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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/22/19

How Russiagate replaced Analysis of the 2016 Election

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Republished from Dissident Voice

How Russiagate replaced Analysis of the 2016 Election
How Russiagate replaced Analysis of the 2016 Election
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An honest and accurate analysis of the 2016 election is not just an academic exercise. It is very relevant to the current election campaign. Yet over the past two years, Russiagate has dominated media and political debate and largely replaced a serious analysis of the factors leading to Trump's victory. The public has been flooded with the various elements of the story that Russia intervened and Trump colluded with them. The latter accusation was negated by the Mueller Report but elements of the Democratic Party and media refuse to move on. Now it's the lofty but vague accusations of "obstruction of justice" along with renewed dirt digging. To some it is a "constitutional crisis", but to many it looks like more partisan fighting.

Russiagate has distracted from pressing issues

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Russiagate has distracted attention and energy away from crucial and pressing issues such as income inequality, the housing and homeless crisis, inadequate healthcare, militarized police, over-priced college education, impossible student loans and deteriorating infrastructure. The tax structure was changed to benefit wealthy individuals and corporations with little opposition. The Trump administration has undermined environmental laws, civil rights, national parks and women's equality while directing ever more money to military contractors. Working class Americans are struggling with rising living costs, low wages, student debt, and racism. They constitute the bulk of the military which is spread all over the world, sustaining continuing occupations in war zones including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and parts of Africa. While all this has been going on, the Democratic establishment and much of the media have been focused on Russiagate, the Mueller Report, and related issues.

Immediately after the 2016 Election

In the immediate wake of the 2016 election there was some forthright analysis. Bernie Sanders said, "What Trump did very effectively is tap the angst and the anger and the hurt and pain that millions of working class people are feeling. What he said is, 'I Donald Trump am going to be a champion of the working class" I know you are working longer hours for lower wages, seeing your jobs going to China, can't afford childcare, can't afford to send your kids to college. I Donald Trump alone can solve these problems.' "What you have is a guy who utilized the media, manipulated the media very well. He is an entertainer, he is a professional at that. But I will tell you that I think there needs to be a profound change in the way the Democratic Party does business. It is not good enough to have a liberal elite. I come from the white working class and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from."

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Days after the election, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled "Hillary Clinton Lost. Bernie Sanders could have won. We chose the wrong candidate." The author analyzed the results saying , "Donald Trump's stunning victory is less surprising when we remember a simple fact: Hillary Clinton is a deeply unpopular politician." The writer analyzed why Sanders would have prevailed against Trump and predicted "there will be years of recriminations."

Russiagate replaced Recrimination

But instead of analysis, the media and Democrats have emphasized foreign interference. There is an element of self-interest in this narrative. As reported in "Russian Roulette" (p127), when the Clinton team first learned that Wikileaks was going to release damaging Democratic National Party emails in June 2016, they "brought in outside consultants to plot a PR strategy for handling the news of the hack " the story would advance a narrative that benefited the Clinton campaign and the Democrats: The Russians were interfering in the US election, presumably to assist Trump."

After losing the election, Team Clinton doubled down on this PR strategy. As described in the book Shattered (p. 395) the day after the election campaign managers assembled the communication team "to engineer the case that the election wasn't entirely on the up and up ". they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument."

This narrative has been remarkably effective in supplanting critical review of the election.

One Year After the Election

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The Center for American Progress (CAP) was founded by John Podesta and is closely aligned with the Democratic Party. In November 2017 they produced an analysis titled "Voter Trends in 2016: A Final Examination". Interestingly, there is not a single reference to Russia. Key conclusions are that "it is critical for Democrats to attract more support from the white non-college-educated voting bloc" and "Democrats must go beyond the 'identity politics' versus 'economic populism' debate to create a genuine cross-racial, cross-class coalition "" It suggests that Wall Street has the same interests as Main Street and the working class.

A progressive team produced a very different analysis titled Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis. They did this because "the (Democratic) party's national leadership has shown scant interest in addressing many of the key factors that led to electoral disaster." The report analyzes why the party turnout was less than expected and why traditional Democratic Party supporters are declining. It includes recommendations to end the party's undemocratic practices, expand voting rights and counter voter suppression. The report contains details and specific recommendations lacking in the CAP report. It includes an overall analysis which says "The Democratic Party should disentangle itself ideologically and financially from Wall Street, the military-industrial complex and other corporate interests that put profits ahead of public needs."

Two Years After the Election

In October 2018, the progressive team produced a follow-up report titled "Autopsy: One Year Later". It says, "The Democratic Party has implemented modest reforms, but corporate power continues to dominate the party."

