THE TWEETER-IN-CHIEF was busy over the weekend, ranting over a move by Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president, to challenge the votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania - states where Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by narrow margins.
Trump tweeted that Stein's actions were a "scam" and that he not only won the electoral vote, but would have won the popular vote on Nov. 8 were it not for millions of "illegal" votes cast.
He offered no proof because there is none. Clinton leads her Republican opponent by more than 2 million votes nationwide. There is no evidence that there were many illegal votes, let alone several million.
Trump has complained long and loud about vote fraud and "rigged elections." But that was before he won the presidency. If he were a normal politician, it would seem odd that he would claim to win the popular vote when there is hard evidence he did not. But, then, the president-elect is not a normal politician. Not a normal man, for that matter.
Trump is going with the flow of his party, though. Republicans have made claims of voter fraud part of their brand. (The rule of thumb is: If the Republican candidate wins, the system works fine; if a Democrat wins, it must be because of fraud.)
What's surprising is to see that Stein - with an assist from the Clinton camp - has picked up that cudgel to cast doubt on the validity of the totals in Michigan, where Trump won by 10,704 votes; Wisconsin, where his margin was 22,177 votes; and Pennsylvania, which Trump won by 71,294 votes.
In Pennsylvania, she has gone to court asking it to force a recount of votes in the state because of the possibility of fraud. Her problem is: There are no allegations of fraud. She has no examples of fraudulent voting in the state. What she has is a paper by a computer science professor who has written that voting systems are vulnerable to attacks by hackers. (The same professor has written that there is no evidence that hacking occurred in this election.)
So, Stein has no evidence of fraud, by hacking or other means, but she feels it is imperative to conduct official (and very expensive recounts) to answer doubts she has raised about the integrity of voting system.
For the record, Stein has said she does not believe a recount would result in a change in the outcomes in the three states. Nor would it help her candidacy. She got 1 percent of the popular vote nationwide on Nov. 8. She got 49,312 votes out of 6 million cast in Pennsylvania.
We don't know whether to laugh or cry over Stein's and Trump's allegations. Absent any credible evidence to the contrary, losing an election is not proof that your opponent engaged in fraud. It means he got more votes. Losing a close election is not proof of fraud or vote tampering. It means the election was close. The history books are filled with examples of elections in which a candidate won by one vote, or a dozen. There have even been ties.
Casting doubts on the results also casts doubt on the integrity of thousands of voting officials - Republicans and Democrats - who work hard to make sure the voting system functions honestly and well, often with bare-bones budgets.
As a nation, we cannot embrace the notion that all elections are rigged and infested with fraud, that magical and mysterious forces are fixing the outcome in advance. Such poisonous beliefs could be fatal to the notion of democracy.