Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump's campaign manager, said the election "wasn't a squeaker.""The professional political left is attempting to foment a permanent opposition that is corrosive to our constitutional democracy and ignores what just happened in this election," she said.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, one of Donald Trump's more exasperating habits was the eagerness with which he projected his faults onto his opponent. When the Republican was accused of corruption, he'd say Hillary Clinton is corrupt. When Trump's temperament was questioned, he'd say Clinton had a poor temperament. When his critics said he'd be a bad role model for kids, Trump said Clinton would set "a terrible example" for children.The election is now over, and now it's President-elect Trump facing accusations about abuses that are corrosive to the country's constitutional system. Take a wild guess how Team Trump's is responding to such criticism.
It's a curious response to the criticism. First, Trump's critics aren't ignoring what just happened in the election, they're focusing on it, emphasizing the fact that Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. To be sure, someone wants to ignore this, but it's not the "professional political left."Second, the election was most definitely a "squeaker." The president-elect's margin in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania was -- collectively -- roughly 80,000 votes. More than 135 million Americans participated in this election, but if 40,000 of them in three traditionally "blue" states had voted Democratic, Hillary Clinton would be choosing her cabinet right about now.And third, I'm delighted that one of Donald Trump's senior advisers is worried about contemporary politics having a "corrosive" effect on our "constitutional democracy," but if Conway were sincere about protecting our political system, she might want to have a chat with her boss about his brazen conflict-of-interest abuses, his efforts to stifle dissent and demean protesters, his routine attacks on the free press, some of his spectacularly unqualified cabinet selections, and his routine lies about the integrity of the American elections process.But at a more basic level, Conway seems to believe Trump's critics are doing something dangerous by trying to hold the president-elect accountable. That raises an unsettling question: how, exactly, does Team Trump expect his critics to respond to recent events?If Conway is waiting for silence from the left, she'll probably be waiting for a very long time.Update: As several readers reminded me, having a foreign adversary allegedly launch an espionage operation to help elect a specific, allied candidate also belongs in the "corrosive to our constitutional democracy" category.