On John Lewis and DJT's Legitimacy
A friend noticed that I had commented that I agreed with hero John Lewis's calling DJT "illegitimate," and asked me to explain. Here is what I wrote back:
Let's assume that the extra knowledge that so many congresspeople are upset about was not concerning the Russians but about Comey's decision-making. If Comey's actions turn out to be so far afield as to be clearly illegal, then the assessment of "illegitimate" might be what I would say. DJT would have been elected from something illegal. But if "objective" analysts - like the IG is supposed to be - just find his decisions merely very poor practice, that's another thing. Let's assume this is true, since many folks have been saying this since the decisions were made.
So.....the Russians appear to have manipulated the public, but they did not actually hack the voting machines. I don't think that these process problems, while troubling, rise to the level of the election, and thus DJT. being illegitimate. The result is problematic certainly, separate from how problematic he is. But I would reserve assessment of "illegitimate" for the kind of altered process that I would say the same thing about if my side won. Illegitimate presidencies need to have actual election do-overs; unless there is something which, scarily, we have no provisions for.
By the way, this is not to say that the nation does not need folks like John Lewis speaking out on principle, and perhaps giving cover to others for others who actually feel the same way but who don't have the same courage. I hope folks don't pile on for political points, and only say this if they would have done so if the whole situation was mirrored and their side benefited. I just think the assessment of "illegitimate" - based on what the public knows now - sets too low a bar for what makes a president illegitimate, and this standard is important to maintain for the health of democracy.