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Everything Cost Clinton the Election

2016 December 17
The Person Most Responsible for Clinton's Loss

When the result (in popular vote margin in the key states) is as close as it was in the US election, every factor in play contributed to the result.

Did the Wikileaks release cost Clinton the election? Probably.

Did Comey’s last minute letter to Congress about Clinton’s email cost the election? Probably.

Did Clinton choosing not to campaign in Wisconsin cost the election? Probably.

Did Clinton’s neglect of the Rust belt cost the election? Probably.

Did the Clinton campaign’s refusal to listen to locals cost the election? Probably.

Did the Clinton campaign’s flawed model cost them the election? Probably.

Did Trump’s superiority in earned media cost the election? Probably.

Did Jared Kushner’s innovative ad campaign cost Clinton the election? Probably.

Did voter suppression cost Clinton the election? Probably.

Did calling a quarter of the electorate “deplorables” cost Clinton the election? Probably.

Right. Hopefully you have understood the point.

What is happening right now is hysteria. An attempt is being made to overthrow the election by saying Russia influenced it, through Wikileaks and Guccifer 2.0.

So far there is no hard evidence for this, and Wikileaks, at least denies it. That US intelligence believes it to be true is nice, but almost irrelevant to anyone with enough memory to remember what they believed in”high confidence” about Iraq.

I seriously suggest you READ the NIE on Iraq from 2002. It was essentially ALL WRONG.

So, if the intelligence community and Obama want to make this charge, they need to release the hard evidence. Their word is not good enough, especially that Putin was personally involved.

I point out, once more, that even if true, this amounts to “overturn the election because a foreign government helped release TRUE information about one of the candidates.”

If it actually occurred, I would regard it as a neoliberal coup, similar to the ones which occurred in Greece and Italy, meant to insure policy continuity in the face of someone who doesn’t agree with all the tenets of neoliberalism.

I don’t think faithless electors will throw the election (but who knows), however I note something else important: creating this as the primary storyline mitigates, hard, at looking at stuff which Democrats can actually control: like their own abysmal campaign, at virtually ever level from basics like canvassing (“we don’t need literature”, said the Clinton campaign), to their model, to their message “America is already great”, “deplorables”, to clearning the field so a candidate with huge negatives would be annointed the candidate.

If Democrats had gotten even one or two of the things listed above which were in their control right, and which did not depend on their opponents actions at all (and the list is incomplete) Clinton would almost certainly be President-elect today.

Running against Russia in the election was stupid; the act of a Goldwater girl who doesn’t understand that the USSR fell almost 30 years ago. Making them the primary actor in Clinton’s loss and Trump’s win pushes attention away from the things which can be fixed by Democrats unilaterally, and is dangerous to boot, both domestically, by degrading political norms even further, and internationally, by hyping a heavily nuclear armed state as an enemy when America has almost no actual interests in opposition to Russia’s. (Syria and the Ukraine are unimportant to the US’s interests. Period.)

Meanwhile, the Democrats have spent the last eight years being slaughtered at the State and local levels. In February of 2009, I wrote that Obama was planning to ditch the 50 state strategy, and received a torrent of abuse (mostly from Kossacks.) The Whitehouse said that was bullshit; their hero wouldn’t do that!

He did.

Self-goal. Something completely under the party’s control that they chose to do, which hurt them.

In the end, whether or not Russia released some derogatory–but true–information about Clinton and other Democratic candidates, that act was only one of many factors which cost Clinton the election.

Concentrating on it is stupid, demagogic, and dangerous and allows people whose fuck-ups were far more responsible for the loss to largely slide.

Democrats should concentrate on what they can control, and understand that, as the side with less guns, constitutional norms protect them more than they do the other side.


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67 Responses
  1. nihil obstet permalink
    December 17, 2016

    The biggest problem with Democrats is that they don’t even consider the question, “What’s the point of a Democratic victory?” I can’t see a thing that the Democratic leaders want other than to win for personal advancement. I guess there’s a lot of the conceit that only they can save the world by keeping the masses of people from looting the corporations by getting food, housing, education, health care, and a dignified retirement. Every one of them seems to want to earn a historical legacy by proving their toughness and wisdom by “reforming entitlements”.

    If that’s your world view, then the only thinking you can do is tactical. You’re still governed by your own outlook, but like medieval knights charging longbows, you can’t see that the tactic that validates your self-image is a loser. So you do believe the consultants telling you that yard signs and literature don’t matter; tv commercials and social media is where it’s at. The working class who have lost decent jobs are too dumb to have retrained for the new economy, so they’ll never appreciate you; better focus on getting the richer Republican suburbs to vote for you. And portraying yourself as fighting sexism and racism is always a good ploy because it shows how moral you are, except when you have to reassure the suburbs that you’re not actually on the side of the poor minorities and women.

    We keep trying to get the Democrats to acknowledge their boneheadedness about elections so that they can do better. I’m afraid the problem is that they think every decision they made was justified by the studies and the data that the white collar professions worship. (Cue end of Sunset Boulevard.) It’s not that they were wrong; the world has gotten wrong.

  2. realitychecker permalink
    December 17, 2016

    Great post, AND a great first comment.

    Think it will shut anybody up lol?

  3. Peter permalink
    December 17, 2016

    I had hoped to never suffer again from having to see this picture of the Red Queen but Ian seems to enjoy torturing my eyes.

    The Clintonites and their Red Queen are dead meat and they are beginning to stink as the rot sets in and spreads. Trying to talk reason or offer advice to political zombies is a dead end because they can’t or won’t hear you.

