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The Tainted Election Clinton Couldn’t Win

The Tainted Election Clinton Couldn’t Win

Ever since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, I have read countless news articles and opinion pieces on why Hillary Clinton lost the election. From her not going to Wisconsin to her not having a message that resonated with the American people, the myriad of theories is exhausting.

In my assessment, Hillary Clinton did not lose the election because she failed to show up. President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Hillary Clinton all campaigned in Pennsylvania, and she still came up short in a state that hosted the 2016 Democratic National Convention. It is impossible to know if the outcome of the election would have been different if Hillary Clinton had concentrated more on Michigan and Wisconsin.

It is true the Clinton campaign dedicated too much time trying to persuade voters not to vote for Trump. Her campaign should have focused more resources on making the case why voters should vote for Clinton. Her message may not have been clear to voters, but at the time her strategy seemed to be working. The majority of polls had Clinton beating Trump, and until the morning of the election, the popular belief was Hillary Clinton would win.

Although Hillary Clinton fell short of the required electoral votes needed to win the presidency, she ended up with 2.8 million more popular votes than Donald Trump. Her message was convincing enough to win the popular vote, but she did not accumulate enough votes in places where it mattered most. 80,000 votes determined the outcome of the election, and any number of factors could have swayed the election in Clinton’s favor.

My theory to why Hillary Clinton lost the election conflicts with the mainstream conclusion. The pundits that had been wrong throughout the primaries and general election are now regurgitating the false narrative she lost the election because it is “her fault.” They are overlooking the external factors that put Hillary Clinton at an insurmountable disadvantage. I believe Hillary Clinton’s surprising loss resulted from Russian interference, WikiLeaks systematic email dumps, gross negligence by the media, and James Comey’s bombshell letter to Congress. Foreign and domestic entities sabotaged Hillary Clinton candidacy, and she deserves due process instead of finger pointing and blame.

Russian Interference

Earlier this month, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its declassified report that outlined what it called a Russian campaign to influence the 2016 election. The 25-page report affirms that Russia was behind a series of cyberattacks. The report also concludes Russia conducted a disinformation campaign with the goal to undermine the U.S. election and put an end to Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.

Russian hackers infiltrated computer systems belonging to the Democratic National Committee. The hackers also accessed the private email accounts of individuals associated with the Democratic party, including John Podesta the Chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Hackers acquired 50,000 emails from Podesta’s private Gmail account, and the stolen emails made their way to WikiLeaks.

Besides hacking, Russia conducted a strategic disinformation campaign using Facebook, Twitter, and various fake news sites. The goal of the Russian government was to sow doubt in the American voter’s minds and cause confusion. Voters could not distinguish the difference between legitimate news stories and fake news propagated by the Russian government. The strategy was devastating to Clinton’s candidacy, and her campaign was not prepared or equipped to combat the Russian disinformation machine.

WikiLeaks Email Dumps

On Oct. 7, one hour after the infamous Access Hollywood tape dropped, WikiLeaks released the first batch of John Podesta’s stolen emails to the public. WikiLeaks played a significant role in assisting Donald Trump with reaffirming the perception Hillary Clinton is “crooked,” and therefore helping Trump further damage Clinton’s trustworthiness with voters.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, came into possession of the stolen emails courtesy of the Russian government. Assange denies he received the stolen emails from Russia, but U.S. intelligence agencies dispute Assange version of events and insist Russia supplied WikiLeaks with the stolen materials.

Gross Negligence by the Media

Reports reveal Donald Trump received $2 billion in free advertising from TV and cable networks during the 2016 election cycle. No other candidate either Republican or Democrat received such preferential treatment. Trump had carte blanche to do whatever he desired, and the media happily went along for the ride.

Throughout the primaries and most of the general election, Trump would go on air and give deceptive answers to questions or ignore inquiries altogether. Trump often denied saying something he said several days prior to going on air, and his answers to questions remained inconsistent. Trump’s misrepresentation of the facts and his inaccuracies went unchallenged by the media. Morning news shows became 10-minute propaganda segments, and Trump’s unfiltered message became the story of the news cycle.

Reporters behaved liked paparazzi and treated Trump as if he was still a reality TV star and not a presidential candidate. Networks and newspapers were more concerned with ratings and clicks than getting to the bottom of the truth. Front page news stories about Trump’s tweets and his bizarre behavior replaced investigative reporting; it was tabloid news on steroids.

While Donald Trump remained unvetted and his numerous business conflicts ignored, the press obsessed over Hillary Clinton’s email server. Even after the Justice Department declined to indict Clinton, and confirmed there was no evidence of Clinton’s server ever being hacked, the press continued to fixate over her emails.

When WikiLeaks released Podesta’s stolen unverified emails to the public, the press reported on the emails without first verifying the validity of the stolen data. The legitimacy of the materials was unknown, and any modifications made to the emails would be difficult to disprove. Even with the many unanswered questions swirling around the emails, and WikiLeaks undeniable motive to influence the election, the press still continued to report on the emails.

News outlets did not distinguish between Hillary Clinton’s emails server and John Podesta’s private stolen emails from his personal Gmail account. Voters assumed Podesta’s stolen emails originated from Clinton’s email server, they did not. Russian hackers accessed the private Gmail account of John Podesta; the incident was unrelated to Hillary’s email server.

To add insult to injury, members of the media had access to a scathing report outlining serious allegations regarding Trump and his ties to Russia. The unverified report had not been available to the public until two months after the election. Members of the press defended not publishing the document out of concerns with its authenticity. However, the same journalistic standards and practices were not applied to Podesta’s stolen emails. There was an apparent double standard, and it was unfair to Hillary Clinton how the media handled the materials.

Reporters and journalists were willing pawns in Russia’s conspiracy to destroy Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. By ignoring Trump’s questionable business deals and many ties to Russia, and assisting WikiLeaks with publishing stolen materials, the media helped normalize Trump while substantiating Clinton’s perceived corruption. Russian interference in the 2016 election would not have been as effective if the media was not complicit in disseminating Russian propaganda.

FBI Director James Comey

The final nail in the coffin came as a bombshell letter to Congress from James Comey eleven days before the election. In the letter Comey wrote:

“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”

Comey’s unexpected and unprecedented letter to Congress took the wind out of Clinton’s sails and hampered her momentum going into the final days of the election. Comey’s letter further damaged Hillary Clinton’s credibility with undecided voters and may have suppressed enthusiasm with Democrats. Two days before the election reports revealed the emails were duplicates the FBI already had in their custody, but it was too late for Clinton to regain her momentum.

Comey sent the letter to Congress against the objections of the Justice Department. Comey violated long-standing policies prohibiting employees from interfering or appearing to interfere 60 days before an election. The suspiciously timed letter seemed to have been deliberate, and Comey’s motives raised serious questions with individual members of Congress. Furthermore, Comey has refused to confirm if there is an active investigation into Trump concerning collusion with Russia, fueling the theory Comey’s actions were politically motivated.

We may never know all the reasons Hillary Clinton lost the election, but to allege she lost the election because it was her fault defies logic. Foreign interference along with sub-par journalism played a pivotal role in hurting Clinton’s chances, and to claim otherwise is ignoring the facts. Even with the help of Russia, WikiLeaks, and the media Donald Trump narrowly won the election. One can only wonder if the outcome would have been different if the playing field had been level.

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