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Thoughts On the Potential Russian Involvement in an Ultimately Illegitimate Election

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  • There is one thing Donald Trump was (opportunistically) right about in his outrageous statement yesterday: nothing the CIA says should be taken at face value. Do I think the Russian  state was involved in the DNC hacks? Probably. And one major difference from Iraq: God knows we know Obama wasn’t pressuring them to cook the intelligence. But, still, I wouldn’t say the charges have been proven.

 

  • I, myself, don’t think that the precise source of the hacks is all that big a deal, although the potential Russian involvement will get many more people interested. We certainly know from the fact that the information targeted only one party, how it was sold, and what was excluded (as a commenter points out, no emails with oppo research on Trump) that Wikileaks was trying to throw the election to Trump. Not only do we know that now, it was blindingly obvious at the time.

 

  • Like the Comey scandal, this is really a media scandal. As Yglesias says, “Russian hackers could steal Podesta’s emails but it took an ideologically diverse set of American writers to misrepresent what they said…Whoever stole them for whatever reason, the vast bulk of the damage was done by irresponsible reporting not the hack per se.” 100% correct.  And while the relentless hyping of inane trivia as if it was a major scandal is particularly irritating coming from media organs of the ostensible left, the relentless hyping of inane trivia as if it was a major scandal by media outlets like the Washington Post was surely much more consequential.

 

  • Does this mean that the leaks shouldn’t have been reported on? No. But they should have been reported on with an appropriate skepticism given the obvious agenda behind them. To put it mildly, they weren’t. As with the Clinton Foundation stories, once reporters invested enough time they were unwilling to write stories that just said “we looked and there’s nothing here.” And by carefully portioning out the emails to ensure a steady drip of stories, Wikileaks played the media beautifully. But reporters and editors have agency: they didn’t have to be the cat’s paw of what was at least a libertarian ratfucking operation.   They chose to.

 

  • Mitch McConnell will be an interesting case study in whether there’s anything a major Republican politician can do to get the kind of contemptuous media treatment Hillary Clinton receives. It seems kind of important that the Senate majority leader put upper-class tax cuts and getting a neoconfederate on the Supreme Court over the security of the country and the integrity of its elections. He really is a disgusting figure even by contemporary Republican standards, and further reaffirms that Trump isn’t just some wild outlier.

 

  • I’ve gone back and forth about what Obama should have done. My first inclination is that he should have gone public despite McConnell’s threats. And, in retrospect, this was the best course of action — having campaign coverage dominated by a he said-she said discussion of whether Russia was throwing the election to Trump would have been better than what did dominate the final two weeks of election coverage. But at the time, Obama didn’t know how the election would turn out, and (reasonably) believed that Clinton was going to win, so going public would have poisoned her relations with Russia and undermined the CIA investigation. Unlike the Comey appointment, which was a disastrous blunder at the time, this was more a reasonable choice among bad options.

 

  • To make a related and highly unoriginal observation, a substantial portion of the collision of trainwrecks that produced President Trump was caused by people assuming Clinton would win. Clinton was covered from an aggressively adversarial pose as if she was already president, which led in part to the relentless flogging of EMAILS and A DONOR EMAILED HUMA ABEDIN stories — if you don’t have scandals you can make do with pseudo-scandals because you need something. Trump, on the other hand, was covered negatively but not really seriously.  Very few of the editors and reporters, mainstream or left, who created the impression of false equivalence actually thought that Clinton and Trump were comparably bad or dangerous figures. But because they didn’t think Trump would win — and, pro forma qualifications aside, until the Comey letter I didn’t think there was any real chance he would win either — we are where we are. And while the erroneous assumption was understandable, creating the strong implication that Hillary Clinton was the corrupt and dishonest candidate in a contest with Donald Trump is unforgivable.
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  • Denverite

    Please take that picture down. It’s like he’s staring into my soul so as to steal it.

    • MikeJake

      Everybody Loves HypnoPutin.

      • All glory to HypnoPutin

        • Ghostship

          Wow, it’s just got even more hypnotic. Trump is starting to look like the most sane person in Washington

          Trump, Mocking Claim That Russia Hacked Election, at Odds with G.O.P.

          Instead, Mr. Trump casts the issue as an unknowable mystery. “It could be Russia,” he recently told Time magazine. “And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

          I always knew that most senior Republican politicians were batshit crazy but now I reckon that even moderate senior Republican politicians are batshit crazy as, unfortunately, are most senior Democratic politicians. Is there something wrong with the water in Washington? Has Putin been pumping LSD into the Washington water supply? Quick, someone should drop a fraction of a bitcoin on Putin and have the CIA investigate.
          BTW, what I really came over here to say and I know it will be regarded as tedious but when I see the mass hysteria gripping this site, I feel I should make an effort to calm things down so:

          Has any one thought why the CIA might want to dump tonnes of fake shit on Putin’s head? Why they might be pissed off enough with him to produce this crap? It couldn’t be that he’s almost destroyed the CIA’s BBFs from Al Nusrah (aka Al Qaeda) and their head-chopping associates in East Aleppo. It looks like their wet dream of regime change in Syria has gone the way of the Norwegian Blue. So if I was in the CIA, I’d be pretty pissed off at Putin, enough to make such moronic claims.

          • Hogan

            Thank you for not linking. I prefer to use alcohol to destroy my brain cells.

            • Lost Left Coaster

              I wonder sometimes in these cases if it’s just a matter that:

              Putting text into block quotes makes it look ever more serious and surely must be real analysis from somewhere credible.

              • Hogan

                “BBF” kinda kills the fantasy.

          • Da, tovarishch. A u vas negrov linchuyut.

            (I tried to post this with the actual Cyrillic characters for extra authenticity, and it didn’t show up. Sorry about that. Strangely, posting seems to work better from my phone these days than from my actual computer. FYWP.)

            • Jameson Quinn

              Wow, I speak Russian now! I understood that! (And if it had been in Cyrillic, I might have still understood it!)

              But I’ve always been able to post unicode in LGM. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

              • As can be seen below, I was able to post in Unicode on my phone. Can’t post in Unicode on my computer. IDGI either.

          • ColBatGuano

            So, you’re a Trump supporter then? Good to know.

          • Manny Kant

            Has anyone figured out whether Ghostship is a Republican troll or a leftier than thou troll?

            He’s like our very own Michael Tracey.

            • BartletForGallifrey

              Has anyone ever seen them in the same room?

    • BGinCHI

      So that’s what Damian from the Omen movies looks like all growed up.

    • muddy

      Going to give me a nightmare!

      • DrDick

        He already did, Donald Trump!

    • John Revolta

      Can’t…………look…………..away…………..must resist urge to………….drink……….. ….VODKA…………..*gasp*

      Oh, what the hell. Pass me the Stoli.

    • Morbo
      • Just according to план. (Translator’s note: план means plan.)

        • veleda_k

          I’m kind of in love with you right now. I have to go eat potato chips dramatically.

  • BGinCHI

    …a substantial portion of the collision of trainwrecks that produced President Trump was caused by people assuming Clinton would win.

    This is an incredibly important observation.

    A great swath of the American people want an aspirational leader: they want to believe in something that will change a system they believe takes a person of will (as in, the Triumph of). Trump had upside for these people as long as he was not in power. Clinton had no upside for these people because she is a Clinton, had a lot of government experience, etc.

    The next Dem nominee needs to have a greater awareness of this. Competence is, sadly, not a plus for the low info folks.

    • Cheerfull

      Whenever I want to feel particularly sad I think of that SNL skit about the final debate, where the moderators agree they can just go ahead and call her President Clinton at this point. I think for some she was already president and thus open to all the standard critiques for a president, and then some (because a Clinton). They didn’t realize how fragile a construct U.S. democracy actually is.

      • Pedant’s note: it was from their “second and worst ever” debate skit, not the last one.

        I loved those skits at the time and watched them all nearly enough to memorise them. I haven’t been able to watch them since the election and I’m not sure I ever will.

    • Couple of thought: exits showed more people voted for Clinton than against Trump, more against Clinton than for Trump. I don’t think Trump was aspirational at all, While Clinton was, in particular for among women.