    This condition was evident before the election but Trump’s victory has exposed the whole unhinged nature of liberal secular fundamentalism and how it resembles a fanatical religious dogma. Watching this spread even to supposedly progressive sites like a contagion is troubling even as some of them try to appear as doubters and questioners.

    The Ugly Queen above is directly responsible for the spread of this neo-McCarthyite madness through the establishment so I support what the AP now calls hate-speech, ‘Lock Her Up’

  4. December 17, 2016

    “who know”

    with “s”.

  5. December 17, 2016

    I agree that in an election this close there are a lot of “probablys” that led to Clinton’s loss but I don’t think you can dump them into a “pick one” mass as, because of the timing and nature of some of them, like the Comey letter, certain ones had more impact them others.

    Also, iirc, didn’t the soon-to-be-doomed campaign to appeal to the EC start well before the current “new” Russia information? I think it started almost right after the election. The current reports may be wind beneath it’s wings but it’s been talked about, even here, weeks ago and looks to be based on a range of pleadings (i.e. popular vote, Hamilton electors, conflicts of interest, unfit for office, ) and not just the supposed Russia stuff.

    I understand but, disagree with your “But it’s TRUE” logic. Just as a principle, if someone were to hack into a computer and find derogatory but true information about someone and help release it to the public and it affected that person negatively, somehow I don’t get the feeling that they would wave off the hacking because the information was true.

    Also, I don’t think the Democrats should be concerned about being the side with less guns. This is the U.S. Guns are easy to get but it’s more likely that the side with more guns will continue to do what they are currently doing with them which is either nothing or hurting themselves or each other with them.

  6. realitychecker permalink
    December 17, 2016

    @ ks

    Really stupid last two paragraphs there, but even if your example was taken seriously, Hillary’s remedy would only be to go sue the ‘Russians.’

    Admit it: You just think things should always go the way you want, period.

    Hopelessly partisan victim mentality on full display.

    Your side lost. Show some class and resign yourself to your loser status.

    Elections have consequences.

  7. subgenius permalink
    December 17, 2016

    Not sure if this has been seen – worth a look…

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/12/us-intel-vets-dispute-russia-hacking-claims/

  8. subgenius permalink
    December 17, 2016

    Also…KS…

    Yeah, guns are easy to come by.

    Use, in extremis, is not that easy a skill to acquire.

    Tactics, strategy – also useful. Something the Democratic types obviously lack any concept of…

  9. bruce wilder permalink
    December 17, 2016

    I was thoroughly surprised, but not really sorry, that she lost. My expectation was that her Presidency would be the scene of a legitimacy crisis; now, apparently, Trump’s Presidency will be the scene of a legitimacy crisis. A legitimacy crisis was coming, regardless.

    The Dem hysteria is a distraction from projection of all the reasons why a legitimacy crisis has been building. nihil obstet’s great first comment gets at why. Ryan Cooper, writing at This Week, has made similar points recently, writing about why so many Democrats are “cynical, soulless hacks”, but I really loved the piece he wrote last May: “Fear the Foreign Policy Blob” where he quoted a paraphrase description from Ben Rhodes of the foreign policy establishment (explicitly including Clinton) as “The Blob” and then explained the essential character of “The Blob”: “The fundamental attribute of “the Blob” really is a sort of amoral incompetence, where constant bloody and catastrophic failure has virtually zero impact on elite thinking.

    amoral incompetence immune to feedback from failures — that’s Clinton’s Democratic Party establishment.

  10. V. Arnold permalink
    December 17, 2016

    bruce wilder
    December 17, 2016

    …amoral incompetence immune to feedback from failures — that’s Clinton’s Democratic Party establishment.

    That has a nice ring to it, and fits to a tee…

  11. December 17, 2016

    Of course there are many factors, that is the point – because you not only need to steal the election, but convinced the other side that you are not stealing it.

  12. December 17, 2016

    Ian,

    I’ve put up with “realitychecker’s” silly insults and tiresome baiting for quite a while now but enough is enough. He reappeared here a few weeks back specifically to insult me and hasn’t given the nonsense a rest since. You dropped the ban hammer on the admittedly strident Ron for much less, though similar, persistent behavior. I know you operate with a light touch but, do you have consistent standards here or not or is all that matters is agreement?

  13. December 17, 2016

    @subgenuis,

    Okay, if you say so. If you want to believe that “Democratic types” (whatever that means) lack any concept of tactics or strategy and using guns “in etremis” would be difficult for them to learn, go right ahead .

  14. Ian Welsh permalink*
    December 17, 2016

    I ban rarely, and the primary reason is someone annoying me consistently (it is my site, and ownership has few privileges) or outright and consistent lies combined with rudeness. Ron used the same insult dozens of times, with almost no variation. He wasn’t adding much to the conversation.

    One should also not assume I consistently read all comments. Often I only skim them, especially once they’ve gone off topic or descended into tedious back-and-forth which I find uninteresting.

    Realitychecker: more polite, please. It costs you nothing and I would appreciate it. You can disagree without making it personal.

    Also, a comment should have has its purpose more than just insulting another commenter. Those that don’t are the ones I most often delete. (Often being a relative term, I go entire weeks without deleting anything.)

