by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It might be fair to say that Trump’s election kind of broke the brains of many people both left, right and center: nobody expected it and a great many people really didn’t want it to happen. But the Left seems to be taking it the hardest, and this is perfectly exemplified by Paul Krugman, a genuinely brilliant fellow who has started to sound like a tinfoil-hat-wearing neighborhood crank.
Just so we’re clear, the “suspicion of a hacked election” that Krugman latched onto—the one that “will never go away”—was spelled out this way:
While it’s important to note [the Center for Computer Security and Society] has not found proof of hacking or manipulation, they are arguing to the campaign that the suspicious pattern merits an independent review — especially in light of the fact that the Obama White House has accused the Russian government of hacking the Democratic National Committee.
Yes, it is surely “important to note” that there has been no “proof of hacking or manipulation.” But that doesn’t go far enough by half: there isn’t even any evidence of such, except for some voting patterns that, as Nate Cohn points out, vanish when you control for certain variables. Gabriel Sherman mixes up the cause and effect: proof is demonstrated after an investigation, the latter of which is undertaken only on the basis of strong-enough evidence—which doesn’t exist here (unless you’re an aggrieved liberal pundit, I guess).
But the real story here isn’t the wacky teeth-gnashing of the American Left, though that is quite a story in its own right. No, the most astonishing aspect of the whole thing is that Paul Krugman could be swayed by such a flimsy and unsubstantiated accusation. What it suggests is that the election damaged the political psyche of liberals in ways that it will probably take a while for us to understand.