National Commentary

4 Irregularities In This Election

nfbenton-mugIt’s fascinating to witness the different ways that people react to a genuine shock to the system.

The wide array of reactions to the surprise election of Donald Trump for president of the U.S. last week has fully run the gamut of emotionally-laden responses cloaked as reason. There were adamant opponents to his election who when he was declared the victor reacted by angrily insisting that everybody “get over it” and accept the result, berating any among their former allies who continued to have questions about the outcome. Others pounded the table saying, “Not my president, ever!” and of course days of protest marches. Among pro-Trump forces we’ve seen a surge of racial, ethnic and homophobic violence and taunting. They’re all reactions of post-traumatic shock and all are very real.

Nobody has been pushing this more than the major media, once again stepping in to declare the winner, and to urge everyone to accept it, even as the popular vote margin favoring Hillary Clinton has continued to grow toward a million. There is no comparison now to the tumult that surrounded the contested 2000 election outcome. Unlike 2000, this time the issue of the Electoral College’s incongruous role of dictating an outcome different from the popular vote has been met with an alarmingly passive, solely intellectual response.

The accommodating official political response from the Democrats, such as that of President Obama, is to be expected. Unless they can dig up more than what’s on the surface now, it has been incumbent on them to accept the result. But the media and the public should not diminish the very real questions that were in play about the Trump candidacy right up to election day, and still loom very large.

There were four serious irregularities in this presidential election that all favored the upset winner that went beyond politics.

First, there was the unprecedented Russian influence. There is no doubt, according to the assessment of numerous U.S. intelligence agencies, that the Russians hacked into the U.S. system to the detriment of the Democrats during this election cycle.

In concert with the Russians, there was the role the Wikileaks hacking operation played in a relentless leaking the contents of reams of internal communications within the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign aimed at tilting the outcome in favor of Trump.

There is the subject of Trump’s ties to the Russian Mafia in the U.S., the role of his adviser Paul Manifort’s paid role as a lobbyist for the pro-Russian party in Ukraine, and the fact that Trump’s leading foreign policy adviser during much of his campaign was Sergei Millian, a close personal friend of Putin since their childhood.

Second, there was the unprecedented role of the Alt-Right in the campaign. Usually marginalized, and for good reason, the “alternative right” was a central element in promoting the Trump candidacy, including the elevation of Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon to a top advisory position in the campaign and now the new administration. The top anti-hate group watchdogs in the U.S., the Southern Poverty Law Center, has serious misgivings about Bannon and his minions. This could have something to do with the report that Trump has a volume of Hilter’s speeches on his bed stand.

Third, on this score, there is Trump, himself. He made it through the whole campaign without ever releasing his tax returns, and has ongoing legal actions against him pertaining to his Trump University, Trump Foundation and court-filed allegations of the sexual abuse of a minor.

Fourth, there is the unprecedented role of the FBI in the campaign. Director James Comey’s unprecedented commentary criticizing Clinton in his announcement to ostensibly clear her of the email investigation in July, then his inexplicable decision to announce a new investigation less than two weeks before the election, are truly baffling, without a doubt served to favor Trump over Clinton, and could well have been decisive.

Where did this come from? Was it Alt-Right pressures from within the agency? Was it Russian influences on the Alt-Right influencing the agency?

One thing is clear, taking these factors together, there’s no doubt they dovetailed toward a coherent effort to elect Trump and un-elect Clinton.