But the other key point is that these emails had little impact on the election. Even Clinton herself initially put the blame for her defeat on FBI Director James Comey for briefly reopening and then re-closing an investigation into her use of a private email server as Secretary of State. It was then that her poll numbers began to crater -- and Putin had nothing to do with either her reckless decision to conduct State Department business through her private email server or Comey's decisions regarding the investigation.
But the blame-Putin diversion has enabled the national Democratic Party to avoid reexamining its own contributions to Trump's Electoral College victory, particularly its insistence on nominating Clinton despite many polls showing her high unfavorable numbers and a widespread recognition that 2016 was an anti-establishment year. The Democratic Party put on blinders to ignore the grave vulnerabilities of its candidate and the sour mood of the electorate.
In a larger sense, the Democratic Party ignored its own reputation as a home for internationalists, elitists and interventionists. Indeed, Clinton chose to cater to the neocons who are very influential in Official Washington but carry little weight in Middle America. Then, she made things worse by insulting many white blue-collar Americans as "deplorables."
Yet, instead of conducting a thorough autopsy of their demise -- sinking into minority status in Congress and across the country -- the Democrats apparently think they can whistle past their political graveyard by blaming their defeat on Putin and by building a movement based on attacking Trump's erratic and offensive behavior, very similar to the failed strategy that Clinton employed last fall.
Not only does this negative strategy threaten again to backfire but -- by feeding into a new and dangerous Cold War -- it risks tying the Democrats to conflict and militarism and letting the Trump Republicans position themselves as the alternatives to endless and escalating wars.