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Those still calling Trump's election "illegitimate" sound like the irrational birthers

Feb 14, 2017

Well, Happy Valentine’s Day.

I hope you've gotten far more important greetings from someone close to you.

Love is important.

But sometimes, you have to learn how and when to let someone, or something go. I’ve finally accepted that Laura Ingalls Wilder is not going to come back from the dead and marry me.

And in the same vein, it's time for those who think the last presidential election was stolen to give it up. That may sound like an odd thing to say at this point.

I've finally accepted that Laura Ingalls Wilder is not going to come back from the dead and marry me.

But I still hear regularly from listeners who don't think Donald Trump's victory was legitimate, and who want me to devote myself to exposing fraud in the last election. Cindy Ashy is convinced that the voting machines in both Michigan and Wisconsin could be hacked by outside sources, despite what election officials in both states have said.

There was a partial recount in Michigan, which didn't show things changing very much, and a full recount in Wisconsin, which ended up slightly increasing Trump’s margin.

But she doesn't accept that as valid, and has repeatedly asked me to team up with public radio staffers in Wisconsin to mount a major investigation.

Yesterday, a loyal listener named Steven who owns a business consulting firm asked me to do more to remind everyone "how significant the Russians' effort to influence the election may have been, both locally and internationally."

He thinks the media has been generally silent over how close and how possibly tainted the election actually was.

Well, I think the media has mentioned these things frequently, but I appreciate his sentiments, and Ms. Ashy’s diligence.

There are elements of the last election that seem straight out of a really bad Cold War spy novel. Except that during the Cold War, any candidate found to be playing footsie with the Russians would have been forced off any ticket immediately.

But the reality is this. The election is over. Every election expert I respect, some of whom I've known for decades, tell me Michigan's voting machines aren't connected to the internet.

I do not know as much about Wisconsin, though the state has a reputation for clean elections. But what I do know is if Hillary Clinton had carried both states, Donald Trump would still be president, thanks to our defective Electoral College.

... some of the Trump haters are beginning to sound like the irrational birthers ...

This won't get me any Valentines, but some of the Trump haters are beginning to sound like the irrational birthers who insisted President Obama was born in Kenya, despite solid proof to the contrary.

They didn't accept him as president, usually because he was black, so in their minds he couldn't be legitimate. I wonder if much the same is going on here.

Well, as I said, I think our electoral system is defective. I also think there are grave concerns about this administration and Russia, as witness what happened with the national security advisor.

But you can't overturn the result.

What concerned people can do is work to ensure the integrity of the next election. More than a century ago, the legendary labor leader Joe Hill was executed in Utah, on probably trumped-up charges.

"Don't waste any time mourning – organize!" he wrote to a friend just before facing a firing squad. That was good advice then.

I think it is equally good now.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s Senior Political Analyst. Views expressed in his essays are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, The University of Michigan.