New York Times columnist Paul Krugman weighed in on Election Day 2022 in his own paranoid, hectoring fashion, “A MAGA America Would Be Ugly.” If some of it sounds familiar, it’s because he’s been making the same tiresome warnings since Trump’s rise in 2016. But does Krugman have any credibility attacking so-called election deniers?
If you aren’t feeling a sense of dread on the eve of the midterm elections, you haven’t been paying attention.
We can talk about the conventional stakes of these elections -- their implications for economic policy, major social programs, environmental policy, civil liberties and reproductive rights. And it’s not wrong to have these discussions: Life will go on whatever happens on the political scene, and government policies will continue to have a big impact on people’s lives.
But I, at least, always feel at least a bit guilty when writing about inflation or the fate of Medicare. Yes, these are my specialties. Focusing on them, however, feels a bit like denial, or at least evasion, when the fundamental stakes right now are so existential.
Indeed, these days it’s almost conventional wisdom that the G.O.P. will, if it can, turn America into something like Viktor Orban’s Hungary: a democracy on paper, but an ethnonationalist, authoritarian one-party state in practice….
Krugman warned that things are even worse than they appear.
….if MAGA wins, we’ll probably find ourselves wishing its rule was as tolerant, relatively benign and relatively nonviolent as Orban’s….even if we get a reprieve this week, the fact remains that democracy is in deep danger from the authoritarian right. America as we know it is not yet lost, but it’s on the edge.
After years of media whining about Trump’s refusal to concede defeat, the title of Krugman’s 2016 pre-election screed comes as a shock: “How to Rig an Election.”
Whatever happens, however, let’s be clear: 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 James Comey, the director of the F.B.I. His job is to police crime -- but instead he used his position to spread innuendo and influence the election….The election was rigged by the media obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails. She shouldn’t have used her own server, but there is no evidence at all that she did anything unethical, let alone illegal….
Later that year Krugman demonstrated why he has no credibility in calling anyone else a danger to democratic voting. The text box to his column “The Tainted Election” read “Coming to grips with illegitimacy.”
So this was a tainted election. It was not, as far as we can tell, stolen in the sense that votes were counted wrong, and the result won’t be overturned. But the result was nonetheless illegitimate in important ways; the victor was rejected by the public, and won the Electoral College only thanks to foreign intervention and grotesquely inappropriate, partisan behavior on the part of domestic law enforcement….This election was an outrage, and we should never forget it.
Neither should we forget Krugman's gross hypocrisy.