The televised debates are over. But the broader debate over the Trump and Clinton candidacies continues for another 18 days.
In spite of all the media noise about everything except policy, the case for Trump remains solid, especially for voters in Israel and others for whom Israel and Middle East policy are key issues.
Trump actually turned in a praiseworthy performance in the last debate. For those waiting to see if he is a sufficiently “presidential” alternative to Mrs. Clinton, last night showed someone on top of several issues and speaking a lot of common sense.
The media, however, glossing over some troubling Israel-related developments regarding Clinton, instead have focused on just one of Trump’s answers, twisting it beyond recognition to suggest he and his supporters will take to the streets if he does not win. That is a rather malevolent interpretation of an answer in which he raised the very real issue of election fraud and cheating, which must be addressed.
The actual exchange (shortened, and minus digressions) between him and moderator Chris Wallace was as follows:
WALLACE: …You have been warning at rallies recently that this election is rigged and that Hillary Clinton is in the process of trying to steal it from you….Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely…accept the result of this election?
TRUMP: I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I’ll look at it at the time.
What I’ve seen — what I’ve seen is so bad…[Digression]….If you look…if you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote — millions, this isn’t coming from me, this is coming from Pew Report and other places…that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote. So let me just give you one other thing….She’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run.
And just in that respect, I say it’s rigged, because she should never….have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things….What I’m saying is that I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense. OK?
In the context of numerous instances of election fraud and challenges to election results by Democrats, that answer is a lot less alarming than it has been portrayed. Take Philadelphia, as just one example, where City Commissioner Al Schmidt verified instances of gross irregularities. Recent Philadelphia elections have featured arrests of Election Board workers for tampering with voting machines, organizations such as ACORN caught red-handed stuffing the voter rolls with false registrations, illegal electioneering and voter intimidation by club-wielding Black Panthers at polling place (which the now-partisan Democratic Justice Department refuses to investigate), denying polling-place entry to hundreds of GOP poll-watchers in spite of a court order, 59 voting divisions where Republicans were officially outvoted by a combined 19,605 to 0 (in a county where Mitt Romney received 14% of the vote), refusal by the Democratic political machine to purge years’ worth of dead and ineligible voters from the rolls in blatant violation of the law — accompanied by 20 wards where turnout exceeded 97%. The same pattern exists in countless other jurisdictions run by one-party Democrat political machines.
It took Al Gore five weeks of dragging the country through litigation to finally concede the 2000 election; was that inconsistent with Trump’s answer? The 1960 presidential election is generally considered to have been stolen through fraud in Texas (home of JFK running-mate Lyndon Johnson) and Illinois, where Chicago’s infamous Mayor Daley delayed releasing election results until the next day — which then showed ridiculous margins for Kennedy, remarkably just enough to eke out an Illinois victory and swing the election to the Democrats. It took three days for Richard Nixon to decide not to challenge the results; would that delay shock journalists who act stunned by Trump’s answer?
More recently, in 2008, Republican Norm Coleman defeated Democrat Al Franken in a tight Minnesota Senate race. Or so it appeared when all the votes had been counted. And even after they had been recounted. But rather than concede, Franken hired an army of lawyers who spent eight months working the system until a new result emerged: Franken, victor by 312 votes. Only later, among other irregularities, it was discovered that 1,100 ineligible felons (overwhelmingly Democrat-supporting) voted, leading to 177 convictions for voter fraud. Yet, not only does Franken remain a Senator, but he provided the 60th Senate vote — blocking any filibuster — for Obama’s legislative wish-list. Without Franken’s “win,” there would be no Obamacare. Where was today’s contrived media Trump-outrage? Where was their shock and condemnation of the Democrats for not conceding for eight months?
Election fraud has consequences. So does the failure to stand up to it.
Getting far less attention were developments of far greater importance to Israel. Hillary Clinton was asked about Wikileaks revelations that she had favored open borders in private (insanely well-paid) speeches, but takes a vastly different position publicly. Her answer, though ridiculous (that she had meant open borders for energy and electrical grids — of course!) has generated little follow-up.
Of great interest to Israel-oriented voters, however, were emails revealing that her campaign was uniformly advising her to steer clear of any mention of Israel at Democratic campaign events — unless addressing Jewish audiences. This is worrisome for what is says about where the Democratic Party now stands regarding Israel.
Campaigning Democrats talk big to Jewish audiences about their “unshakeable” commitment to Israel. Then they turn around and undercut Israel’s security and diplomatic positions. In reality, most Democrats have only been fair-weather friends — when friendly at all. During the dark days of President Obama’s first term, when President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were gratuitously abusing Israel diplomatically to create “daylight” (their term) between the countries, where was the pushback from those unshakably friendly Congressional Democrats? Even the dozens of Jewish Democrats in Congress stood by, silent and meek. With friends like these…we need more Republicans.
In fact, it is Republicans — including Donald Trump — who stand up for Israel unapologetically. It is no coincidence that Republicans just passed the most pro-Israel platform in history — one that recognizes the depth and importance of the US-Israel relationship, forthrightly declaring: “Support for Israel is support for America…” From Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton on down, the Trump team is as pro-Israel as any ever assembled.
The Democrats, by contrast, debated platform amendments condemning Israel’s “occupation” and “illegal settlements.” True, those amendments were defeated. For now. With 44% of the vote. And backers chanting “Free, free Palestine!”
The Democrats have become the home to the growing ranks of BDS supporters and those who delegitimize the very existence of Israel. It is not at Republican events that Israeli flags are burned. It is worrisome.
As the Wikileaks show, Hillary is kowtowing to that wing of the party. From her naming J-Street darling Tim Kaine as her running mate to the alarming hostile-to-Israel voices advising her, we are getting a better idea of what a Hillary Clinton administration would mean for Israel. And it is ominous.
The presidency is about more than just the identity of the president. It is also about the entire administration a president puts in place. No matter how unpleasant the prospect for some voters, those with a concern for Israel’s future will do a lot better putting the Republicans back in power.
Marc Zell is co-chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel (“ROI”). Abe Katsman serves as counsel to ROI.