  15. Hugh permalink
    December 17, 2016

    The Democratic Establishment forced a shit awful candidate down the throats of their base. Said candidate then ran one of the most shit awful campaigns in recent history, and lost. I keep coming back to this: Character is destiny. Hillary Clinton always had the biggest tin ear in politics. She was endlessly corrupt, irritatingly out of touch, and comically entitled. She was such a liar that if she said it was noon, even Bill would look out the window to see if it was still dark. She ran as the status quo candidate when the country was sick to death of the status quo. She ran as the candidate of Wall Street when most of the country hated Wall Street. She ran as the TINA candidate and offered ordinary voters nothing, except her contempt. She ran a contentless identity politics campaign which failed to energize the groups she needed where she needed them. She also threw under the bus all kinds of groups the moment she thought she did not need them, and then belatedly and unsuccessfully tried to bring them back on board in the most perfunctory and insulting manner possible: the deplorables, Millennials, Bernie supporters, the working class, especially white working class women. She could have picked Sanders as a running mate which might have brought back some of these groups and energized her base, but she chose instead a “safe” conservative non-entity. She could have championed Medicare for All, an issue that she was slightly less tainted on and for which she could use Sanders as cover. She could have apologized for her server and email fiascos straightout, instead of engaging in standard Clinton legalistic weaselry. She could have done a lot of things differently, but character is destiny. Her character precluded her from acting any other way than as she did.

  16. December 17, 2016

    Ian,

    Fair enough. Thanks.

  17. Peter permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @Hugh

    You appear to be saying that you would have supported this pig dressed in better PR, lies and heavier lipstick. There would still have been nothing but self interest and hubris under a better mascaraed.

    Right now she is trying to assist in the maintenance of the regime change agenda against Russia along with her enablers in the establishment. So far the world is a better place because she was vanquished so leave the stake in her black heart and step back, away from the miasma that intoxicated too many people.

  18. Sandra Williams permalink
    December 18, 2016

    I take solace in the news that minorities ( including myself ) are buying guns at a rapid clip and that the US state does not have the complete monopoly on violence.

  19. Peter permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @Sandra

    The second amendment is for everyone even though George Washington freaked out when he saw armed Black men in the revolutionary war forces in Boston.

    If you are unfamiliar with firearms you might get some training and the NRA sponsors excellent programs. Joining a shooting range is also a good idea to become comfortable, confident and safe with a deadly weapon.

  20. V. Arnold permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Peter
    December 18, 2016
    @Sandra

    As a certified firearms instructor in rifles, pistols, and shotguns; I can say that is very good advice.
    Familiarity assures safety, and confidence.

  21. Lisa permalink
    December 18, 2016

    On purely technical terms ..the Dems ran an appalling campaign. They had a central analytic area ..which is good ..but the models and methodology were totally wrong (Stafford Beer is turning in his grave).

    People on the ground crying out for resources because they knew they were in a close fight being told ‘oh we are 5 points ahead don’t bother’.

    I’d love to grab those idiots and shake them real hard. It was the exact opposite of a proper C&C control system built on how proper analytic (actually Operations Research) principles should be.

    I am reminded of a classic OR story from WW2 about mine clearing. A British maths guy and an US physicist. The maths guy tried to build a model base on the reports, the phySics guy wanted to go out with the ships to actually see what happened. When the got out he saw that the reports were all rubbish (written long after the events), in fact so bad that the only thing that was right was ‘the mine was on the port or starboard side’. He built a search model that actually helped the mine clearers to work better…based on real facts.

    The maths guy? Achieved nothing….. reality beats maths every day. Better to have something crude, based on solid facts, then something ‘perfect’ based on nonsense. In fact it is better to concentrate on using maths to build better filters (etc) to improve data accuracy and improve response times ( so if you are initially wrong you can correct it quickly).

    But they went their merry little way…further and further into fantasy and terminally slow in responding to actually proven facts.

    If the greatest system of all, the C&C system used in the Battle of Britain had been like that (with multiple raw data sources, filters and time dependent 2D representation of a 3D battle) had been like that, the Luftwaffe would have won and the RAF would have discovered they had lost a couple of weeks later.

  22. V. Arnold permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Clinton surely lost, but; did Trump win?
    The internet is abuzz with soft coup by CIA propaganda/conspiracy theories.
    I want to dismiss it as not worthy of concern but Obama continues to double down on Putin (personally) interfering with the U.S. elections.
    I can’t believe people actually believe this tripe. But the MSM is unrelenting, wow!!
    Well, tomorrow is E day; hang on, it’ll be a wild ride and maybe, just maybe, the worst day for the U.S. in recent memory if Trump actually loses.
    We’ll see…

  23. Ché Pasa permalink
    December 18, 2016

    First: Dems know how to win elections. The Democratic Party is the oldest continuously operating political party on earth, and they have an extraordinary institutional memory. They are no slouches at fighting dirty and jiggering elections to their advantage. That’s part of the reason why I discount entirely the hysteria over “Russian Interference.” It’s a stupid distraction from what is and has long been going on. They don’t win when they don’t think winning is in their interests.

    Second: Hillary’s loss was not supposed to happen. Her victory was set in concrete long ago: She would be elevated to the presidency by (divine?) right, and the rest of us could like it or lump it, there was nothing we could do about it.

    Corollary: The operational paradigm of our Ruling Clique is “governing contrary” — that is to say, ignoring, dismissing or denouncing the public will and the public interest to serve the demands of the sponsors and owners of the government. This includes who serves as the public face of the government, ie: the President. And it is true of both major political parties, neither of which has the least interest in the public — except to the extent they can be exploited.

    As can be easily shown, neither major party’s candidate was embraced by a majority of the voters in this election. Hillary had more votes but not enough votes in key states, ergo her (unexpected) loss. We don’t and can’t know whether the votes in those states were recorded and tabulated correctly, but that’s part of the design of our elections. We have to take the outcome on faith because it can’t be verified.