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10 people are discussing this page, with 13 comments


John Rachel

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Next election analysis: "How defeating Trump replaced electing a fully functioning government in 2020"

Submitted on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 10:07:43 PM

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Reply to John Rachel:   New Content

Yep. TrumpGate. The gift that keeps on giving!

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 4:44:30 PM

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Leslie Johnson

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All of this is a mute point. We have an election system, the Electoral College specifically, that does not reflect the will of the people. Add to that Citizen's United, another gross misnomer. Bye, bye, America Pie.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 10:39:59 AM

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Agreed on citizens united but blaming the electoral college is a red herring and takes away from what the real issues in the election were, precisely what the author is trying to convey. Somehow it was a good enough system when it worked for Obama but it's totally egregious when Hillary lost. Rhetoric like this and not the electoral college will cause a repeat of 2016 next election cycle.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 11:55:32 AM

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International elite rule. All else is make-believe. That elite is criminally insane. Until that is confronted, nothing will change except the end of life on the planet will come much sooner than later.


Our struggles must be through glibal solidarity. The system is what it was designed to be.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 2:33:28 PM

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I agree with this, as we see how both parties operated to put the international elite darling (Clinton) into power. But regardless of who is in "power"the world proceeds in the same direction.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 10:32:48 PM

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The first step toward honest analysis is to cut the "Russiagate" denial crap. Get out of your bubble and read Marcy Wheeler, for example. Admit that the Kremlin at least attempted to influence the election, on multiple fronts.

The second step is to admit the effect of Russian activity is virtually unknowable. The purpose of the first step is for future vigilance, nothing more. Personally I would be amazed if, for example, the DNC email dump--whether "hacked" by Gucifer or "leaked" by Seth Rich--had anything near the effect on the election as HRC declaring Trump supporters to be a "basket of deplorables".

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 3:04:24 PM

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Reply to Maxwell:   New Content

I have to say that you are misinformed about Russian involvement at all in US elections. The late Bob Parry at Consortium is the expert on this subject and researched it thoroughly. Russia did not interfere or have any influence over the 2016 election. period. I am weary of reading statements that ignore the evidence.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 4:57:12 PM

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There's no "bubble" here.

RussiaGate was only created to divert attention from Clinton's loss and Clinton's crimes, and DNC election rigging. Whether Russians attempted any kind of "meddling" is not even a factor. It's immaterial, as everyone knows the U.S. regularly interferes in the affairs of other countries on a much grander scale. It's a non-story.

For over 2 years, all ears were overrun with "Russia, Russia, Russia!", and everything else got lost in the white noise. This diversion may have worked - you don't really hear a lot of talk about going after HRC, nor will anything be done to hold the DNC accountable.

But, they're likely to keep hammering at the Mueller-Barr "corruption scandal" for good measure, until the next election is over.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 5:03:30 PM

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"you don't really hear a lot of talk about going after HRC, nor will anything be done to hold the DNC accountable."


You will. Coming to a theater near you. Soon. Trump started declassification last night. More to come and heads will roll. Will be interesting to see how the liberal media spins this.

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 11:21:37 AM

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That's sort of what I meant. The MSM is simply pretending that isn't happening, and concentrating on the "real implications" of the Mueller Report to drown out anything being said about the possible HRC investigation.

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 2:47:57 PM

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The Democrats are all about saving face at this point. They don't really care if they win or lose as long as the corporate cash keeps flowing in their direction. They know damn well if any candidate that challenges the Wall St. crowd from the left manages to win a presidential nomination, the money flow stops.

That's all Russia-gate is/was about. Plus the power brokers are determined to keep Russia from becoming an economic competitor with the US. It's all a game at the expense of the good people of the world. We have the power to change the dynamic, but we don't use it. The Yellow Vests are the only ones out there. What's the matter with the rest of us?

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 9:53:03 PM

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I don't agree that the Dems are all about saving face; they're the flip side of the same Republicrat coin which serves the 1%, the 99% be damned. Hillary actually WON the election; it was electronically "flipped" to Trump, probably to discredit his warning that the election was rigged. Read Jonathan Simon's analysis at mintpressnews.com, "Donald Trump Warned of a Rigged Election, Was He Right?" As long as the votes get "counted" (ROFL!) by computers, the bums KNOW we can't vote them out. Therefore, their interest in representing US & our interests is nil. Everything their "Liberal" (ROFLMAO!!!) media spew is to distract and confuse the 99%, to keep them from demanding progress on topics which really matter, & to prevent them from getting together and going after the 1%.

Submitted on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 5:16:03 PM

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