Hillary Clinton, spoke on Thursday to a group of her donors, presumably reassuring them as to why the $1 billion-plus they spent on her wasn’t a colossal waste of money. She outspent Trump massively, while also having the vast majority of academia, the media, and pop culture behind her.
To lose with that sort of advantage at the foundation of her campaign from day one certainly makes this election result a contender for one of the greater upsets in political history. It had to be a tough ask, to get in front of the money men after such a catastrophe, which is probably why it took over a month for her to gather up the courage to face that music.
When she did, she chose to adopt the ‘Russia ate my homework’ explanation which had been a part of the discussion prior to the election, and has now been screamed from the rooftops afterward:
Speaking to a group of donors in Manhattan, Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Putin, the Russian president, had never forgiven her for the accusation she made in 2011, when she was secretary of state, that parliamentary elections his country held that year were rigged.
“Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people, and that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election,” Mrs. Clinton said.
It is the first time Mrs. Clinton has publicly addressed the impact of the hacks since the intelligence community concluded that they were specifically aimed at harming her campaign.
“Make no mistake, as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign,” Mrs. Clinton told the group, which collectively poured roughly $1 billion into her effort. “This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”
It wasn’t the fact that she was simply outworked by Trump. It wasn’t that she ran a campaign hyper-focused on an aggressive Identity Politics and a grievance culture which has long since worn out its welcome. It wasn’t that she merely assumed that because it was ‘her turn’ she would waltz to a coronation. It wasn’t that she was reckless with classified information while at Secretary of State. It wasn’t the fact that she was the poster child for modern day political corruption and pay-to-pay politics (exemplified by the very group she was speaking to).
It was the Russians and their mischievous hackers.
This Election Trutherism has been dutifully put forth by leftists and those in the Old Media who still cannot believe that Hillary Clinton lost the election. They have brought this Trutherism to a new level in recent days by lobbying for the Electoral College, which meets tomorrow, to reject the result of the election by denying Donald Trump the 270 votes he needs to become president. It is an exercise in hypocrisy and arrogance, not to mention a gross misinterpretation of the Constitution.
Last week, The Washington Post published this story, which alleged that the CIA had come to a definitive conclusion that the Russians were behind the shenanigans that took place during the election, and did so specifically to aid Donald Trump at the expense of Hillary Clinton:
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
There is plenty to note here, particularly the high level of vagueness involved. A ‘secret assessment,’ found that ‘actors’ with ‘connections’ to Russia leaked hacked emails to WikiLeaks, ‘according to US officials.’ There is not a shred of concrete evidence in any of these claims, and none has materialized since they were made.
Furthermore, that these alleged efforts were done with the express purpose of boosting Trump’s chances is also without evidence. The Post piece mentions that the CIA ‘findings’ had been questioned by other intelligence agencies, on the basis of there not being enough concrete information:
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.
For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.
These holes in the narrative were ‘corrected’ just a few days later when the major entities which comprise the Old Media reported that the intelligence community now believe that Vladamir Putin was directly involved, instructing the hacking and how it would be used. From NBC:
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.
In other words, the vague confirmation by anonymous ‘US officials’ that the Russians interfered with the election with the purpose of aiding Trump, was later backed up with ‘new intelligence’ from yet more anonymous ‘officials’ who declared that Putin was personally involved and even directed the whole thing.
Of course all of this vagueness can be justified as being necessary, so as to shield the sensitivity of ongoing intelligence work. The Post refers to this in its piece. However, that vagueness is also the perfect shield for narrative creation, which, in the context of the totality of the post-election events suggests that this is the likelier of the necessity of the ambiguity.
Spheres of Influence
The game is made much clearer once one advances from the contention that the Russians interfered with the election to the discussion of exactly how they interfered. Both Loretta Lynch on Thursday and President Obama yesterday unequivocally stated that there was no technical interference from Russia or anyone else in the election. In other words, voting machines were not tampered with, nor were votes incorrectly tallied, and things of that nature. This was confirmation from the highest level that the 2016 election was a free and fair one, at least in a pure technical sense.