    Third: The substance of Mr. Trump’s (unexpected) government will most likely be similar to if not identical with Mrs. Clinton’s had she won. He will govern just as contrary to the public interest and will as Mrs. Clinton would have, only without the filter of sham concern for the Little People that government professionals typically display.

    The style will be will be wildly different than the style of government we’re accustomed to and will likely be much more entertaining for the Rabble. After all, Trump’s chief public identity is that of a reality TeeVee star. He and his people will cut out the middle man and rule directly as the plutocrats they are. No buffer on their desires and will. Also, no interest in the needs and desires of those they rule. As they make perfectly plain, they are in it for themselves and the interests of their class. And they intend to make the most of it.

    Finally, Hillary could run the kind of cynical and negative campaign she did because it didn’t matter: she was destined to win, and the campaign was merely a stepping stone on the way to victory. Her opening offer to the electorate was “No you can’t” and from there her campaign was almost totally focused on tearing down her opponent(s), not on anything positive for people to vote for. In that, she was being honest: she wouldn’t be doing jack for you or me, not if she could avoid it. But he was an Evil Clown, and he would be worse. Pick me, she said, because I’m not him.

    Trump’s victory is disruptive and destabilizing but it doesn’t really change the nature of our contrary government. It may not be sustainable however because of its chaotic nature. Being wrong/evil is one thing, being as chaotic as the Trump campaign was and the initial phases of the Trump transition have been is a clear and present danger, not just to the Ruling Clique but to the institution of government itself. That may please some of the nihilists who support Trump, but the push back from the forces of stabilization (ie: the Establishment) is mounting. They don’t know what to do, but neither does Trump or his cronies.

    We’re in uncharted territory with unpredictable results.

    Nothing would surprise me at this point, but there are plenty more shocks to come.

  24. Ivory Bill Woodpecker permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @KS and the other remaining sensible people here:

    Why bother? Why not find other blogs–there are thousands–and just leave this place to the privileged white bros from the alt-left and the alt-right (an increasingly irrelevant distinction)?

    Driftglass, The Confluence, Cannonfire, Uppity Woman are all good places to hang out.

  25. hidflect permalink
    December 18, 2016

    I am a member of a small chat group (LINE) within which there are 15 self-proclaimed liberal progressives including myself. Not one voted for Hillary. Quite a few seemed to prefer Trump just to spite Madame Clinton. The biggest reason seems to be she is just a loathsome person, as trivial as that sounds.

  26. V. Arnold permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @ Ivory Bill Woodpecker
    December 18, 2016

    I’d sooner drink rat poison than follow any advice from your trolling bullshit.

    @ hidflect

    I do not engage social media, but agree and it’s not trivial, but ture. Cheers

  27. V. Arnold permalink
    December 18, 2016

    ^ true
    Crapola…

  28. Zach permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Just a small quibble, its called an “own goal” not a self-goal. Thanks for the link to the Iraq NIE circa 2002, very helpful to use when speaking to friends who are aghast that someone might not believe the “Russia did it” lines coming from our stenographer press.

  29. Stephen Douglas permalink
    December 18, 2016

    As Reagan said: There you go again. In your first sentence you say:

    When the result (in electoral college votes, which is what matter) is as close as it was in the US election, everything caused the loss.

    JFK had less than Trump; Carter had less than Trump; Bush II had much less than Trump (in both 2000 & 2004). Those were close elections (electorially). Truman had less than Trump; Woodrow Wilson had less than Trump (in his second election); McKinley had less than Trump (in both his elections).

    This was not a close election. Trump won. It wasn’t close.

  30. December 18, 2016

    I love it when Reps state the obvious, without getting at the truth. Do they send you someplace, or is it a natural gift?

  31. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    December 18, 2016

    If Trump’s opponents are convinced he’s Hitler, they seem intent on giving him his Reichstag fire.

    One thing worth pondering is the sheer reckless duplicity of the respectable left pundit class. They made a huge issue about pressing Trump to pre-commit to accepting the results of the election. At that point I’m sure that Trump was recalling the primaries, where he relented and took a pledge to support the Republican nominee, only to have establishment puppets Jeb and Kasich, who are so wont to loudly proclaim how principled they are, cavalierly renege on their own pledge once Trump had won.

    So now the media and the Clinton, who wailed for days about Trump “violating norms”, are now casually plotting an unprecedented electoral college coup. What happened to the concern about Constitutional norms? When the Trump administration retaliates against these coup-plotters, they will predictably go back to complaining about their rights, but they won’t have a leg to stand on.

  32. Mallam permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Che you can’t say she’d govern the same as Trump — do you see who they’re putting at head of OMB? Freedom Caucus lunatic who wants to kill Medicare, SS, and elimate all federal regulations. At OMB he will have wide latitude on such regulations (especially vetoing any new ones), and direct how all of the money is spent. How anyone can look at trump’s cabinet and still declare they’re only marginally different is beyond me. Rather than a Justice Dept that will investigate police brutality, and allow for left organizing around the issue, we will have someone who shouts “Blue Lives Matter”. We can’t get these fuckers convicted in court even with video of them shooting people in the back, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Sessions authorizes some sort of blanket immunity and empowers them to kill more. Who knows what will happen with legal marijuana. We will have a Labor Sec who wants to abolish the minimum wage, and we will almost certainly have a NLRB explicitly hostile to unions — compared with the one that recognized graduate student unions (which elite schools like Columbia are trying to deny). His EPA chief is suing the very EPA he wil head. The list is endless.

