The Corner

Politics & Policy

Paul Krugman’s Predictable Amnesia

Even by the standards of blind, partisan hackery, Paul Krugman stands out as worthy of a Nobel prize in the field. Dory from Finding Nemo would envy Krugman’s ability to forget what he wrote the day before yesterday. Consider the topic of legitimacy of elections.

Krugman on August 19, 2005:

There was at least as much electoral malfeasance in 2004 as there was in 2000, even if it didn’t change the outcome. . . . In his recent book “Steal This Vote” — a very judicious work, despite its title — Andrew Gumbel . . . provides the best overview I’ve seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: “Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election.” . . . Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration’s legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation’s feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan’s supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever. Meanwhile, the whitewash of what happened in Florida in 2000 showed that election-tampering carries no penalty…He told me that he wasn’t brushing off the serious problems in Ohio . . .

The original version of that column claimed: “Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida’s ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably [Katherine] Harris’s ‘felon purge,’ which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.” This was false, and had to be corrected. And even liberal election law professor Rick Hasen said of this column, “Krugman also makes claims about the vote being stolen in Ohio in 2004. From what I have seen so far (including the Conyers report), I am not convinced that intentional action by state officials cost John Kerry the vote in Ohio.” (And yes, Democrats in Congress such as John Conyers and Jerrold Nadler made extensive protests and demands for investigation of voting machines in Ohio after the 2004 election).

Krugman on November 7, 2016:

This was, in fact, a rigged election. The election was rigged by state governments that did all they could to prevent nonwhite Americans from voting. . . . The election was rigged by Russian intelligence, which was almost surely behind the hacking of Democratic emails. . . . The election was rigged by James Comey, the director of the F.B.I. . . . The election was also rigged by people within the F.B.I. . . . pro-Trump agents have clearly been talking nonstop to Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and right-wing media . . . . The election was rigged by partisan media, especially Fox News. . . . The election was rigged by mainstream news organizations, many of which simply refused to report on policy issues. . . . The election was rigged by the media obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails…

Krugman on July 17, 2020:

At this point, it will be almost impossible for Trump to win reelection legitimately. It’s quite possible, however, that he will try to steal the election . . . attempted theft could happen in multiple ways; expect to see many or all in November. Men claiming to be federal agents, but without identification, are already making arrests. Coming to polling places in November? Broken voting machines in D-leaning precincts? Mysterious and selective rejection of millions of absentee ballots? The list goes on. Don’t say they wouldn’t; clearly they will if they can. If you aren’t scared, you’re oblivious.

Krugman on November 30, 2020:

How Will Biden Deal With Republican Sabotage? . . . When Joe Biden is inaugurated, he will immediately be confronted with an unprecedented challenge — and I don’t mean the pandemic, although Covid-19 will almost surely be killing thousands of Americans every day. I mean, instead, that he’ll be the first modern U.S. president trying to govern in the face of an opposition that refuses to accept his legitimacy. And no, Democrats by and large were not claiming Donald Trump was illegitimate, just that he was incompetent and dangerous.

Remember, people like Krugman care about legitimacy only when it’s their own party in power. And they bank on you not remembering what they said then.