      Second, There was an extraordinarily small number of voters who were deciding between Trump & Clinton. The dynamics were more opt in or some version of opt out: Some college-educated mod Repubs were considering voting for Hillary. But mostly potential Trump voters were going between voting Trump, voting Johnson or McMullen, & not voting. Potential Clinton voters went between her, Stein/Johnson–likely a third of Johnson voters were Dem-leaning mods/libs–or not voting. At the time of the first Comey letter Hillary was consolidating the last of the gettable Bernie people, the “I don’t trust Her & need to be convinced to vote for her” group, the potential third-party voters, less enthused African Americans,& working class white women. Per internals at the time–both Dem & Repub–she was consolidating everyone, flipping the few swing D-or-R voters, and he was collapsing, opening leads in places like GA & AZ, & looking like she’d win NC, FL, OH, possibly even IA, & it was getting close in IN, MO, even AK.

      Comey’s first letter stopped the consolidation dead. The race immediately tightened. But after 3-4 days it stabilized and she had a modest but what looked like a stable lead in all the Obama 2012 states except OH & IA, & the early vote numbers were terrific. But then Comey 2 came out, and I’ve heard from Repubs as well as Dems, there was a surge of Trump voters, especially in rural areas.

      Comey 1&2 were the biggest hits. But they were more devastating because of the media body blows, especially over emails, the foundation, and especially the DNC hack. The last one is my minor obsession, because there was absolutely nothing in them that showed any effect that gained Hillary a vote or cost Bernie one. That may have been the single worst reported story of the campaign.

      • EliHawk

        Worth remembering that all the groundowrk for the DNC hack were laid in the ongoing months of the primary, to the point that on the last SNL of last season you had “Hillary” and “Bernie” agreeing that the primaries were “So rigged. So so rigged.” The fact that his people made going after DWS a vendetta, to the point to trying to primary her (and backing a kooky gadfly to do it) all the way through the END OF AUGUST, just gave more credence and crediblity to every little scrap someone could grasp on to say that the DNC was ‘rigged’ against him and stole the nomination unfairly. After all, if it had been fair and square, why is DWS getting fired? And why is he primarying her? There must be some truth to this!

        • BartletForGallifrey

          It’s almost like there’s a reason us crazy neolib Hillbots are furious with him.

          • cpinva

            “It’s almost like there’s a reason us crazy neolib Hillbots are furious with him.”

            now, now, you need to put on your “more in disappointment than anger.” t-shirt. that some people want to believe something, with absolutely zero basis in fact, that they’ll go to desperate means to do so, requires that we “try to understand them, and their flagrant stupidity”, rather than be upset with them, just because their flagrant stupidity may have helped put a raging Vonnegut moron in the white house.

            it’s probably good that I so very rarely meet most posters on this (or any other) site in person, it would take all of my will power, to keep from clunking some of them over the head, with whatever hard object is nearest at hand. that would be wrong. sort of.

  • Cheerfull

    Your first point re the CIA is true, they are not, taken as a whole, a completely credible source. But that raises the question – who would be on a thing like this? Other than a full confession by Putin, (and some would question the motives for that) how would we the citizenry, know what is actually true?

    The best I can think of is multiple different sources, including outside the government, saying the same thing, but that will put a pretty heavy burden on verification.

    Of course, as implied by the rest of your post, not knowing for sure is no excuse for not acting based on the probabilities of what is known.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Ahem…Both sides do it…(ducks)… :-)

      But, still, I wouldn’t say the charges have been proven.

      I’ve gone back and forth about what Obama should have done. My first inclination is that he should have gone public despite McConnell’s threats. And, in retrospect, this was the best course of action — having campaign coverage dominated by a he said-she said discussion of whether Russia was throwing the election to Trump would have been better than what did dominate the final two weeks of election coverage.

      The standard I argued for–and was pilloried for–is that the ethical bias should be to release more information rather than less. While Comey’s actions had bad consequences the bias in a democracy should be transparency. I explicitly argued using this very example that if the Administration had information linking Trump to Putin they should likewise release it because the worst possible thing would be for voters to learn disqualifying potentially criminal information after the election.

      That was always the best standard because of the precise situation we find ourselves in. I’m glad Scott finally came around to the sensible position. Welcome to the club.

      • Hogan

        This assumes that Comey had anything you could regard as “information.”

        • DrDick

          Which he admitted, at the time, he did not.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Puh-leeze he had a whole new laptop of information. Again this is just playing partisanship with principles. You don’t do that with elections.

            • aturner339

              This is a bit like saying that if he found Hillary Clinton ‘ s library card it would resent a while building full of information. The clear implication is that the “information” he had was not relevant.

              Which… it wasn’t.

              • ThrottleJockey

                It’s not because Scott–explicitly–doesn’t think the Russia allegations are even proved. So it amounts to the same thing. Now he supports Pre-releasing unproven information and letting the voters decide. Before he didn’t. This is outcome driven moralizing, not principle driven moralizing.

            • Hogan

              He had a laptop. He had no idea whether the information was new.

            • lhartmann

              Dude, prosecutors do *not* go public with information unless and until they have evidence that would warrant prosecution. No less than former prosecutor Bill Weld reiterated this. Moreover, Comey is not a prosecutor. Announcements of prosecutions are made by the DOJ. Go read David Cole on the standards for ethical behavior.

              • ThrottleJockey

                You can’t very well criticize Comey for usurping the prosecutors role of you didn’t when he exonerated her.

                • Hogan

                  At that point he had actually looked at evidence. Not at the end of October.

                  Also, for definitions of “exonerated” that include “despite our best efforts, we were unable to develop all the evidence necessary to lock the bitch Secretary Clinton up because she’s that clever, but she’s shady as hell and probably put every American at risk. Draw your own conclusions.”

                • JMP

                  How is it he exonerated her when he got up and falsely attacked her while admitting that he found she had not done anything illegal throughout his witch hunt determined to find any excuse whatsoever to indict her, no matter how much he wanted to?

                • ColBatGuano

                  You should look up “exonerate” in the dictionary.

            • brad

              No, he didn’t.
              A separate criminal investigation into Weiner being a disgusting pervert to a criminal degree had his laptop for the purpose of preserving evidence of him being sexual with a minor. There was no demonstrable reason to believe he, at this late point, had any access to any relevant material, and ample reason not to believe so. Without so much as a judge even agreeing there was potentially relevant info on said laptop, let alone vetting the info before going public with linking a sexual deviant with her, Comey broke tradition and arguably the law. Later saying “Oops, nah” does not diminish the impact or error.

              You keep saying you hate Trump, but you have no problem swallowing the lies he and his spew. Either join reality or stfu, you useless idiot.

              • I’ll say it again: if the GOP wasn’t so hostile towards people of TJ’s skin color he’d have been at those rallies chanting “lock her up!” and “trump the bitch!” with the rest of them.

                .

    • cpinva

      “The best I can think of is multiple different sources, including outside the government, saying the same thing, but that will put a pretty heavy burden on verification.”

      in the auditing biz, the best sources, for confirmation of an assertion, are unrelated, third-parties. these would be the ones that would be (normally) considered those least likely to have anything to gain by lying to you. as well, contemporaneously created documentation is generally deemed far more reliable, than documents created well after the fact.

      the very huge problem with converting the news segment of media into a “profit center”, is that it gives them greater incentive to either lie outright, or put a disingenuous spin on a story, to generate a higher number of looks (or clicks, whatever), to ultimately increase revenues. this, instead of just straightforwardly reporting/analyzing the facts as known at the time.

      I don’t know if resurrecting “The Fairness Doctrine” would change any of that, but I’m certainly willing to run the risk of being disappointed.

  • pillsy

    There is one thing Donald Trump was (opportunistically) right about in his outrageous statement yesterday: nothing the CIA says should be taken at face value.

    This is true, but it’s important to re-emphasize that the part where he blames the CIA for the Iraq War is profoundly dishonest.

    • CrunchyFrog

      Correct – the rank-and-file of the CIA had findings exactly the opposite of what War Criminal Powell stated at the UN.

      • ThrottleJockey

        This. George Tenet ignored his own people.

  • XTPD

    I don't see what you're whining about Scott, it's not like the media's conduct resulted in a cross between Pieter Willem Botha, Joseph-Désiré Mobutu and Idi Amin Dada becoming president or anything.

    In all fairness, though, the editorial staff of the NYT, NBC & CNN deserved to be executed for treason.

    • I oppose the death penalty as a matter of principle and find most charges of treason to be overdrawn.

      I’m also not convinced you’re wrong.

      • efgoldman

        I oppose the death penalty as a matter of principle and find most charges of treason to be overdrawn.

        Me too, but I wouldn’t mind if they lost their jobs, the lawyers among ’em got disbarred, and lost any and all security clearances.
        I understand Wackenhut is hiring uniformed security guards…..

        • cpinva

          instead of just outright executing them, how would you guys feel about tying them to posts firmly planted in Central Park, and giving every citizen one whack at them with a baseball bat? every citizen gets one free whack, it will cost you $5 per, for each additional whack. it will be on pay-per-view, of course. given current budget/debt issues, the government really can’t pass up any reasonable revenue generating opportunities.

          after the first 10 or so whacks, they’ll probably be unconscious, but that doesn’t matter. when everyone is finished, the pulp that remains will be burned to ashes, and launched towards the sun. obviously, this won’t really change anything, but we’ll all feel better for having participated. their estates will be forfeit to the gov’t to, in some small way, help pay for all the public damage they caused.

  • jeer9

    ANOTHER FOOTBALL ANALOGY

    0 and 12 Browns defeat 6 and 6 Titans by final score of 7 – 6 despite the fact that the Browns turn the ball over 6 times during the game. But the Titans are unable to muster the sort of offense necessary to put the Browns away due to an obsession with their ground game and the fact that statistics showed the Browns were extremely weak defensively in this area and should be vulnerable. Several conservative in-game coaching decisions by Mularkey as well did not improve his team’s chances.

    Unfortunately, penalties also played an important part in the game as various infractions were called against the Titans during key drives, many of which seemed ticky-tack or in fact non-existent, halting opportunities that should have produced more points. Titan fans screamed that these calls were unfair and that the refs clearly ignored many worse fouls committed by the Browns that occurred RIGHT BEFORE THEIR EYES. Still, the Titans appeared to be on the verge of victory. They held a 6 – 0 lead with under a minute to go when a long pass from mid-field by Charlie Whitehurst, the Browns’ 6th QB this year, soared out of the end zone but the officials called a controversial PI on a Titan DB who never even touched the receiver. A replay showed that Terrelle Pryor had stumbled over his own feet. With ten seconds left, the Browns finally punched it in from the one on their fourth down attempt. The extra point hit the crossbar but fell through for the Browns victory.

    Faithful Titan fans remain deeply upset by the officiating which they believe cost their team the win and repeatedly point to numerous penalties that affected the outcome.

    The more cynical Titan fans think the contest should never have been that close: that poor game planning deserves most of the blame (even if all signs showed that Exotic Smash Mouth should have worked) as well as poor execution (the reason for the penalties).

    The faithful respond by shouting that the cynics have no evidence that a better game plan would have worked, just a lot of Monday morning QBing reliant on hindsight. The cynics reply by saying, “Okay. But we lost. I think we could have done some things better.” The faithful respond that we can’t really know that. There’s no proof that another offensive strategy in those various game contexts would have worked better. However, what we can and do know and have evidence for is that the refs fucked up.

    Faithful fans end every blog comment with “Thanks, refs. We won’t make the playoffs again this year because of you.”

    Cynical fans end every blog comment with “Thanks, Titan coaching staff. You had one job.”

    Late-breaking news: Evidence that high-stakes gambler paid off refs is being investigated. Goodell announces that this new information does not in any way tarnish the result and as a sidenote re-emphasizes that his Deflategate decision was correct. Flash forward: It will turn out that none of refs individually thought that any iffy call they might make against the Titans would actually be able to throw the game to the Browns – because the Browns suck so much.

    • MikeJake

      What an awful game. Did Don Criqui do the play-by-play?

    • liberal

      Heh.

    • I barely follow sportsball, and this is still a thing of beauty.

  • RonC

    A Trump in the White House with a Democratic congress would be a lot less apocalyptic. By concentrating on why Clinton lost, we continue to ignore that the Democrats have lost the last 4 down ticket elections.

    This is a completely broken system at this point.

    • guthrie

      But why do Democratic congresspeople do so badly?

      • steve Rodent

        Better organizing at the state level, Koch Brothers money, gerrymandering…

        • Phil Perspective

          Did anyone force the DCCC to run a Romney voter in my district this year? And then for him to not run a single damn commercial? A district that HRC won, BTW!!

          • Hogan

            I don’t know, maybe all the other Democrats in your district who didn’t run in the primary?

            • Phil Perspective

              Just goes to show you don’t know how the DCCC, or DSCC, operates. They tried to run the same guy back in 2014 but he pulled out at the last minute. They tried again this year and were successful. Remember the primary in Florida between Murphy and Grayson and how the DSCC publicly intervened in that one? Both the DSCC and DCCC intervene all the time, usually more stealthily.

              • To be fair, they should have intervened in that one. Murphy was a bad candidate, but Grayson would’ve been a disaster. And I say this as someone whose politics are far, far closer to Grayson’s. I still voted for Murphy in the primary, and would do so again.

              • Hogan

                Here’s what I don’t know: what district you live in.

                Here’s what I know: you have never seriously run for public office in your life.

      • DrDick

        Too much money spent by the party pushing “centrist” candidates over progressives in the primaries. The national organizations really are an incumbent protection racket.

        • ASV

          Yeah, it would’ve been great if Wisconsin Dems hadn’t cleared the field for neolib sellout Russ Feingold.

          • humanoid.panda

            I was just about to log in to make exactly the same comment.

          • Phil Perspective

            One loss doesn’t prove your point. Also, too, it didn’t cause your queen to not campaign in Wisconsin.

            • No, that would be the fact that literally not a single poll showed her down there throughout the entire campaign. Without the FSB/FBI ratfucking, she would’ve won there easily.

            • ASV

              LOL

        • guthrie

          Sounds like the same problem new labour has in the UK.

      • Denverite

        But why do Democratic congresspeople do so badly?

        It really is mostly demographics and cultural migration patterns at this point. For at least a couple of decades, demographics that skew Democratic (young, minority, educated) have moved from rural, exurb and outer suburb areas to cities and interior suburbs. The concentrates Democratic voters and results in a situation where Republicans can win lots of suburban, exurban and rural districts 60-40 while the Democratic districts in the city go 85-15 Dem. Here in Colorado, for example, Mike Coffman’s district would have been winnable a couple of elections ago but for the fact that so many of his Democratic constituents have moved from Brighton and the outer parts of Aurora to Denver.

        Same thing on a macro scale with the Electoral College. Too many people have moved from Iowa or Wisconsin or Ohio to Chicago, the coasts, or Colorado.

        • Linnaeus

          I may be doing my part to reverse that in a few years.

        • I still live in Florida and, barring the possibility that things get so bad for Jews I have to leave the country entirely, will be here for at least a few more years. Not that it makes any difference on the Congressional level; my district hasn’t gone blue the whole 20+ years I’ve been living here, I believe.

      • StellaB

        Because gerrymandering and unfair apportionment mean that Dems need a super-majority of votes to achieve parity in the House.

    • scott_theotherone

      Am I missing something? Maybe I’m misunderstanding the point here—always a good bet—and, admittedly, the senate races turned out a lot worse than most of us were expecting, and almost all of us (here) were hoping. But the reason the Democrats have lost at least the past several House elections is due in no small part to gerrymandering.

      • Denverite

        Gerrymandering *is* a small part of it (as in, a minority cause). It really is as simple as the Democratic coalition likes to concentrate in cities.

        • Morbo

          The number I’ve seen for that advantage is 4% more seats than vote proportion for the GOP.

          • scott_theotherone

            So we should have roughly 17 more house seats than we do? So next session it’d be 224-211 rather than 241-194? I’ll take the 224-211.

          • brad

            In the House about to be seated they’ll have about 5% more seats than their share of the total popular vote, to go by some rough wiki numbers.

        • Phil Perspective

          It’s not that simple. The DCCC ran a Romney voter in my district, and then hung him out to dry. You read that right. They recruited the guy to run in my district, thinking he’d self-fund. And then he ended up not running a single damn commercial. Guess what? HRC won my district. Close, but she still won.

  • Nick056

    Interesting observation that Trump is essentially in a group with JQA and Hayes in his unpopularity with the public at the time of election.

    As to the rest, welcome to the Russian century. Nobody — nobody outside the left, which thinks the following is a good thing — will now report that the candidate with a hawkish and realist view of Russia just lost to, you know, a puppet. We’ll do nothing for Ukraine. Our relationship with Iran will become surreal. Al-Assad now has a clear field to bring down Aleppo.

    • Ronan

      The only way this will be the Russian century is if they, as a declining power overestimating their strength, precipitate a major international conflict

      • DrDick

        Indeed, which is far too likely unfortunately.

      • Davis X. Machina

        They can simply outsource their hegemoning to foreign countries… as per the instant case.

    • rea

      Hell, Trump will have us bombing Aleppo to help out his god friend Putin. I hear those people in Aleppo are Mooslems

    • ThrottleJockey

      Since you’ve brought this issue up…Can someone explain this to me?

      But at the time, Obama didn’t know how the election would turn out, and (reasonably) believed that Clinton was going to win, so going public would have poisoned her relations with Russia and undermined the CIA investigation.

      How is poisoning relations with Russia at all relevant? You’d think if there was anything that should poison relations with Russia it would be hacking a goddamned US election. How about showing a little backbone and standing up for our country?

      Who gives a good goddamn if Russia’a fee-fees get hurt? Where’s the fucking sense if patriotism?

      It calls to mind the Lenin quote: “Capitalists will sell us the rope we need to hang them.” Selling out is every bit as bad as selling. If poisoning relations with Russia was at all an issue for Obama it’s an impeachable offense.

      • I was on board with you until your last sentence. Maybe. If nothing Bush the Lesser did was impeachable then I don’t think this rises to that standard either.

        On the other hand, there will be plenty of impeachable offences committed over the next four years.

      • Rusty SpikeFist

        If poisoning relations with Russia was at all an issue for Obama it’s an impeachable offense.

        Counterpoint: No it isn’t.

    • liberal

      …with a hawkish and realist view…

      Hillary? A realist view of Russia?

      You clearly have no understanding of what the term “realist” means in international relations.

      • XTPD

        Note that Nick’s using “realist” to modify “hawkish;” I doubt that Clinton’s liberal interventionism would be particularly productive regarding Russian policy, but said policy would be infinitely preferable to Donald’s. (And I would say that while I don’t usually agree with Mearsheimer and Walt’s conclusions, they are eminently reasonable realist. Cohen, however, has long been obsolete – though I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether O’Hehir’s making this same point counts as neocon shillery).

        • humanoid.panda

          And furthermore, she was enthusiastic about the 2012 reset- a realist policy if there ever was one. The caricature of Hillary as mid-W-era neocon is, to but it mildly, BS.

          • Davis X. Machina

            The caricature of Hillary as mid-W-era neocon is, to but it mildly, BS.

            Do. Not. Disrupt. The. Narrative.

    • DrDick

      the candidate with a hawkish and realist view of Russia

      Yeah, no.

    • Morbo

      Meanwhile they’re on the verge of losing Palmyra to ISIS again.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Far more likely that the Finlandization of the United States will lead to the Chinese century.

  • guthrie

    If we suggest, as some cynics do*, that there has always been disinformation and lack of rigour in media reporting, I’m wondering perhaps the problem is that in the good old days we did have a more diverse media with a broader approach to topics, based on more widely spread political power. So some sources would lie, and others oppose them, and something approaching accurate ideas would get out there.

    But now we have all the media acting in the same way, without a diversity of viewpoint, and the net result is a confusing media fog which inhibits any sort of accuracy, because they are all reporting everything in the same style and without depth, and daren’t say that one side is lying.

    *And I’m very cynical myself but it seems there are others even more so.

    • liberal

      …in the good old days we did have a more diverse media with a broader approach to topics…

      Huh?

      The differences are due to the proliferation of cable channels like Fuks Nooz, the lack of the common purpose the parties had in the Cold War, and the increasing polarization of American politics (mainly due to changes on the right).

      The media, more diverse in the past? You must be kidding. There were basically two groupings in American media of yesteryear: the establishment media (big broadcasters, national newspapers), and more regional media. The former were roughly centrist, and a lot of the latter were extremely right-wing.

      For Christ’s sake, we were somewhat involved in Indochina from 1946 on, and heavily involved from the early 1950’s (we were footing 75% of the French war bill by the time of Dien Bien Phu). Yet the American media didn’t really start questioning the war until the late 1960s.

      • Our news media has all the diversity of opinion from the far right to the centre-right! (The three hours of liberals on MSNBC weeknights are a clear outlier, and no one reads progressive blogs/magazines, sorry to say. For that matter, hardly anyone watches MSNBC. Source: I work in tv ratings.)

        There was a time when Edward R. Murrow would call out McCarthyism on national news, and Walter Cronkite called out the U.S imperialism in Vietnam as it was happening. (And no, our involvement in the ’40s and ’50s does not approach the scale of what happened later.) There is no such counterbalance today. It took years for anyone to admit the DFHs had a point about Bush the Lesser’s Mesopotamian Misadventure, and even then, the same idiots who got us into the mess are given a respected place in our national discourse while the DFHs who were right along are still relegated to the sidelines. And now those idiots are in power again. There may be more media outlets than ever before, but the range of opinions in mainstream discourse is more tightly constrained than at any time in modern history.

      • efgoldman

        The media, more diverse in the past? You must be kidding.

        As usual, you are wrong on the facts.
        There were strict federal regulations that strictly limited the numbers of radio and TV licenses one entity could control; limited (generally disallowed altogether) the cross-ownership of different types of media (newspapers and TV, for instance) in one market; a doctrine that required fairness (usually expressed as “equal time”) in broadcasting; reasonably strict antitrust actions against some media mergers/acquisitions, etc. Yes, there were a few large multi-publication owners: Hearst, Gannett, Time-Life, but most papers and magazines were independent or reported up to much smaller chains.
        Then came the 80s and Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus, and now you have almost all broadcast, cable, newspapers and magazines (the ones that are left) reporting up to five or six huge corporate centers. So yes, there WAS a wide diversity of reporting and opinion out there.
        Don’t give me any shit about this, Phil. I worked in the business from the pre-deregulation days right thru the 90s and know what I’m talking about, as Cassandra does too.

        • guthrie

          Yes, I didn’t make myself clear enough, I was meaning especially diversity of power base which the media came from or spoke to. Here in the UK untold damage has been done by normal working class folks reading papers which have become ever more rightwards and wrong on the facts, with less information coming from more accurate or at least more politically opposed sources, whether union publications or books.

    • But now we have all the media acting in the same way, without a diversity of viewpoint, and the net result is a confusing media fog which inhibits any sort of accuracy,

      Indeed. Media concentration – both in terms of media companies themselves and their role in much larger conglomerates – is a huge weakness of the electoral system. Hard to see EMAILZ gaining such complete dominance forty or even just twenty years ago. These days there’s only a handful of people working for all of six or so different companies who have any real influence over what the news of the day is.

  • The press’s assumption that Trump couldn’t win the election (or didn’t really want to be president/would drop out) should have died a swift death at the very latest, on the day he accepted the nomination.

    • Thom

      True, especially after his very scary speech that it was not hard to imagine millions of low-information voters applauding. But it did not die. Remind us what the LGM pool looked like?

    • I’m still not convinced he actually wants the job, but he’s got too much pride to admit it now. This was a scam that succeeded far beyond his expectations and he’s looked like Bialystock and Bloom in The Producers after they realised Springtime for Hitler was a hit. Making the metaphor more apt, the shitgibbon is very nearly a Nazi.

      • Hogan

        So he sneaks into the White House basement and blows it up? Hell, why not.

        • It’ll be his very own Reichstag fire, too. Win-win for him, surely.

        • guthrie

          If only he’d make sure the explosives were planted and fused properly himself.

  • NewishLawyer

    I think people were complaining about the media’s disproportionate hard treatment of HRC as early as spring 2015. IIRC Vox ran an article at the time stating that media is always hardest on the presumed next president.

    The truth is that alarm bell’s should have been going off when Trump was sweeping through the GOP primaries. Certainly when he cinched the nomination. Everyone’s alarm bells should have been going off and thinking “If Donald Trump can win the nomination, something is very wrong.”

    Instead everyone was blase about Trump. I remember fellow Democrats accusing me of being a chicken little and saying stuff like “there is no way Trump can win the nomination. The Democrats just aren’t that lucky.” I think everyone was imagining a Goldwater kind of defeat for the Rs.

    To be fair, there were times when it looked like a Goldwater style defeat was likely. There were also times when Democrats panicked but those usually lasted a few days or a week before the polls swung back to a Goldwater looking defeat for the Republicans.

    Trump was able to win on the barest of technical victories. The problem is that the GOP has no shame or humility and they will treat this like the Mandate from Heaven.

    The liberal project seems to be fading all over the West.

    • aturner339

      I think a lot of people just had more faith in the American public than was warranted. As a born and brad Alabamian I knew he was tailor made for the people of my state. I just thought they were outliers and states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin would be more resistant to the appeal of white backlash.

      In this we were simply wrong.

      • efgoldman

        I knew he was tailor made for the people of my state

        But there was never a chance that Alabama and the rest of the hard-core traitor states would go blue. It was already baked in to the widely-assumed result.

    • Phil Perspective

      The truth is that alarm bell’s should have been going off when Trump was sweeping through the GOP primaries.

      Vox(or was it 538?) didn’t have Trump as the odds on winner until after South Carolina. This despite Trump leading the polls, by wide margins, for months. Some of us know Trump could beat those other losers long before that and said so.

      • 538 consistently underestimated his chances throughout the whole primary. We assumed they were overestimating them for the general. Turned out we were wrong.

        • NewishLawyer

          This is the kind of stuff that didn’t set off alarm bells among the educated class.

          538’s data showed that he would win the primaries but their attitude was “What? Donald Trump is going to win the primaries! Get Out!! Consolidation will happen eventually.”

    • guthrie

      It seems quite hard for a lot of people to realise just how much struggle went into the liberal project int he first place. Under attack from racists, plutocrats and suchlike, it seems surprising that it ever got anywhere at all.

      Yet there seem to be a surprising number of people who just don’t realise the attacks on it at all.
      Heck, even one of my friends who is normally cynical, reckons that the UK will be prevented from leaving the EU somehow, by intelligent people in politics doing something. It’s obvious that there aren’t any intelligent people at the top level in UK politics, but he refuses to see this.

      • aturner339

        Exactly. We all trustest that the voices of sanity would eventually win out. We forgot that the insane vote more reliably.

        • Hogan

          The mental arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward madness.

      • ploeg

        To be certain, the politicians in the UK have been savvy enough to avoid pressing the history eraser button that they created and armed, at least up until now, but they haven’t been savvy enough to avoid creating and arming the button in the first place.

        • guthrie

          Indeed. I note that the cartoon version there is more aware than the Father Ted equivalent of the role of the media and suchlike in these problems.

      • gmack

        Yes, this is an essential point. The history of backlashes against leftist victories should remind us that the victories for social justice for African Americans, women, LGBT people, and so on, when they happen at all, can be fleeting. But it should remember that liberalism was itself a product of similar political struggles, and it too can be fleeting.

      • NewishLawyer

        The fight for the eight hour day took decades!!!

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Martin Prince beat the smart kids. Again.

      • Hogan

        Do you mean Nelson Muntz?

      • aturner339

        Ralph Wiggum

        • Ralph Wiggum is a fundamentally kind-hearted and decent person. The Cheeto shitgibbon and his voters… aren’t.

  • ploeg

    My question is, who is bringing this all up right now, and why? “Officials briefed on the matter” can include President Obama. Could be folks in the CIA (in which case they’re in trouble unless they have a bunch more ammo in store). I’m thinking that “officials briefed on the matter” probably doesn’t include Rudy “Next Secretary of State” Giuliani but I think that it’s worthwhile to tease out whom it might include.

    • postmodulator

      I suspect one of the Gang of 12 leaked. Not even necessarily one of the Democrats.

      • ploeg

        Help me out here: I can see where the Democrats might put this out right now. I can’t see where the Republicans would want to. I don’t see where this might want Trump to change his behavior, and it definitely won’t keep Trump from attaining the Presidency by itself. It probably would make Trump even more determined to clean out the sorts of folks that a traditionalist Republican might want to have on the inside.

        • postmodulator

          I think co-president McCain or co-president Graham could possibly have done it. Probably not out of tactical brilliance, it’s true, but very possibly out of a more simple response I will here call “fuck that guy.”

  • CrunchyFrog

    It is appropriate to call this an illegitimate election result. The term “His Fraudulency” – borrowed from 1877 – would be suitable for re-use.

    American elections have never met UN fair elections standards anyway, but this particular one was fraud through-and-through. And, although there is zero evidence of actual vote fraud (as opposed to vote suppression and other elements of vote fixing) the failure to recount further hurts the overall election credibility.

    On January 20th at noon I’ll be rooting for a large meteor to hit a certain location near the Potomac River.

    • yet_another_lawyer

      What definitions of legitimacy and fraud are being used here, exactly, that makes this an illegitimate election? The final tally is off, but the final tally is always off if you’re counting to 120 million– there’s zero indication that it’s off by enough to matter in three states. The voters can, legitimately, be as stupid as they like.

      • CrunchyFrog

        I’m applying international standards of what constitutes a fair election, not just the tally.

        Vote supression, inequalities in vote access, media, and of course the winner-take-all districts that allow a minority of voters to get the majority of “seats” in the electoral college.

      • alex284

        DECLARATION ON CRITERIA FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS:

        (1) Every adult citizen has the right to vote in elections, on a non-discriminatory basis.

        (2) Every adult citizen has the right to access to an effective, impartial and non-discriminatory procedure for the registration of voters.

        (3) No eligible citizen shall be denied the right to vote or disqualified from registration as a voter, otherwise than in accordance with objectively verifiable criteria prescribed by law, and provided that such measures are consistent with the State’s obligations under international law.

        (4) Every individual who is denied the right to vote or to be registered as a voter shall be entitled to appeal to a jurisdiction competent to review such decisions and to correct errors promptly and effectively.

        (5) Every voter has the right to equal and effective access to a polling station in order to exercise his or her right to vote.

        (6) Every voter is entitled to exercise his or her right equally with others and to have his or her vote accorded equivalent weight to that of others.

        (7) The right to vote in secret is absolute and shall not be restricted in any manner whatsoever.

        It’s not even a matter of personal judgment that 1, 5, and 6 are systematically violated in the US.

    • scott_theotherone

      As recently as a few days ago I was positive there was less than no chance Trump would be impeached. I’m no longer so sure. What’s more, the thought of a President Pence was beyond horrific as recently a month ago. Now I’m thinking that, yeah, it’d be utterly fucking awful…but one hell of a lot less awful than President Trump. (Talk about a low bar.)

      • Linnaeus

        This strikes me as a pick your poison situation. I don’t see Pence as being a loose cannon like Trump is. You pretty much know what you’re getting with him. On the other hand, he’s more likely to be line with what congressional Republicans want and therefore it will be harder to drive a wedge between the president and Congress with Pence than (possibly) with Trump.

        In the end, I’d rather deal with a more competent Pence than a know-nothing like Trump.

        • Thom

          A lefty friend was telling me yesterday that Pence has advocated, among other things, tactical use of nuclear weapons. If true, it is hard to see how this is better.

          • Denverite

            Also Pence is more likely to kill Social Security and Medicaid.

            • scott_theotherone

              The nukes thing changes my position; that was the exact issue I assumed he’d be far more reasonable on, more in line with a (good god that this is the markedly better choice) GWB. So if he’s really on record as being just as crazy as Trump, well, in the words of the bard, “never mind.”

              I can’t imagine Pence being any more likely to kill Social Security or Medicaid than Trump, just because both seem equally likely to do so, which is to say, entirely if given the chance.

          • Linnaeus

            If true, that does change things a bit. Although I could see Trump doing the same thing.

          • The Great God Pan

            Didn’t Trump wonder aloud why we have nuclear weapons if we can’t use them? Seems like a draw to me.

          • SNF

            Do you have a source on this? I’ve been really hoping that somehow Trump will end up impeached or something and that Pence will be president. The main reason being that I see Pence as far less likely to do something like launch nuclear weapons, create internment camps for Muslims, or cancel the 2020 election.

            If Pence would also be reckless with nuclear weapons that’s a very big deal.

            • Thom

              I don’t have a source. I will ask the friend who said this if he does.

              • Thom

                My friend was unable to come up with anything other than Pence’s lying defense of Trump’s position on nukes during the VP debate. So I withdraw the point, except to say that on this issue Trump and Pence may be equally bad (and equally prone to lie).

      • brad

        As someone here, I forget who, said, Pence can be fought. Especially as the unelected shoehorned in VP of a massively unpopular EC victor who, assuming a Pence Presidency, was impeached/removed due to extraordinary corruption and foreign influence. Their agenda won’t change, but the optics will, and horrid as it is at its corporate core, the press will be forced to be more antagonistic.
        My breath is not being held for this outcome, but it’s still preferable.

        • MDrew

          This is interesting.

          Given good reason to impeach Trump and install Pence – nominally more one of their own (a movement conservative), would the GOP do so? Or have they now been convinced that trump is the superior political force to have in charge: would they now, in effect, affirmatively choose Trump over Pence as a national political leader?

          I have a hard time not thinking they would. That’s a very interesting question, though. I had sort of been going along assuming they would prefer Pence to Trump for ideological reasons.

          Of course, it is an imperfect (to say the least) test: the trauma to a party of impeaching its own president is probably impossible to conceive as an option they’d realistically choose. It won’t happen.

          But it’s interesting to consider whether this GOP right now, seeing what they’ve now seen, would prefer, if they could choose with no damage to the party suffered just from the act of replacement, to replace Trump with Pence.

    • efgoldman

      On January 20th at noon I’ll be rooting for a large meteor to hit a certain location near the Potomac River.

      That’s fine. My daughter will be working from home.

    • Sev

      Just btw I prefer ‘His Petulancy’ but have wondered if anyone is creating a list of nicknames.

  • Dilan Esper

    I don’t think Scott thought Trump would win even post-Comey. I think he was talking about losing the Senate at the time.

  • Thom

    One important difference, compared to the Iraq story, is that no one is arguing that we should go to war over this–just that we should be a lot more wary, both of the Russians and of those they seem to have tried to benefit.

  • Denverite

    I’ve gone back and forth about what Obama should have done. My first inclination is that he should have gone public despite McConnell’s threats. And, in retrospect, this was the best course of action

    There is a right answer here. Obama should have asked Clinton’s people how she wanted him to play it.

    • yet_another_lawyer

      That doesn’t really work, I don’t think, because asking Clinton’s people “Should we go public with this?” would itself be corrupt and possibly criminal because Clinton’s people wouldn’t be entitled to have access to that information– or, even if they were, a POTUS deciding on whether to go public with information based on the sayso of a political campaign strikes me as legally and politically dubious at best. You are trading a problem for a bigger one.

      • Denverite

        I don’t think so. It’s a political question, not a national security one. He kept it quiet because he was concerned it would hurt her once it became politicized; she’s the one who should have made that call.

        • postmodulator

          Would this have been part of any national security briefing that either candidate received, by virtue of them being a candidate?

        • ploeg

          The entire point is for the decision to be reached based on what is good for the country rather than based on partisan advantage, and Obama was competent to reach such a decision on his own. Dragging Clinton into the mix would have screwed up any debate about whether Obama’s announcement was partisan. We’ve had enough smoke stirred up over the DNC and Hillary Clinton, about Bill Clinton and AG Lynch, etc. It doesn’t do you any good to get caught in these sorts of bullshit arguments.

        • MDrew

          Wtf?

    • liberal

      My very vague impression is that they don’t get along so well.

      • postmodulator

        Somewhere, Ed Klein punches the air.

    • MDrew

      Wtf?

  • It’s not the most immediate concern here, but this represents a massive, stellar sized indictment of the prevailing attitude towards cryptography and on-line security on the part of the federal government. The NSA, FBI, DHS, etc. should be building strongly encrypted open-source communication tools for the masses, everything from email to chat. The US has far more to lose from legitimate communications being intercepted and published by foreign actors than we stand to gain from being able to read the world’s email.

    • liberal

      (a) Making government-provided tools available cheaply violates the rule that some private party must make a lot of money on these things. So we can’t have that.
      (b) Clearly reading the world’s email is more important than protecting our own citizens and infrastructure.

      • efgoldman

        Clearly reading the world’s email and releasing selectively edited. altered, or made up versions is more important than protecting our own citizens and infrastructure.

        FTFY

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      If the NSA/FBI/etc. released communications tools for the masses, no one would use them (open-source or not). Because everyone would be certain that the NSA had a back door. (Even an open-source system could be vulnerable if the NSA has some appropriate mathematical algorithms that are still secret.)

  • JustinVC

    I think you vastly underestimate the relevance (and thus the need to investigate) of whether:

    1 – Trump colluded with a foreign country to get him elected

    and/or

    2 – Since Putin *also* hacked the RNC, whether Putin has any leverage on Trump.

    I mean, Tillerman. Come on.

  • DamnYankees

    Your last point is so critical to understanding this election. I have maintained, and still believe, that the biggest bias this election season – a bias held by the media, but also by voters and by other politicians – was the bias towards believing that Hillary Clinton was the obvious next President and that Trump was a joke. It’s a bias which started very early on, but somehow was never dislodged throughout the entire process, even when he won the nomination, when he pulled even in the polls at the conventions or when he narrowed the gap very late. I don’t think almost anyone took seriously the idea he would be President literally until it was clear he might win Michigan on election night. The result was stuff like this – insane focus on mundane Clinton stuff, while very little focus on Trump’s insanity and his staggering illiberal beliefs.

    I feared after the election that this was actually going to continue, and it looks like I’m sadly correct so far. I honestly don’t think people do or will take Trump seriously even though he has been elected and is actively saying crazy shit and appointing crazy people. He’ll continue to say and do crazy shit and people will shrug it off. It’s hard for me to even imagine what it would take for him to be impeached, for example, since the bar is so low. I don’t see how this changes.

    • guthrie

      Here in the UK I’ve seen a surprising amount of bias that Hilary Clinton is evil and a criminal who has connived in murders. I get the impression it’s the same in the USA.

      • Davis X. Machina

        I was advised on a couple of footie boards that it was necessary to vote for Trump, despite his flaws, because Hillary was simply insane. And murderous. And terrifying. Had had dozens of people killed.

        It was weird. The Clinton Death List has always been a thing, but why should it be bigger in SE England than here in the US?

        • kvs

          You might get your answer if you asked for their opinions on UKIP and Brexit.

          • guthrie

            Well, one of my colleagues suffers from clinton derangement syndrome, on the basis of some tv documentary they saw a while back, and they think ukipers and brexiters are a bunch of lunatics. The power of tv documentaries should not be underestimated.

            • Ronan

              Yeah it’s a little bizzare. I know a few who (for reasons I can’t understand) are big trump fans, but they were always morons and seem to get a lot of their politics from infowars and Facebook. One of the oddest things was years ago seeing an old friend turn into a raging anti Semite despite never even having met a Jew and growing up in a regional irish town. The internet really gave these uninformed but interested idiotically self taught blowhards a new lease of life.

    • AMK

      Yup. The assumption that Trump can’t possibly win because everyone we know thinks he’s a joke and changing demographics was basically a license for miscalculation and media malpractice. Elite groupthink on a massive scale.

    • efgoldman

      the biggest bias this election season – a bias held by the media, but also by voters and by other politicians – was the bias towards believing that Hillary Clinton was the obvious next President and that Trump was a joke.

      Absolutely, and I think almost everybody at the time thought it was a sensible, logical bias, too.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        It was if you assumed that the FBI and the KGB weren’t going to meddle in our election.

  • Jameson Quinn

    I’ve been talking up the idea of taking a SCOTUS majority on #Jan3HighNoon. Well, Kos is on board; his petition beats mine.

  • Donna Gratehouse

    These are excellent thoughts, Scott.

    …Very few of the editors and reporters, mainstream or left, who created the impression of false equivalence actually thought that Clinton and Trump were comparably bad or dangerous figures. But because they didn’t think Trump would win — and, pro forma qualifications aside, until the Comey letter I didn’t think there was any real chance he would win either — we are where we are. And while the erroneous assumption was understandable, creating the strong implication that Hillary Clinton was the corrupt and dishonest candidate in a contest with Donald Trump is unforgivable.

    When it became clear on election night that Trump was really going to win there was a brief moment on MSNBC when the pundits all had these dumbfounded expressions on their faces as if they knew what they’d done. But as quickly as it was there it was gone and they reverted to criticizing Hillary’s Problems With White Working Class Men.

  • Donna Gratehouse

    A very astute woman on Twitter noted earlier today that non-white voters did not fall for any of the Wikileaks or FBI bullshit. It was the white ones who did.

    • brad

      Sadly, no. TJ shows that being fooled by decades of false charges based largely on hatred of an Other isn’t something that personal experience of false charges due to being an Other will prevent.

      • efgoldman

        TJ shows that being fooled by decades of false charges based largely on hatred of an Other

        Yes, although compared to his community at large, he’s just one tiny data point of HRC hatred.

        • brad

          Of course. And a significant portion of that majority of white women who voted for Trump have, sadly but surely, experienced some kind of sexual violence in their lives. More or less all of them have experienced misogyny. TJ’s faulty bearings are hardly unique to him.

      • Hogan

        TJ made up his mind in 2008. It has nothing to do with him outsourcing his ethical compass to the FBI director.

    • Dilan Esper

      Not quite. Hillary didn’t do as well as Obama did with black voters.

      I don’t blame anyone for that-Obama was obviously the first black President. But it is true that some black voters defected and it hurt her.

      • Hogan

        But probably not because of WikiLeaks and Comey.

    • stonetools

      Yep. Propane Jane. Its simple really: offer conservative white voters a vision of white supremacy and a return to an imagined golden age, and nothing else matters, even a manifestly unqualified and venal candidate.

  • CrunchyFrog

    Watching the news feed. The “leaks” about Tillerson being considered leading candidat as SoS are now rumors that Trump chose him. Amazing that his happens on the same day as all of news talk about Russian intervention in the election.

    I mean, at this point it’s almost like someone (Bannon?) is putting this stuff together just to show that he can get away with anything. Yes, the CIA found Russia tried to win the election for Trump. Yes, Trump is picking as SoS Putin’s most trusted American citizen. So the fuck what? Whatcha gonna do about it libtards? Or Eurotards? or Mediatards? NOTHING!!! ‘Cause there’s nothing you CAN DO!!! It’s OUR WORLD NOW you just live in it!!!

    • SNF

      Maybe Trump won’t even actually give the businesses to his kids. Maybe he’ll literally keep running them directly as president.

      I could see him doing that and daring anyone to stop him. And of course, since Republicans control Congress, no one would.

      • Gizmo

        I see no signs that he will/can divest or even wants to. Putting his kids in charge is another scam. His Fraudulency knows that he should say that conflict of interest is bad, but doesn’t care or doesn’t know what the words mean.

  • stonetools

    Excellent thoughts, Scott. I’ll add two observations. One is that the US media is simply not set up to deal with a situation where one part engages in a coordinated propaganda/disinformation campaign. The MSM were coopted into a right wing campaign to demonize Clinton that started all the way back in spring 2015, when Schwartz published his book,” Clinton Cash” and invited the WaPo and the NYT to cover it. From then on, the MSM kept trying to make a Clinton Foundation scandal happen. In the same way, the media were manipulated into covering EMAILS! in a Pavlovian fashion. Anytime the RW snapped their fingers, the NYT and other media came running with wall-to wall coverage, meanwhile ignoring Trump’s business conflicts and Russian connections. The media just has to be made much more conscious of being manipulated, as they were by the right wing, Wikileaks, and the Russians.
    Second is that in the end, it’s the voters who are at fault. The voters are the ones that chose the racist, sexist demagogue with no qualifications who fawned on Putin. They did so for various reasons but they did it and its on them.

    • AMK

      Question is, who is more likely to learn faster…the (mainstream) media or the voters? It’s a hard call.

      In the msm’s favor, you have textbook liberal demographics on the reporting and editorial end–college-educated, ethnically diverse urban dwellers who have some understanding of what is and isn’t constitutional democracy, first amendment etc. On the other hand, lots of these people have been marinated in impenetrable broderism for decades and want access to power and the right cocktail parties more than truth, and of course you have the corporate ownership that always has huge incentives to treat the GOP with kid gloves because low taxes.

      In the voters’ favor, you have Trump’s small margins in the key states, which suggests that relatively few low-info people need to become disillusioned with him to flip things around. On the other hand, you have the fact that these people were dumb enough to vote Trump in the first place, as well as the example of every red state where they vote consistently and blatantly against their own interests again and again and again because liberals.

      So it’s a hard call.

  • MacK

    Senator’s oath of office:

    I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God

    That seems to have meant little to Mitch McConnell.

    • Ronan

      Can you impeach the president elect before he takes office? Im being half serious, can they impeach early? (either as a practical or political matter)

      • Ronan

        though it occured to me that you probably need a congressional majority

  • tonycpsu
  • Gizmo

    Whats the deal with McConnell? I’m continuously surprised at the fact that the Republican party seems to made up of sociopaths. Has it always been like this? Admittedly, the tea partiers did a pretty good job of defenestrating the last moderate republicans, but this latest crop of R’s are just bonkers – and why?

    I’m amazed at how many of these people are lining up to inflict suffering on their fellow Americans. Ryan wants to be the last person to get help from SSI, McConnell has made a career out of killing even the mildest efforts to do some good. The F’ing ‘Freedom’ caucus would rather destroy the country than see a thin dime spent on keeping a poor kid from going hungry. What is wrong with these people? Where is their decency?

    I mean, what the hell? Are these guys (and they’re almost all old white guys) pining to live in Somalia? Do they really believe that turning the country into a third-world shit-hole is going be something to be proud of? Don’t they have family members who need health care and pensions? Do they really believe that screwing over working people is the way to make this a better country? I know that all the money’s are going to the plutocrats, but I’m just not convinced that the Kochs and the other malefactors of wealth in this country can buy them all. Maybe we’re seeing the effects of lead poisoning.

    Its like we have an entire cohort of political people (and citizens!) who don’t know the first thing about history or government. Social Security exists because we were shamefully abandoning our elders. Medicare exists because old people CANT GET INSURANCE. The goddammed gold standard killed economies. Public schools are the foundation of our democracy. The list goes on. You can’t even get these people to fix the roads and bridges, let alone replace some municipal water pipes. Don’t they want to cut ribbons and get re-elected? Apparently ‘Vote for me, I’ll fuck up this state’ is a winning platform. The mind boggles.

    • I think one has to be slightly sociopathic to run for elected office and extremely sociopathic to run as a Republican. That probably explains a lot of it.

    • efgoldman

      Its like we have an entire cohort of political people (and citizens!) who don’t know the first thing about history or government.

      No, not “like” that, IS that. Just in the last century, look up “Scopes Monkey Trial” and that’s just a convenient starting point.
      Barnum and Mencken were the two greatest philosophers in US history.

      • Linnaeus

        I will respectfully disagree, at least with respect to Mencken. He was an overrated blowhard.

    • guthrie

      The people who will do the suffering aren’t their fellow americans, is what these lunatics are thinking.

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  • Donna Gratehouse

    Instead everyone was blase about Trump. I remember fellow Democrats accusing me of being a chicken little and saying stuff like “there is no way Trump can win the nomination. The Democrats just aren’t that lucky.” I think everyone was imagining a Goldwater kind of defeat for the Rs.

    I was confident we would win but I was not blase. I phonebanked or canvassed nearly every day precisely because I believed it was possible for Trump could win and I was going to do everything in my power to stop it. The thousands of women, PoC, LGBT, and others who staffed or volunteered for HRC have never taken anything for granted in our lives. We hoped, in vain it turns out, that our country would stand with us against Trump. We were wrong about that.

    • BartletForGallifrey

      I was confident we would win but I was not blase. I phonebanked or canvassed nearly every day precisely because I believed it was possible for Trump could win and I was going to do everything in my power to stop it. The thousands of women, PoC, LGBT, and others who staffed or volunteered for HRC have never taken anything for granted in our lives. We hoped, in vain it turns out, that our country would stand with us against Trump. We were wrong about that.

      I did too, and we weren’t wrong. Whatever that fucker does, however much he destroys our country and democracy, he can’t take away the fact that the overwhelming majority of American voters picked someone else.

      • EliHawk

        And because they were so fucking sure he couldn’t win, the overwhelming majority didn’t vote for the one damn woman who could keep her out of the White House. If that 54% just votes for one damn person, that person wins every swing state but Iowa and Ohio, and adds Utah and Arizona.

        • BartletForGallifrey

          The overwhelming plurality did though.

      • No, in fact a majority of Americans didn’t vote for anyone. Which is as much of a scandal and problem as the Electoral College, but not one which helps the Democrat message, so is ignored.

        • kped

          Who ignores it? A big part of the democratic message is registering and trying to get people to vote. You know this, stop being so dense.

        • I like how you use the “Democrat” slur. I’m sure Ann Coulter will retweet you again approvingly for this.

          • kped

            and let’s not pretend Mr PHD in rhetoric and longtime internet leftie did it by accident, he knew exactly what word he was using.

  • Impressive that you write all of this without discussing at all why Hillary was considered such a mortal lock for the presidency. But perhaps that would then force you to discuss why she lost – how the Democrats nominated a candidate we knew to be unpopular on a historical level, how they ran an absolutely terrible campaign based on celebrity glamour and glitzy media when the country’s mood was dark and populist, and how they utterly ignored basic on-the-ground campaigning and canvassing. And then you’d be criticizing Democrats directly, rather than just letting out a few glib, backhanded admissions of their failures.

    Liberal Democrats desperately need to engage in actual introspection – the kind that results in real, unqualified, direct, meaningful self-criticism. But absolutely everything about their conduct since the election has prevented anything of the sort from happening. There’s been lunatic conspiracy theories, media blaming, attacking the “extremists” on their own side, denying that the results are actually the results by harping endlessly on the popular vote… anything but saying “We fucked up, we fucked up hard, and we need to change.” That is precisely the condition that Democrats have mocked about the right since the Bush years. But there’s no force that can possibly provoke real introspection.

    By the way: the Russians didn’t hand the House, Senate, 33 governor seats, and control of both houses in the legislatures of 31 seats to the GOP. So… you know.

    • kped

      Maybe while we work on this introspection, you leftists can do the same. LIke, maybe work on getting a candidate who can survive a primary process, and don’t resort to laughable conspiracy theories involving the evil DNC.

      But you guys aren’t interested in self criticism either. It’s this moral superiority and internet tough guy posturing you are into.

      (you realize everything you write can be turned on you and other faux-leftists online, don’t you?)

    • Liberal Democrats desperately need to engage in actual introspection

      Freddie DeBoer talking about someone needing introspection!

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!

      This is great stuff. I look forward to the second set.

    • brad

      When you respond to the rise of American authoritarianism with gloating you have made yourself part of it.
      But pose in a mirror all you want, at least it keeps you away from the rest of us.

      • Coulter and Rod Dreher and Ross Douthat don’t find Freddie useful for nothing.

        • kped

          It’s not just him though. The online left is just raging all over the internet, whether Twitter or big liberal blogs, just gloating and gleeful in the election results. I don’t quite know what they are doing, because if anything, this will only make liberals more angry with them and unwilling to elect who they want. Do these people realize they need us as much as we need them to win elections? I really can’t quite understand this need to crush liberals online. It’s not going to happen, and it will only keep the left divided (yes Freddie, we are also on the left. I know you are too pure for the world, but there really is a difference between us and right wingers).

          • The world of Freddie/Connor/Henwood/Robin is really pretty small. And as the real struggles set in, they will have nothing to offer. Plenty on the left will have plenty of offer. They will be the ones doing the organizing.

            • brad

              Not to mention that if someone wants to make clear that they are fucking useless, why stop them? Freddie has no ability to help anything but his own self regard.

            • kped

              I agree completely. Your post about organizing is the kind of thing that these guys should be doing, instead of this unseemly “victory” tour. Freddie, you didn’t win anything, stop gloating, it’s a bad look.

            • XTPD

              BTW, can Erik or Scott do a requiescat in pace fractum for all those commentators whose credibility was destroyed this year (e.g., Taibbi; Robin; T. Frank; Jacobin; 90% of the Intercept…)?

    • Scott Lemieux

      how they ran an absolutely terrible campaign based on celebrity glamour and glitzy media

      This is a hack, unfalsifable argument and there was no more “celebrity glamor” in her campaign than Obama’s.

      and how they utterly ignored basic on-the-ground campaigning and canvassing.

      Whatever its mistakes and limitations, Clinton’s ground game was certainly better than Trump’s, and “utterly ignored” is idiotic.

      Liberal Democrats desperately need to engage in actual introspection

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh my.

      here’s been lunatic conspiracy theories, media blaming, attacking the “extremists” on their own side, denying that the results are actually the results by harping endlessly on the popular vote…

      The thing is, events can have more than one cause. But nice you preemptively declare the discussion of any cause other than Democratic campaign tactics conspiracy theorizing.

      By the way: the Russians didn’t hand the House, Senate, 33 governor seats, and control of both houses in the legislatures of 31 seats to the GOP

      Yes, it is amazing how for most of American history conservative rural interests have had better messaging. I’d almost think there were institutional structures that advanced their interests like malapportioned legislative bodies and an undemocratic method for picking the president or something.

      As always, I’m amused that so many self-declared REAL LEFTISTS are pure naive liberal pluaralists when analyzing politics.

      • kped

        I want to also aknowledge how stupid this is:

        denying that the results are actually the results by harping endlessly on the popular vote…

        No one is denying that the results are the results. In fact, most liberals that Freddie hates were against the recounts for the very reason that they knew the electoral college would not change. To say that noting the popular vote is “denying” the result of the election is just idiotic.

        And I’m going to punch the next Bernie bro leftist who complains about liberals and conspiracy theories. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ you un-selfaware hacks. DNC you fucking tools. These were the actual conspiracy theories, the ones that didn’t swing (or even have the power to swing) any actual primary results.

        “There was an email where a random DNC guy said mean things to Bernie that were never followed up on, ergo, DNC made Hillary win!” is an actual conspiracy theory.

        “James Comey’s reckless disregard for official Justice Department policy regarding elections in releasing that letter 8 days before the election had a real impact on the election” is not a conspiracy theory. We can track it’s effect in polls in swing states. It’s a thing that actually can be shown to have a cause/effect relationship with the election.

        God, can we get better leftist leaders online? They are not being served well by these utter hacks they have running the show (online only, as guys like Freddie are too busy smelling their own farts to actually do any leading on the ground).

        • Scott Lemieux

          Here’s noted neoliberal sellout Corey Robin:

          I insist on seeing in him the normal rules of politics and the established institutions of politics: it wasn’t the beating heart of darkness that sent him to the White House, after all; it was, in the most immediate and proximate sense of a cause, the fucking Electoral College.

          WHY DOES ROBIN WANT TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING BUT THE ONLY THING THAT CAUSED AMERICA’S PERFECT INSTITUTIONS TO PRODUCE DONALD TRUMP AS PRESIDENT, THE TACTICAL CHOICES OF THE DEMOCRAT CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT!1!1!1!1!1

          “There was an email where a random DNC guy said mean things to Bernie that were never followed up on, ergo, DNC made Hillary win!” is an actual conspiracy theory.

          “James Comey’s reckless disregard for official Justice Department policy regarding elections in releasing that letter 8 days before the election had a real impact on the election” is not a conspiracy theory. We can track it’s effect in polls in swing states. It’s a thing that actually can be shown to have a cause/effect relationship with the election.

          Yes. But, of course, being a Real Leftist means the FBI demonstrably throwing the election is nothing worth discussing because it might get in the way of identifying the real villain, Lena Dunham.

          • kped

            The amazing thing is, Lena Dunham and other liberal celebs is actually Freddie’s biggest gripe. He fucking loathes them and thinks they have a real negative effect on liberals and elections. I mean, i wish you making that joke wasn’t actually reflective of their actual line of thought, but it truly is.

            • EliHawk

              Their real crime is more people pay attention to them than they do to him.

    • pseudalicious

      Oh, dear.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      that would then force you to discuss why she lost

      Oh goody. Another self-aggrandizing bloviation from the Thomas Friedman of academic bureaucracy. Freddie Bonerz has one weird trick to getting elected as POTUS and he will now tell you all exactly how he did it.

    • D.N. Nation

      (armpit fart)

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

        Marry me.

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