed the case and the court’s action.
“It was a standard legal proceeding where we had been seeking to lift the injunction that’s been in place for decades,” said the GOP official, who asked not to be named. “We brought some technical legal issues to the Supreme Court after finding flaws in the lower court’s reasoning but the Court didn’t think they were substantive enough to review.”
The lawyer who handled the case for the DNC, Angelo Genova, welcomed the high court’s action.
“The Supreme Court, in denying a writ of certiorari in this case, reaffirms the vital necessity of the original consent decree,” Genova said in a statement. “The order remains integral to enforcing critical protections against minority voter suppression throughout our nation, protections that as are important today as they were thirty years ago.”
So… What the heck is really going on here? The real answer comes from the best and brightest news source out there: The Daily Show. “Oh Donald Trump,” says host Trevor Noah, “the media is not rigged against you. They are just recording what you say and playing it back. If anything, you’re rigging your own election!” The entire monologue is hilarious. Watch the video for yourself: