Trump accuses Democrats of cheating? What goes around comes around.

Many Democrats and their allies in the media are angry that President Trump has accused Joe Biden and Democrats of cheating to win the presidency. No doubt some are frustrated, even in victory. But why should they be surprised when Trump says the other side cheated? After all, they said the same thing four years ago after the 2016 election.

And they didn’t do it for just a week or two. Democrats pressed the cheating accusation to extraordinary lengths, month after month, and year after year, inflicting as much damage on Trump’s presidency as they possibly could. Today, after the 2020 vote, Trump’s accusations won’t have the same effect — they will be dismissed and then ignored by much of the media, as opposed to 2016-2019 when comparably groundless anti-Trump allegations were given daily headlines. But the fact is, in the Trump era, some Democrats made a false accusation of cheating part of their political strategy. They are in a poor position to complain about it now.

The accusation was, of course, that Trump won in 2016 by conspiring with Russia to influence the election. Some Democrats, like Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, began suggesting Trump was conspiring with Russia in the summer when the campaign was reaching full speed. Then the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid a former British spy to compile a dossier of false allegations claiming Trump-Russia collusion. “Collusion,” in the context of the 2016 election, was a synonym for “cheating.”

Then it was off to the races. On Jan. 6, 2017, two weeks before Trump was inaugurated, Congress met in joint session to certify the results of the Electoral College. It had historically been a ceremonial, pro-forma event. But several House Democrats tried to block certification of various state results. Rep. Barbara Lee objected to certification “on behalf of the millions of Americans, including members of the Intelligence Community, who are horrified by evidence that the Russians interfered in our election.” The objectors lacked any support in the Senate, so the presiding officer — it was then-Vice President Joe Biden — struck them down.

Finally, after all the allegations, there was a verdict, from an investigator who had all the money he needed, all the staff he needed, all the time he needed, and the full law enforcement powers of the U.S. government. Collusion — cheating — had not taken place. Mueller investigated all the major and minor characters of the campaign — Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Papadopoulos, and Page — and never charged any of them with any crime that involved conspiring or coordinating with Russia.

Nevertheless, the cheating allegation had gone on and on — from mid-2016 until mid-2019. It was started and perpetuated by Democrats who sought to accuse Trump of cheating in the 2016 election. Some cling to it even today. In any event, it deeply, and unfairly, scarred the Trump presidency. Many Democrats hoped that it might even be used to remove Trump from office early.

Now, some Democrats say it is time to “heal.” And President-elect Joe Biden asks that the accused and those who targeted them “give each other a chance” in the new Democratic administration. Surely no one will be surprised if that doesn’t happen.

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WarRoom 484 as of 9 November 2020