“Rigged” is a favorite word of Donald Trump and his allies. 

It describes how institutions and processes have been distorted by a progressive elite to tilt the playing field against Trump and his supporters. 

For the former president, it’s an all-purpose charge lodged against anything he dislikes and is especially useful as applied to the 2020 election, since it can vaguely encompass everything from sharp practices by the other side to outright theft. 

When Trump made his statement to reporters Wednesday morning prior to the jury getting Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case, he repeatedly used the word “rigged,” and in this instance, he was absolutely right. 

The charges were rigged, the prosecution’s presentation of the case was rigged, the judge’s management of the case was rigged, the gag order was rigged, and the instructions to the jury were rigged. 

The whole thing was rigged from beginning to end, in the hopes of — to the extent this case and the guilty verdict will matter in November — rigging the presidential election. 

If this had happened in an alderman race in Cook County, Ill., it’d be discomfiting enough, but it happened in what purports to be the greatest city in the world and involves the campaign to become the most powerful political leader in the free world. 

Any tactic to stop him 

The high stakes would, one hopes, compel the authorities to have the most exacting standard for their own conduct and put a premium on maintaining the perception and reality of fairness.

The logic of rigging runs the opposite way, though — because it is considered so imperative to stop Don­ald Trump, any means of opposing him becomes acceptable, indeed necessary. 

By any normal standard, Alvin Bragg failed in his duty as a prosecutor by flagrantly distorting the process to manufacture the 34 felonies he charged Trump with. 

Yet, by the prevailing standard on the left, he has faithfully fulfilled his duty by so effectively rigging the criminal-justice system against the man they hate and fear. 

One possible reaction to Trump from his adversaries would have been to emphasize their commitment to rules and norms and to do everything they could to buttress them and make the case for them. 

Instead, they threw out the rule book beginning in 2016 and have pursued Trump according to the ethic that the ends justify the means, and that consistency, reason, and fairness are for suckers. 

To be sure, this approach has its temptations, especially for people who never particularly cared for process or rules to begin with.

But their recklessness has further undermined faith in the system, while the alluring idea that there’s a shortcut to diminishing or defeating Trump has so far proved illusory. 

Alvin Bragg and Judge Juan Merchan have set a new standard for rigging, and nothing good will come of it.

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