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Let’s talk about what an illegitimate election is so protesters get their signs right

In this March 15, 2016, file photo, a primary election voter casts a provisional ballot at a polling place in Westerville, Ohio. In Ohio, one of the biggest prizes in the 2016 presidential election, groups have challenged shortened early voting, procedures for absentee and provisional ballots and the process for purging voters from registration rolls, potentially affecting when voters can cast ballots and how ballots are counted. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

A new report on links between President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the Russians is going to further inflame people who insist on using incorrect terms such as hacked election and illegitimate election.

I hate the idea that our president’s top campaign guy — at least for a few months in 2016 — made a bunch of money helping out Vladimir Putin and may have tried to influence Trump to take it easy on Russia.

And I hate the idea there may be a direct link between the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaigns, the Russians and the Trump campaign.

But even if all of that happened, that still doesn’t equal a hacked election or an illegitimate election.

What it equals is criminal behavior.

The people who participated in such a scheme – if we find a link there – should go to prison. And, if it’s discovered that then-candidate Trump played a part in the stealing of information, the sitting president of the United States of America should also be eligible for a prison cell.

But that still doesn’t equal a hacked election or an illegitimate election.

That would require manipulation of the vote totals. In other words, a fraudulent casting or a fraudulent counting of the actual votes cast.

Not what was said in the media; not what was said by the candidates or their campaigns.

During the dramatic (but not really revealing) House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, both Admiral Mike Rogers of the NSA and FBI Director James Comey replied “no,” when asked by committee chair Devin Nunes if they had any evidence that Russian hackers changed vote tallies.

I was mixing it up with a guy on Twitter who was telling people that they need to take to the streets to protest the illegitimate election of Trump. When I pointed out that there were no reports of the manipulation of vote totals, he replied that the presidential election was still illegitimate if a “massive state-run disinformation attack…was coordinated with the Trump campaign.”

Wrong there too!

There was no disinformation put out there, at least not as part of a “state-run attack.”

I’m assuming, of course that he means Russia when he says “state-run attack” of disinformation and I’m assuming that you know I’m not referring to the stupid things that fell out of Trump’s mouth on the campaign trail when I use the term disinformation.

That’s because, even if Trump himself used his laptop to hack emails, none of the owners of those emails have said that they were fake or made up.

In other words, information was disseminated because of the hack, not disinformation.

“But,” some would argue, “those emails still cost Hillary the election!”

Really?!

No one (at least that I’ve heard from so far) has been able to say exactly what in those emails hurt Clinton. And if it did hurt Hillary, there’s no one to blame for what’s in those emails other than the people who wrote the emails. They weren’t Russian and they weren’t in the Trump campaign. They were in the DNC and her campaign.

When one considers how the DNC seemed to be all-in for Hillary — to the detriment of candidate Bernie Sanders — one could make an argument that what we witnessed was an illegitimate Democratic nomination, not an illegitimate general election.

I want to be clear about this, lest I get accused of being a Trump sycophant: I want people prosecuted and thrown in prison if they helped a foreign government steal the private information of my fellow citizens in an attempt to try to influence American voters, especially if it involved Vladimir Putin.

He is one of the nastiest, sneakiest enemies of true democracy in this world, a man who doesn’t think twice about having his enemies jailed or murdered and allows his country’s armed forces to participate in the murder of innocent Syrian children.

I am all for their prosecution. And if people want to take to the streets, I’m all for that too. I just want them to know what they’re protesting.

That way they can at least get the verbiage on their signs right.

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