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1 Dec, 2020 21:24

4 years lost to amnesia? NYT economist claims Biden FIRST US PRESIDENT to face an opposition calling him ‘illegitimate’

4 years lost to amnesia? NYT economist claims Biden FIRST US PRESIDENT to face an opposition calling him ‘illegitimate’

Democrat Joe Biden would be the first US president deemed illegitimate by political opposition in years, economist Paul Krugman claims – never mind the many Democrats, including Krugman, who’ve actually described Trump as such.

The Nobel Prize-winner made the pants-on-fire claim in a Monday NY Times op-ed in which he urged presumed president-elect Biden to govern by executive order to preempt Republican “sabotage.” Incumbent president Donald Trump and the Republicans should be blamed for all the country’s problems as punishment for their insistence last month’s election was stolen, he argued.

Biden will “be the first modern US president trying to govern in the face of an opposition that refuses to accept his legitimacy,” Krugman wrote before further revising history: “No, Democrats never said Donald Trump was illegitimate, just that he was incompetent and dangerous.

Unfortunately for the economist, many who read the piece recalled otherwise. Not only did senior Democrats begin delegitimizing Trump before he’d even been in office a month, they even used the exact terminology Krugman claimed they had never uttered. Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler declared Trump’s election “illegitimate” before he was even inaugurated, echoing the words of his now-deceased House colleague John Lewis: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.” The pair, along with scores of other House Democrats, boycotted Trump’s inauguration over his supposed “illegitimacy.”

Perhaps Krugman’s memory lapse could be written off as election fatigue or Covid-19 brain fog, had the Times columnist not proudly participated in this delegitimization himself, in columns that remain available on the outlet’s website for all to see. His January 2017 column didn’t just mention delegitimization offhandedly, either – the entire focus of the piece was praising Lewis’ inauguration boycott as “an act of patriotism” and agreeing with the congressman that Trump’s election was not legitimate.

Indeed, in an added irony given the Democrats’ efforts to silence all suggestions the 2020 election was itself less than legitimate, Krugman declared nearly four years ago that “saying that the election was tainted isn’t a smear or a wild conspiracy theory; it’s simply the truth.”

No, we shouldn’t get into the habit of delegitimizing election results we don’t like,” he wrote, after doing exactly that – but “this time really is exceptional.

In reality, Trump was not the first president to win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote – his Republican predecessor George W. Bush did the same in the 2000 election many saw as illegitimate. Bush’s subsequent presidency only escaped being forever dogged with the “illegitimate” label because rival Al Gore conceded after an ugly Supreme Court battle over recounts and hanging chads.

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And subsequent president Barack Obama was the target of his own delegitimization campaign as Republicans declared he was born in Kenya or was otherwise ineligible for the presidency. Trump had a hand in amplifying the “birther” conspiracy theory, but Krugman couldn’t include that once-beloved “Orange Man Bad” nugget in Monday’s article without detonating the revisionist history he’d constructed.

Trump wasn’t even the first president to be accused of getting help from the Kremlin – such smears have been deployed against presidential candidates for half a century, from JFK to the aforementioned Gore. Indeed, it’s hard to find a US election where rumors of Russian interference haven’t played at least a bit part.

Social media users were somewhat taken aback at Krugman’s bold gaslighting, furnishing numerous examples of Democrats calling Trump illegitimate, including Krugman’s old articles and tweets.

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