  33. realitychecker permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @ Ian

    “ks permalink
    December 17, 2016

    Ian,

    I’ve put up with “realitychecker’s” silly insults and tiresome baiting for quite a while now but enough is enough. He reappeared here a few weeks back specifically to insult me and hasn’t given the nonsense a rest since. You dropped the ban hammer on the admittedly strident Ron for much less, though similar, persistent behavior. I know you operate with a light touch but, do you have consistent standards here or not or is all that matters is agreement?”

    Well, Ian, I have to say I am very surprised that you would give any credence whatsoever to this transparent mewling by one of the most prolific partisan bullshit-spewers that ever posts comments here. In stark contrast to your thoughtful and balanced and honest approach to analysis, which I appreciate and always strive to emulate, this guy is one about whom one can always assume just by seeing his handle exactly what the thrust of his comments will always be.
    Now he demands that he not be refuted, and you ask me to be more polite?

    I am polite to everybody who does not continuously spew transparent bullshit on these pages. I come here because you and most of your commenters operate in good faith and try to be thoughtful. So I can share my knowledge here as well as learn from others, and that is a precious thing. But the kind of blatantly biased propaganda that always comes from this mewler and a few others requires a response in ridicule, because they have shown that they are completely impervious to refutation by facts or logic.

    I appreciate your reluctance to censor, it is a badge of honor on your part. I will try to be more ‘polite,” since you ask. But I hope you appreciate that it is also experienced as an insult when an honest debater has to read self-serving drivel coming from certain actors on a consistent basis. And that is especially true when such dishonest propagandists actually have the UNMITIGATED GALL to demand that others be silenced so they can spew their stupid and dishonest nonsense unimpeded by the ridicule they so richly deserve.

    My handle tells you all you really need to know about what I am about and why I come here. Read some of ks’ comments, and see if you can find any honest merit in ANY of them. Then consider: Maybe the one who demands a banning is actually the one who is most deserving of being banned.

    Which does not mean that I am asking you to ban him; I actually believe in the marketplace of ideas concept above all else, and even fallacious entries into that market serve a beneficial function by showing us what to reject. And appropriate ridicule is a time-tested way to highlight that function. As you well know.

  34. dude permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Che’ Pasa says the Democrats know how to win an election and they know all the tricks. I think that might be true if you take the long view over all American elections as he does, but I do not believe they have performed to that standard of competence since George Wallace reared his head. Whether you credit him or Nixon or Strom Thurmond (or even Lyndon Johnson) as the point of origin, the Democratic Party has not run as a party against the Republican Party in decades.

    “I don’t belong to any organized party. I’m a Democrat” used to be a joke, but even in Will Rogers day the Democrats had sense enough to treat the Republicans as the problem, not the individual personalities. The Republicans at least since Nixon, but with a huge push from Reagan, have had the sense to treat the opposition as a The Wrong Party.

    So when I look at the failed Democratic campaigns in my lifetime, what I see is the dumb and diluted tactic of attacking someone they think is the outrageous personification of the Republicans, not the Republican ideology, the Republican history of performance, not the Republican “brand” at every level–state or Federal.

    On another note, I think people ought to wake-up to the rather bad results America seems to get when they repeatedly get the itch to elect dynasties to the White House. Enough with the Kennedy’s, the Clinton’s and the Bush’s. If I had to cite the main reason I did not support Clinton, it is this one. It may sound irrational to some, but I think history shows defect in the American psyche is pretty defective in this department. We shouldn’t look for royal lines. Ever.

  35. dude permalink
    December 18, 2016

    should have been:

    “…ut I think history shows the American psyche is pretty defective in this department. We shouldn’t look for royal lines. Ever.”

    Getting wrapped around the axle. Sorry.

  36. Kevin Block-Schwenk permalink
    December 18, 2016

    I’d still say there’s a qualitative difference between the Wikileaks stuff (which as you say, is legit information) and the Russian government paying people and create bots to troll Facebook and produce fake information. The United States doesn’t allow foreigners to give money to campaigns for fear of foreign influence, and what the Russians did for DT was an enormous multiplier of the maximum legal donation.

    All that said, you’re certainly right that the HRC campaign screwed up, and that the Democratic establishment under BHO screwed up by abandoning the 50-state strategy and clearing the field for a weak candidate.

  37. realitychecker permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @ Ian

    AND, I hope you will note that ks usually demonstrates exactly the kind of behavior towards others that he here complains about me leveling against him, only even more devoted to name-calling and rank ad hominem than I would ever stoop to.

    Thus, it very nearly makes my head explode to see you yield even one millimeter to accommodate him.

    Intellectual integrity matters quite a lot to me, as I know it also does to you. It’s very ironic to note that the thrust of ks’ comments are almost always in opposition to your own writing, while mine almost always line up with your thought process.

    I would bet that most here would be on my side in this matter.

  38. markfromireland permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Am I the only one deriving pleasure from reading ivorybillbutthurt’s whimpering?

  39. nihil obstet permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @markfromireland

    I think it’s a mood thing. Like sometimes you want comedy and a good whimper fills the bill. Sometimes you want to do a Renaissance faire kind of thing, where you go to Bedlam and laugh at the lunatics, and Ron and anyone who engaged him provided the show. And then there’s the nostalgia for road trips when you and your sibling drove your parents crazy with “He touched me,” “No, he touched me first,” and the comment section will provide. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes not so much, but I’ve seen the damage that strict active moderation can do to a good comment section so I’m glad Ian lets us find our joy where we can.

  40. nihil obstet permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Oh, lest I wasn’t clear, let me make myself clear — I am NOT suggesting bringing Ron back!

  41. realitychecker permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @ nihil obstet

    I agree with you about too active comment moderation, which always seems to become more and more authoritarian in practice. I truly believe such was the truest cause of the death of my very beloved former home, Firedoglake.

  42. LorenzoStDuBois permalink
    December 18, 2016

    I don’t think it’s a case of CIA believing this and being wrong. It’s a mix of that by the dumbs and lying by the cynics, two factions in the CIA.
    I mean, these guys admit that truth is irrelevant.

  43. Peter permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @Kevin Two-Names

    Is this the new meme to replace the old failed Putin Hacked with the shiny new Putin-Bot did it. It’s being reported as fact on National Propaganda Radio and other always truthful and accurate Beast mouthpieces so we must submit.

  44. Hugh permalink
    December 18, 2016

    I think there is a strong tendency to normalize. But our system is thoroughly corrupt. It is not legitimate. Its candidates are not legitimate. Its elections are not legitimate. The results are not legitimate. No one “won” this pus filled sack of an election, but as Lisa and Mallam among others note, the rest of us lost.

    I am reminded of John McCain. McCain received his media approved sobriquet of “maverick” for his support of limited campaign finance in McCain-Feingold, a piece of legislation that the parties had already found workarounds for before the Supreme Court largely gutted it. But because of his association with that bill, “maverick” became essentially a part of his name. When any reference to him was made in the media, especially TV and cable, it was always as “maverick John McCain”. This went on for years despite the fact that McCain had the most consistently conservative voting record in the Senate. I mention this because much the same happened with Trump. The media christened him an “outsider” for taking on the Establishment nitwits running for President and his apparent psychological need to do and say outrageous things to garner personal attention. What got lost in all this was Trump’s hardcore, even radical, conservatism. In a lot of ways, he is even more conservative than McCain, but this didn’t fit the media narrative for him and is only now becoming apparent in the selection of people to fill his Administration. Oh, since I can’t really resist and not that I have any use for McCain but does anyone think that the Donald could have survived one day what McCain endured for 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam?

  45. realitychecker permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @ Hugh

    That Trump was an ‘outsider’ was conclusively demonstrated by the unified efforts of every single Establishment actor to totally destroy him by any and all means whatsoever, efforts which continue to this day.

    I agree with you most of the time, but I think you are being a bit blinded by something when you deny this, to me, very obvious truth.

    We’ll see how he governs, but remember that he was once a Democrat, and he can swing back in that direction on some important issues. I think his heart is much better than he is getting credit for, but even so I am just waiting to see.

    We clearly didn’t get stuck with the worst choice on the menu, IMO.

  46. Charlie Dozen permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Stephen Douglas –

    The first sentence of the article is somewhat garbled. Clearly 306-232 isn’t close, and I seriously doubt Welsh meant to claim that (although that’s one way to read it). Rather I’m sure he meant that the election was close in terms of the contest for electors. And looking at the margins that produced that 306-232 outcome, it clearly was. (On the side I note that the “beauty contest” the national popular vote was also close; 2% is close, however much some Clinton supporters have psyched themselves into thinking it was one of the greatest margins ever.)

  47. December 18, 2016

    Independent security researchers have verified the Russian involvement in the hacks and in Wikileaks. Guccifer is not Russian, but they commit hacks for the highest bidder and the money has been tracked between Guccifer and accounts linked to the Russians, and Wikileaks is *hosted* in Russia, which wouldn’t happen without the complicity of the Russian government. In fact, *WE* are the ones who brought all this to the attention of the National Security Establishment, which is so bugfuck stupid that they wouldn’t know a hack if it bit them on the ass. Hell, the FBI has to hire consultants just to tell them the right way to insert floppy disks into their ancient Clinton-era personal computers. It wasn’t until a few years ago that they typed all their reports with *typewriters*, for cryin’ out loud. They keep trying to hire young computer literate types with degrees in computer science and accounting, but for some reason none of those types want to go work for a fossilized politicized agency that pays less than industry, has a stultifying bureaucracy, and lacks any of the old benefits that used to come with government work (remember, Reagan did away with federal pensions).

    That said, the Russians may have hacked some people, but it was voters, in the end, who went to the polls and voted these people into office. That’s the bottom line. Nobody has proposed that the Russians hacked the actual election computers to generate false totals, and that’s really the only thing that would justify overturning the election.

  48. Peter permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Obama put on a backpedaling performance Friday unlike anything seen since the last red-line in Syria. He had nothing to show the electors that had demanded a classified briefing on the so-called Russian hacks so the transition will continue. He is calling on the frenzied Clintonite mobs to chill and face reality and even suggested that someone else in the Kremlin could have been responsible besides Putin. This is probably as close to an admission that this whole affair was a political ploy, built on lies, that we will see.

    The Clintonites and their media are furious at Obama for abandoning their insane path to revival and his R2P them from the Donald. I wonder if some of the Joint Chiefs had a sit-down with Barry and explained what thin ice he was treading on both with Putin and with those responsible for protecting the constitutional transfer of power.

  49. realitychecker permalink
    December 18, 2016

    @ Peter

    But, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but, but . . . 🙂

  50. Peter permalink
    December 19, 2016

    We’ll see about the Clintionite butts after the electoral college vote. I may be reacting too soon but I think this agenda began to unravel when Obama tried to publicly shame, convince or bully Trump into accepting the bogus CIA assertions about Putin helping him win the election by hacking. Trump basically replied ‘bite me’ not being so stupid as to help the Clintonites fit him for a necktie party.

