Whether you’re someone who believes Donald Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election is irrelevant. The fact remains that Russia launched a sophisticated and multifaceted cyber attack against the United States with the ultimate goals of dividing this country and keeping Hillary Clinton from becoming president. Without Russia’s help, whether it was coordinated with his campaign beyond a Trump Tower meeting or simply inadvertent, Trump doesn’t win.
Here are a few facts.
Russian bots/trolls didn’t just push pro-Trump propaganda and fake news that benefited his campaign, they sought to stir discord among the left by pushing anti-Clinton propaganda and fake news to supporters of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. Not because they wanted to see either as president, or even thought they had a chance to win, but simply to turn the far-left against Clinton.
And it worked.
By the time the Democratic primary was over, many Sanders supporters were attacking her with the same hostility, lines of attack, and conspiracies as Republicans. At times I couldn’t tell if many of the comments I was seeing were being posted by Fox News-loving conservatives or people calling themselves liberals. I had many of these folks tell me that they viewed her as “no better than a Republican,” with some even saying she’d be “worse than Trump.” Heck, some even told me that they believed Trump was more progressive than she was.
While I understand why some on the far-left might not have been the biggest fans of Clinton, to call a lot of the rhetoric I saw from supposed “liberal Sanders supporters” throughout much of the Democratic primary and general election “absurd” would be an understatement. It put people like myself in one hell of a spot trying to call out and correct ridiculous lies and conspiracies while getting attacked by a combination of real Sanders/Stein supporters and Russians/other false amplifiers.
However, despite an unprecedented amount of money spent by the right-wing trying to slander her, years worth of bogus Benghazi “investigations” by Republicans trying to hurt her chances at winning in 2016, an FBI investigation that plagued her for most of her campaign concerning emails nobody really cared about except to use against her because they didn’t like her, and a sophisticated cyber attack launched by Russia aimed at pushing propaganda, lies, and conspiracies against her before and after hacking her campaign’s emails — she still defeated Trump in the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. Furthermore, overall, 54 percent of the country voted against Trump.
Trump and his supporters can claim “massive voter fraud” all they want, but that doesn’t make it any more true today than when they first made that ridiculous claim over a year ago. He legitimately — and legally — lost to Clinton by nearly 3 million votes while 54 percent of the country voted against him in one way or another.
Yes, he won the electoral college, making him this country’s current “president,” but that doesn’t change the fact that he’ll go down in history as one of the biggest losers to ever be elected.
Then there’s always the fact that his electoral college victory, once you really look at it, wasn’t impressive. Sure, on the surface he won “easily” — except he really didn’t. The difference between Trump and Clinton being in the White House came down to less than 100,000 votes spread throughout the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Meaning that Trump barely won despite the fact his political opponent wasn’t just being attacked by his campaign, she had the Russian government carrying out a calculated attack against her, too.
Am I saying that Russia specifically went in there and changed votes to help Trump? No, of course not. Aside from evidence that Russia went after several states trying to get voter information, and apparently did get some voter information from at least a few of those states, there’s been no credible evidence that anyone’s vote was actually changed without their knowledge.
That said, to say that all this Russian-pushed propaganda didn’t influence voters, and couldn’t have impacted the results of the election, is ridiculous.
If the information Russian hackers obtained from the DNC and John Podesta’s emails had no impact on the election, then why did Trump, the GOP, the conservative media, and their supporters constantly use that information against her? Unless Trump and his supporters are claiming he used this information on a daily basis prior to the 2016 election not thinking it would have any negative impact on Clinton. And if that’s the angle they’re taking on this issue, which would be preposterous, then they need to explain why, if that’s the case, did Trump use the hacked information so frequently to attack Clinton?
Furthermore, if the propaganda and disinformation Russians have been pumping out on social media had no impact, then why was even Trump’s campaign staff tweeting the garbage out to his supporters right up until Election Day? Last I checked, campaigns typically don’t levy attacks against their political opponents during election season unless they feel doing so will hurt their opponent’s chances while benefiting their own.
Were there other factors that helped Trump win? Yes. No one thing led to his victory or Clinton’s defeat.
That said, without Russia’s cyber attack and multifaceted campaign of disinformation, smears, slander, hatred and conspiracies against Clinton that benefited one man and one man alone, Donald J. Trump, I have absolutely no doubt that she wins by probably over 6 million votes, 50% of the overall vote, and eclipses 300 electoral votes.
Or to put that in a way that I know Donald Trump and his supporters will love hearing: The main reason he won is because he got a lot of help from Russia.