So what is the outrage about? It stems from the fact that someone leaked emails from John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee to Wikileaks, who then leaked it to the public in driblets over the final months of the campaign. The Russians have been fingered as the ‘someone,’ and this has been spun to be evidence that the election was ‘hacked,’ and our Democratic Institutions have been tampered with.
That narrative is patently false, as Obama and Lynch have confirmed for us, and any characterization of Russian involvement in this manner is designed to deceive the audience. The Russians (if it was indeed them) engaged in an old fashioned data leak. That was it. They didn’t hack anything but John Podesta’s email account, and released its contents to the public.
The public was thus exposed to new information, which it absorbed and factored in to its decision making. If this constitutes an attempt to nefariously ‘interfere’ with the election, then the leak of the Billy Bush tape, in which Trump used some vulgar language in speaking about women, also qualifiesas an attempt to ‘interfere’ with the election.
Both leaks exposed pertinent information to the public about the candidates. That the Podesta and DNC leaks may have originated from international sources is irrelevant. The information itself was true, and damaging. Michael Tracey provides a bullet point list of what those leaks revealed in this piece, and he concludes it by correctly noting that what was leaked was most definitely in the public interest.
In short, the ‘Russians’ interfered with the US election by showing how the DNC and the Clinton campaign planned to themselves interfere with the US election by colluding with party bigwigs, donors and the media to stack the deck in her favor. They rigged the Democratic Party Primary against Bernie Sanders. Both Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile came under fire as heads of the DNC, with the former having to step down as a result. The latter was caught funneling debate questions to Clinton.
It exposed the private dealings of Hillary Clinton behind closed doors, notably her insistence that it was important to have both a private and public position on issues. It shed light onto some of the more shady dealings of the Clinton Foundation which coincided with Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. The leaks ultimately put some meat onto the bones of the concept that rampant political corruption goes on at the highest levels of modern government. Most people always suspected this, but lacked the concrete evidence. In many ways, those leaks provided that evidence.
It is telling that throughout the campaign, as the leaks were being delivered, those parties involved never outright denied the validity of the information being released. The most they could do was to appeal to the same sort alarm over foreign intrusion which has been taken to new heights post election.
The whole thing is reminiscent of the poker scene from the 1973 movie, The Sting, featuring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Newman’s character, Shaw, outwits a mobster, Lonnegan, playing in a private game. The idea was to set Shaw up by trick dealing him a four of a kind, which in poker is a virtually unbeatable hand. This would induce Shaw to end up betting all of his chips, and possibly more, on such a sure thing. Lonnegan, carrying a second deck in his pocket, ‘dealt’ himself a better four of a kind, and thus would have shown down with Lonnegan, losing everything, thus completing the scam.
Shaw, wise to the gambit, was ready for it, and when the time came made a switch. The movie doesn’t show how he did it, but Shaw had originally been dealt four threes, while Lonnegan had been dealt four nines. The betting carries on until both players are all in. Shaw then turns over four jacks, to the dismay of all in the room. Lonnegan, defeated, storms into a side room angry enough to kill. His associate, bewildered, tells Lonnegan: “Doyle, I know I gave him four THREES. He had to make a switch. We can’t let him get away with that.”
Lonnegan response was famous: “What was I supposed to do – call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?”
Unlike those on the left, Lonnegan understood that you can’t call someone out for being crooked when you are crooked yourself. Having been outsmarted, Lonnegan accepted Shaw had bested him and moved on.
Instead, the left has responded by ramping up the outrage, making it seem as though they had been wronged. Again, both the Attorney General and the President of the United States confirmed that the 2016 electoral process was a free and fair one, devoid of technical interference by any perpetrator, foreign or domestic.
Despite this, democrat politicians, aided by their leftist friends in the Old Media have succeeded in driving the hysteria about Russian involvement into the stratosphere. What happened was a data leak by unknown actors, who could have been foreign. What the old media has implicated, in their usage of terms such as ‘hacked the election,’ is that some sort of advanced espionage operation took place, which was coordinated to install Donald Trump as president.
In the past week or so op–ed after op-ed has filled the pages of newspapers across the country decrying the now ‘tainted’ election, calling on the Electoral College to rectify the situation when it meets on Monday. They’ve even resorted to the failed tactic of trotting out celebs to stand in front of a white wall delivering a public service announcement instructing the Electors to stand up for America and do the right thing, which is to not confirm Trump’s presidency. Naturally, the video has disabled comments and the like/dislike button.
Suddenly, Constitutional Originalism is In Vogue
Vox wrote this piece a few weeks ago to explain why it would be a legitimate action for the Electoral College to not vote for Trump, citing the constitution and Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers writings. To be sure, it would be legitimate for the Electors to do whatever they wanted, individual state rules notwithstanding. The constitution allows for them to do this. However, the standard reasoning provided by leftist for why they should vote for someone other than Trump is wrong. The Vox article writes:
Constitutional history makes clear that the founders had three main purposes in designing the Electoral College.
The first was to stop a demagogue from becoming president. At the Constitutional Convention, arguing in support of the Electoral College, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said he was “against a popular election” for president because the people would be “misled by a few designing men.” In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the electors would prevent those with “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. They would also stop anyone who would “convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements.”
The characterization of Trump as a demagogue is a matter of opinion. The fact that political pundits in the old media refer to Trump as a demagogue nearly every time they speak about him does not make it a fact. The fact that Trump did tap into a huge wave of populism does not render his policies or his victory somehow illegitimate simply because of that populism.
Consider that Trump has been called a racist xenophobe for putting forth an immigration proposal that seeks to rigorously enforce existing law which for many years has been ignored on many levels. The fact that this is such a popular stance among his supporters and played a huge role in his victory has been used as an example of his ‘demagoguery.’
In terms of a ‘violent movement,’ to the left Trump’s campaign qualifies as such given his signal to aggressively follow the law means that those who break the law are going to be in for an uncomfortable time, to put it mildly. In the realm of immigration, this means illegal immigrants, a protected class of the left, are going to be subject to the ‘violence’ of facing consequences for breaking American immigration laws.
It says a lot about where we are as a society when calls to follow the law can be considered to be demagoguery, no matter how brash they are.
As for Hamilton’s wish to essentially banish charming, engaging, charismatic celebrity types from holding the office, if this is to be the standard, then most of the presidents in the television era are ineligible. Indeed, the 1960 Presidential Debates are immortalized based on the simple fact that the introduction of television altered the perception of the two candidates’ performances. Famously, those who listened on the radio believed that Nixon won, while those who watched on television believed Kennedy was more effective. Kennedy was the more visually appealing of the two, standing calm and assured, while Nixon famously looked a sweating mountain of nerves.
According to the standard now being imposed by the left, Kennedy’s superior charisma and charm should have been taken into account by the Electoral College, especially given the razor thin margin of his victory. Subsequent presidents in the TV era, from Reagan, to Bill Clinton, and even President Obama won, in part, on the strength of their charm, natural persuasion and ability to relate to people. They all displayed ‘talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity,’ because it is a successful, almost necessary tactic in an era so influenced by television.
On the whole, this point is a non-starter, at all levels. Vox continues:
The second goal was to stop foreign interference in election. In the founding period, the framers were extremely concerned about infiltration by rivals including Great Britain. In Federalist No. 68, Hamilton wrote that one major purpose of the Electoral College was to stop the “desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” He said that the college would “Guard against all danger of this sort … with the most provident and judicious attention” from the electors.
There is slightly more to this point, as I’ve discussed above. However, nothing about the Russian hacking rises to the level of gaining ‘an improper ascendant in our councils.’ If anything fits that bill, it would be the behind closed doors declaration of Hilary Clinton to international bankers that her dream was to establish a ‘hemispheric common market’ across North America, that would benefit globalist interest. It would be the Uranium One deal Clinton help broker with, you guessed it, Russia, as Secretary of State.
These are the sorts of things consistent with foreign entities looking to install a puppet as opposed to a relatively mundane action like a data leak. More from Vox:
The third goal was to prevent poor administration of government. This is a less well-known purpose of the Electoral College, but it is again expressly discussed in Federalist No. 68. Hamilton wrote that “the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration,” and for that reason, he said, the electors should be “able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration.”