    Without Trump helping them the whole house of cards they built started to fall without any evidence to hold it together just more empty unconvincing rhetoric. The Clintonites may have something left to throw against the wall but this appears to be over and I hope so.

  51. markfromireland permalink
    December 19, 2016

    I find myself agreeing with Peter. Note to the Clinton supporters here, Trump is not Gore. Gore was a coward it could be that Trump is a coward too but so far he seems to be standing his ground.

  52. Jon Cloke permalink
    December 19, 2016

    You forgot to mention the general degradation of the Democrat machine and the DNC in particular, where they steadily select *the* worst, most venal candidates at the local level on the premise that they are unquestioningly loyal to the Clinton machine.

    In what alternative reality would candidates like Bayh, McAuliffe (and Murphy) appear as anything other than a slap in the face for progressives and struggling working-class families? Rahm Emmanuel was such a great choice for Chicago, was he?

    What used to be called the Steve Israel problem became the Wasserman-Schulz problem, the corrupt, nepotistic selection of complicit friends and hangers-on at state level as an open insult to anyone expecting something different from party political governance…

  53. Hugh permalink
    December 19, 2016

    realitychecker, I have seen so many fights between sockpuppets that it is beyond old. Personnel is policy. So look at Trump’s personnel. It’s not a pretty sight.

    I have said for years now that the rich and elites need to be understood through a class perspective. They don’t need smoke filled rooms to hatch grand conspiracies against us. They do it right out in the open. Sure there can be a lot of jostling and backstabbing among them (like in the Republican primaries) but in the end, it is always we who are looted and they who laugh all the way to the bank. Trump is no different.

    For those who like sports analogies, think of the Democrats and Republicans as two football teams, or the rich and elites as a football league. There can be lots of trashtalking, different jersies, even a lot of violence on the field. But at the end of the day, it’s all football. It’s not like one side is pro-football and the other is anti-football. Whoever wins, however they win, the game remains the same. So come back in say two years and let’s compare notes.

  54. realitychecker permalink
    December 19, 2016

    @ Hugh

    I agree with you about the appointments so far, they don’t look good on the surface. But they do look like very tough negotiators, that is what Trump promised, so I’ll wait to see how they are instructed by their boss.

    I certainly expect to be unhappy with some policy choices, but it’s a Republican victory, after all. I would say, this economy certainly needs a short term boost of some kind, since we’ve run the free money game as far as it can go, with weak results.

    But I have said before, if Trump DOES betray his supporters, then that will just bring us closer to a time when the public might actually be angry enough to rise up against the elite, which I would favor as a last resort to re-shuffle power and priorities nationally.

    I’ve asked you about this last possibility, but you didn’t seem to take it seriously. I did see a comment from you a couple of days ago, where you did seem to be ready to embrace a fight, is that where you really are now?

  55. anonymous coward permalink
    December 19, 2016

    What we’re witnessing is the equivalent of Birtherism. The sore losers can’t contest the election results so they contest the eligibility or legitimacy of the contestant who just cleaned their clock. It will become a fixture among the unhinged fringe of the self-described left, but will go nowhere. If they actually achieved their goal, to block Trump from assuming office in a procedural coup d’etat or similar skulduggery, they would soon find themselves the losing side of a far more serious contest. Deep down inside, they probably know that. Years of whining and screeching histrionics are to come, so lay in a supply of earplugs now before the supply tightens and the price explodes.

  56. Billikin permalink
    December 19, 2016

    I don’t think that we have run the free money game as far as we could. We just gave it to the wrong people.

  57. Peter permalink
    December 19, 2016

    @AC

    There is one correlation between these two political agendas and that is that Clintonites started them both. There are also huge differences between them with the Birther craze occurring among people with little or no power. Obama may have been annoyed or even embarrassed by the Birthers but his presidency was never actually challenged except in the minds of the powerless Birthers.

    The ‘Putin stole our election’ crisis was a real threat to the peaceful transition of power with the most powerful forces in government, media and politics all drinking the Kool-Aid. It appears to have burnt itself out but there are still 30 days remaining before the purges of the insane can begin.

  58. subgenius permalink
    December 19, 2016

    @ KS

    So, how many times have you been in combat?

    You obviously have no fucking idea what it takes.

    @ Badtux

    Check earlier link I posted, re. Russian hacking.

  59. Hugh permalink
    December 19, 2016

    realitychecker, I see the system as hopelessly corrupt. Reforms either get twisted into more of the same or lost. The only way to change is through revolution. Revolution can take many forms. Most degenerate into internecine violence. This is why it is important going in to have a clear plan for what we as a society want and how to get there.

    Betrayal was baked in with all, and I mean all, the candidates from the beginning. We saw Sanders do it with his supporters. Trump’s picks show he is already well on his way with doing it with his.

  60. Peter permalink
    December 19, 2016

    It looks as if most of the electors who tried to change their vote were Clinton electors but the results aren’t complete yet.

    The rhetoric/lies continues to pour from the snowflake press with promises of more to come but one Trump elector described the petitioners as curled in the corner sucking their thumbs. The snowflakes seem to be returning to just being flakes. The Soros faction have big plans for a woman’s brigade demonstrating at the swearing in ceremony where Obama may have to have them hosed down to cool their liberal hysteria.

    The question now is how will Trump respond to the instigators and perpetrators of this soft coup. Dismissing it as political and ignoring it during this time is probably wise but once he takes office these traitors must be confronted and dealt with firmly.

    The situation and complexion of this coup attempt was not unlike the what happened in Turkey at least among the higher placed functionaries in government and the media. The Clintonite cult should be viewed as being similar to the Gulenist cult which was also deeply entrenched into the establishment with a large following.

