One idea that has been circulating is that Trump’s accusations of voter fraud and rigged elections are novel, that there was a time when honorable Republicans didn’t do such things. Honorable Republicans like, let’s say, former Senate Majority Leader and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole (boldface mine):
In the litany of complaints detailed by Mr. Dole today, there was a new charge: that the Democrats were ”rushing” immigrants with criminal backgrounds into the country so they could vote for President Clinton.
”We have all these new people coming into America, rushing through the immigration process,” Mr. Dole said. ”We find out that maybe as high as 10 percent are criminals. They want to get them ready for Election Day.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune has reported that Vice President Al Gore’s staff, according to White House documents, pushed the Immigration and Naturalization Service to accelerate its plans to naturalize one million immigrants in time to vote. The assumption was that most new citizens would vote Democratic.
Trump is not an aberration. He might differ in degree, but not in kind. Republicans have been playing this vile game for a very long time. The only difference now is that, occasionally, it comes back to bite them in the ass.