Vox claimed that Trump had violated this goal because of his popular vote defeat, but that certainly isn’t evidence of anything. In fact the Electoral College exists precisely to prevent the majority vote from potentially harming the nation as a whole. Given that the majority voted against Trump, and thus against the rule of law to favor the nebulous concept of ‘racism’ as it is defined in 2016, the Electoral College worked exactly as it should have on November 8.
So while it is within the rights of the Electors to cast their votes in a manner that would deny Trump the presidency, the threat to the republic that is bandied as the reason for doing so does not exist. Trump is not a demagogue or foreign puppet and has not exhibited a stark inability to execute a good administration. The only ones who truly believe this are leftists and globalist Republicans, who collectively find Trump to be objectionable.
The grounds on which they have been objecting to Trump are the extension of a concept I’ve repeated over the latter stages of the election; that is the idea that racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and so on are the gravest of societal sins while simultaneously being near ubiquitous in modern society. From the vantage point of this current cultural milieu, Trump is an illegitimate president, owing to his supposed racism and xenophobia.
Therefore, from this vantage point, looking to the Constitution for guidance, and encouraging the Electors to reject Trump is a legitimate course of action. More from Vox:
Modern-day conservatives favor so-called “originalist” understandings of the Constitution. They look to history and to the original texts of our founding documents for guidance. Recent decades have seen the invocation of original constitutional institutions to address present concerns, such as when the Rehnquist Court struck down Congressional laws such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Gun-Free School Zones Act on the grounds that they violated an originalist understanding of the Commerce Clause.
Whether or not you agree with such decisions, they establish the broad-spectrum appeal of our constitutional institutions — particularly in times of crisis. “Make America great again” is a clever marketing slogan. But our real greatness depends on employing our institutions and values to protect our republic from those who might prey on us.
This is written without a hint of irony, given the general leftist aversion to ‘originalist’ interpretation of Constitutional texts. Just in the last year or two they belittled the originalist opposition to gay marriage laws and Obamacare. Thus, their sudden sprint into the bosom of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison is tinged with hypocrisy.
As is Election Trutherism in general, given the fact that before the election Trump was hailed a threat to the 240 year republic for merely stating that he would wait to confirm the legitimacy of the election result rather than blindly accepting it. Now that Trump has won, the same factions which decried him are not accepting the election results, owing to their disagreements with Trump’s politics wrapped in the veneer of foreign meddling.
Had the shoe been on the other foot, there would have been calls for Trump’s arrest for disrupting the ‘peaceful transition of power’ in the way the leftists are doing to Trump.
Trump is a threat because his flouting Politically Correct cultural norms threatens the source of power that leftists have used to wield their influence on society. By establishing their opinions on social issues as the moral ones, mere disagreements are thus immoral, and therefore their disruptions become justified. Of course their views are conjecture, and nothing more.
Despite the jittering protestations of the likes of Keith Olberman, in a free and fair election, Donald Trump won 306 Electoral College votes, and thus the Presidency. None of the contingencies which should prompt the Electors to intervene exist. Even if the Electors chose to overturn the electoral vote on Monday, the decision would go to the House of Representatives, who would most likely elect Trump.
The entire episode is part of the drive to de-legitimize the Trump presidency. It is an attempt for leftists to deny responsibility for their loss, despite having the deck stacked in its favor. In crying foul, they give themselves an out. The drudges across the political establishment, from media pundits and columnists, to polling companies, to campaign advisers, lobbyists and other insiders, all rely on the status quo for their daily bread. That they completely misread Trump’s candidacy and the American electorate, even well after the election has ended, indicates that their usefulness is over.
Unless the election was literally stolen, swindled from under their noses. In this case, it wasn’t their fault. Their world view, their reading of current events, their prescriptions for the future were actually correct; it was unforeseen injustice which got in their way. It’s incredibly self-serving.
It is also incredibly encouraging to those of us who were on The Right Side Of History the entire time. Because to us, these flare-ups and meltdowns emanating from the left confirm that they have no wish to change. They have no wish to stop trying to foist their delusions of equality and social justice on the rest of the public, through the ‘everything and everyone is racist’ mode of argument. A mode of argument which, had just received a resounding defeat in the marketplace of ideas, as evidenced by the election results, and the growing influence of internet culture.
So let the leftists continue down this line for as long as they wish. Their losses will accrue accordingly.