    Trump’s options may be limited but the CIA can get a complete new management team and the Clintonite politicians can be isolated and shunned while much of the media could be confined to cages/security zones during presidential briefings and other Trump appearances. He probably can’t lock up anyone except the ringleader Red Queen, on other charges, but a firm hand will be necessary.

  61. gnokgnoh permalink
    December 19, 2016

    The schadenfreude by @realitychecker and most leftists at Clinton’s loss is breathtaking; so much so, that they are predicating their unmitigated preference for Trump on “he was a democrat, and might change back,” to “they do look like very tough negotiators,” to my favorite, “the public might actually be angry enough to rise up against the elite.”

    Really? I thought you hated the democrats; why would that bit of reverse logic make you prefer Trump? Tough negotiator is one of Trump’s favorite self-branding euphemisms. It’s nauseating and a lie. His preference is to stiff his counter parties. Tough negotiation is just foreplay. Why do you think New Yorkers hate him? Don’t count on the public rising up at least not in opposition to gold gilt and royalty.

    I’m somewhat amused at how little Trump actually cared about winning the election, if all of the conventional measures applied to Clinton were applied to him. Check out how many times he flew to Minnesota and Wisconsin. It’s a joke, he even advertises his flight paths on that stupid ad for his plane. He won the ratings game, the act he knows best.

    If Clinton had been smart instead of careful, she would have doubled down on the deplorables insult, owned it. Yeah, you’re deplorable if you vote for Trump. She should have repeated it over and over and turned it into her campaign slogan. Hell, Trump called her and everyone who voted for her much, much worse. Good grief.

    Everything, I mean literally everything that is being recited with such vitriol, glee, whatever about Clinton’s failures, Trump wallows in – secrecy, elitism, dismissiveness of huge chunks of the electorate, oligarchy, absolute disregard for anything resembling a healthcare policy, bomb the crap out of other countries, preferential treatment for multi-national corporations, even dynastic lineage!! All for the TPP and bankers? Do you really think he’s going to prosecute a banker, except the one he owes $100 million? Do you really think he cares about jobs and the working class? What a steaming pile.

  62. realitychecker permalink
    December 19, 2016

    @ gnok gnoh

    Ha ha ha ha ha.

    If I hadn’t promised Ian I would try to be polite to idiots like you, I’d tell you what I think about your steaming pile of comment.

    Instead, I’ll just cheerfully add you to the list of hopeless losers who feed my well-deserved and long-awaited schadenfreude.

    Have a nice day! 🙂

  63. realitychecker permalink
    December 19, 2016

    @ Hugh

    There can be no plan or organizing without getting caught, with today’s surveillance state.

    Gonna have to accept some uncertainty and chaos along with any revolution.

    I’d be willing to accept that risk, the stakes are high enough. Otherwise, clearly we regular folks will all be reduced to livestock status.

    Given those realities, I’m willing to be a sucker and give Trump a chance first. It’s not like there are any other good options. Are there?

  64. markfromireland permalink
    December 19, 2016

    whatever about Clinton’s failures

    I’m a right winger and I don’t give a shit about her failures. It’s her career as a far too successful war monger that condemns her in my eyes. As to the remarks you’re complaining about from what passes for the “left” in America about her that’s just them doing what comes naturally to them and to vipers.

  65. subgenius permalink
    December 19, 2016

    I propose that the big issues aren’t captured by a simple left/right perspictive – more the growth of awareness at the overall gaming by all parties of the existing system.

    As such, I would further propose that we need as a species to investigate all avenues to determine what are in fact common ground and what are differences, and use that as a guiding light to develop a new paradigm.

    The old paradigms have already failed the world (apart from a few over-powerful interests). I believe we should also bear in mind concepts of tyranny of the majority, indoctrination, cultural programming, etc – and aim to uncover such dynamics – otherwise the only options seem to be ever wider divisions within the current (highly constrained and exceedingly limited) frames of reference. There are no solutions there, only more of the same…

    Just in case I haven’t expressed this in the past – massive respect to Ian for the work he does in providing perspective, and for his breadth of knowledge and ability to express in a post a distilled take on wide ranging, complex issues.

    This site is one of very few I have found that really pushes in the direction I believe we need as a species, and provides endless thought provoking ideas and diacussion – and the commentariat are thought provoking. Whether or not I agree or appear argumentative (apologies in these cases) – the general worth is (to me) undeniable and I commend everybody for partaking.

    I would further propose that part of the problem is the current demand that there is a one-size solution is, in fact, a large part of the problem. At one end we have the trust-based society that only works in population groups below Dunbar’s number in size (Dmitry Orlov has some good basic info on this at his site, and has acted as publisher to provide more on this) and at the other end we have the entirety of Western firstworld civilization operating a system games by a small number of powerful interests.

    We need more diversity and without it, it seems we are creating an ever more fragile/unstable edifice that is going to fracture in painful.ways for most individuals.

    We need more models on a planet with ?billion people, if we are to get through the serious problems that are approaching (cultural, financial, environmental…)

    With that said, love and respect to all here. You are all individuals I would happily share a beer / meal / whatever with. Opposition is as important as agreement in sussing it all out.

    I hope that was coherent!

  66. realitychecker permalink
    December 20, 2016

    Your willingness to look at things with more than a binary perspective is refreshing and encouraging.

    People generally need to give more consideration to all the plausible hypotheses in a situation.

  67. MojaveWolf permalink
    December 21, 2016

    +1 to subgenius. That is all.

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