Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Trump should give up baseless claims about rigged popular vote

President-elect Donald Trump is railing against the very system that will put him in the White House. Without any substantiation whatsoever, the man who will be president went on a Twitter rant this weekend, saying he would have "won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." This is a baseless assertion that undermines the faith that Americans should have in their system of free and fair elections. In fact, the Times' own PolitiFact.com rates the claim Pants on Fire.

Trump's daylong series of angry Twitter posts Sunday was precipitated by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, successfully seeking a recount in Wisconsin and potentially in Michigan and Pennsylvania as well. Trump leads in Wisconsin by 22,177 votes, in Michigan by 10,704 and in Pennsylvania by 68,695. Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton's campaign did not initiate any call for a recount, but to protect her interests and to honor the millions who voted for her, it has agreed to take part since one is under way. Even so, the Clinton campaign acknowledges reality and doesn't expect anything to change. The Clinton team's general counsel said her campaign has not discovered any "actionable evidence" of hacking or attempts to tamper with the vote.

In other words, they are appropriately participating in a lawful, fact-based process to confirm what they already expect to be true — that Trump won the Electoral College vote fair and square. What is not appropriate is for a president-elect to cast doubt — without a shred of evidence — on the integrity of the American system of electing its president. Trump went even further with a later tweet, another fact-free assertion of "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias — big problem!"

Clinton currently leads Trump in the popular vote by 2,243,329 votes, but he will win the Electoral College by 306 votes to her 232. That is the way the U.S. Constitution mandates that Americans elect their president. (In a column on the facing page, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig makes an interesting historical argument for why the electors should pick Clinton rather than Trump, but he is wrong.)

In participating in a recount in Wisconsin, Clinton's campaign will merely confirm what is already known. She accepts the result. Why can't he? The president-elect needs to become more presidential. The chaotic candidate of change needs to become a more stable force — now. There is too much at stake not to be sober and serious. The challenges, to use the president-elect's phrase, are big-league.

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Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18