Hakeem’s Denial

U.S. Representative Hakeem Sekou Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who is about to become the House minority leader, enjoys far more indulgent media coverage than his colleague Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.). The New York Daily News, for example, can’t introduce Boebert, even when she expresses condolences for gay victims of a Colorado shooting, without referring to her as a figure of the “far right.” Needless to say, I’m still waiting for the national press to refer to the “far-left” Hakeem Jeffries. 

Despite his immunity to such indignities, the congressman from Brooklyn has voted consistently with the Left, whether in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, hampering both policing and the maintenance of criminal records, or advancing the LGBT agenda. Jeffries also has repeatedly and emphatically denied that Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, that is legally, and has attributed the election results to Russian interference. Jeffries even refused to attend Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, insisting that Trump had stolen the election with Kremlin support, and he launched a boycott of the event.

Such data makes evident the double standard that even establishment Republicans and Fox News anchors like Bret Baier accept regarding so-called election deniers. Jeffries’ adamant denial that Trump was truly elected president in 2016 has not kept the media from acclaiming him as someone worthy of our respect. Of course, similar acts of denial about Trump’s victory have not brought media harm to Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, or Kamala Harris. Moreover, cable channels are still slobbering over the twice-defeated Stacey Abrams, who continues to deny that she ever legally lost a gubernatorial race in Georgia. 

Election denial does not elicit media disapproval, we have to conclude, when Democrats engage in this action. Democrats, in fact, elicit media approval when they perform it, providing Democratic denials are linked to the customary charges of Russian collusion or, even better, “minority voting suppression.” It seems that the Democrats are not causing trouble when they challenge the election of Republicans to the offices that Democrats are claiming. Supposedly progressive leaders are calling our attention to the telltale heritage of Jim Crow, and/or Vladimir Putin’s alliance with the Republican National Committee. 

I was thinking of this recently when a longtime friend observed that the senatorial election just concluded in Pennsylvania must have been on the up and up. Otherwise, Dr. Mehmet Oz or his surrogates would have protested. I responded by asking rhetorically: “Who knows?” Even if massive irregularities occurred, providing they favored the Democrats, the media, including the electronic media, would not be eager to disclose that fact. In any case, no Republican who is charged with being an “election denier” will survive politically the way Jeffries has not only survived but thrived in his denial activity. The Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt has compared those who question the official election results in 2020 to those who deny Nazi mass murder.

No such outrageous comparison has been circulated about Jeffries and others who deny the 2016 results. Lipstadt, for example, only considers allegations of election fraud to be a danger to democracy if they’re uttered by Republicans. If the wrong people notice that Democratic municipal governments are mass producing voting ballots and sending them to addresses at which there are no present registered dwellers, and that Democratic administrations have dispensed with voter identification, then the unduly suspicious may be compared with impunity to Nazi sympathizers or even Holocaust deniers. 

Allow me to confess my ignorance about whether the brain-damaged social radical who will be Pennsylvania’s next U.S. senator won his race fairly. It is possible that he did, and then again, it’s possible that he didn’t. The problem is Republicans who complain about election irregularities can expect media intimidation and reckless media accusations. The only proper response to this situation is for Republicans to act in a way that addresses the possible fraud. 

Despite the squawking of CNN about “restrictive voting laws,” Governor Ron DeSantis has done what he could to ensure that the overwhelming majority of votes cast in Florida are deposited at polls on Election Day. DeSantis has imposed strict requirements on the use of mail-in ballots and has been able to enforce strict voter identification laws. None of these safeguards exist in Pennsylvania. It is impossible to imagine this discrepancy did not contribute to different election outcomes in our two states.

Still, I’ve no idea what can be done to end the media double standard when it comes to election deniers. If the media now deem this practice to be a threat to Our Democracy™, and an action characteristic of Nazis, then their rhetorical overkill only disadvantages one side. Nazism and racism are rampant in this land only when Republicans challenge elections that Democrats seem to have won, usually with the help of vote harvesters and a noticeable lack of voter identification. The same behavior becomes acceptable and even praiseworthy when Democratic politicians deny elections as champions of the supposedly underrepresented.

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About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images