I've said a couple of times that Republicans -- and not just Donald Trump -- might challenge the election results if Hillary Clinton wins. They might allege that tight states were won by voter fraud, or argue that Electoral College electors simply shouldn't put a person under a cloud of suspicion in the White House.
But even if Republicans accept a Clinton victory, they'll work hard to tarnish it, in order to portray Hillary throughout her term as an illegitimate president.
I think one way they'll try to do this is by discrediting the early vote, which looks pretty good for Democrats so far:
Hillary Clinton has established a slim edge over Donald J. Trump in early-voter turnout in several vital swing states, pressing her longstanding advantages in state-level organization and potentially mitigating the fallout from her campaign’s latest scrap with the F.B.I.
Republicans are going to scour the country looking for ordinary voters who'll publicly say they voted for Clinton before the email story came out and now deeply regret their choice. Maybe they'll be suburban Republican moderate women. Maybe they'll be independents or Democrats. I won't be surprised if they start chauffeuring these voters to the Fox News building as early as this week. (Fox will put anyone on the air who says, "I'm a Democrat, but....")
We'll be told that the liberal media and Clinton supporters in law enforcement (Loretta Lynch, Andrew McCabe) conspired to suppress the truth about Clintonian evil until well after early voting had started, and that if only innocent voters had known the truth, they'd never have been the unwitting dupes of this sinister election-rigging.
No, this won't get the election overturned. But it might inspire Republican efforts to curtail early voting in the future, and it will reinforce conservatives' sense that elections (or at least elections Republicans don't win) are conducted in a way designed to harm Real Americans.
So faith in democracy is further undermined. Who cares? Clinton will be harmed. That's what matters.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog