For all the uproar over allegations of Russian hacking, and there has been plenty, little has been discussed about what the hacking actually did.
We’re told the hacking was meant to and succeeded in influencing the 2016 election. But how exactly did it sway popular opinion, or actual votes, in Donald Trump’s favor? Are those even things which can be known? As of right now, claims that the hacking precipitated Trump’s victory have no basis in fact. They are just talking points in the grab-bag of excuses Hillary supporters are reaching into to explain Clinton’s loss.
Of course, the moment anyone questions the direct election-tampering claim, many on the Left began to screech, “You don’t care about foreign influence on our democratic process?!” Yes, that must be it. We certainly couldn’t just be focusing on the complete truth, whatever that turns out to be in the end.
As expected, the Trump camp is vocal about not jumping to any conclusion as it relates to Russian influence on the election. Regardless of your feelings about Trump in general, that stance is a sober one. Until all the facts are in, we shouldn’t assume.
Several of my RedState colleagues have written about the hacking story as it has developed. Caleb Howe reminded us not to take the bait and believe the Russians turned the entire election for Trump. The Obama administration’s sudden interest in hacking has been much different than their usual disinterest, as Streiff discussed. Selective outrage, anyone? Even the super official FBI/DHS report on the hacking is shoddy, as Streiff noted.
On New Year’s Eve, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson published Eight Facts on the “Russian Hacks”, and it’s exactly the dose of common sense this saga needed.
The main Democratic talking point sounds great to those looking for ammunition, but has no basis.
The claim that the “election was hacked” is a bit of a misnomer. There’s no standing allegation by U.S. officials that the Russians (or anyone else) “hacked” into our elections system or altered vote counts. Instead, U.S. officials allege hackers connected to the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, under his direction, stole internal emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta and provided them to WikiLeaks. (However, the U.S. joint report issued Thursday doesn’t mention the DNC, Podesta or WikiLeaks by name.)
How exactly the hacking directly influenced the election is a question that has yet to be answered. As we can see, such a belief would have to rest on quite a shaky foundation.
It seems a difficult task to prove the hacks somehow “affected the election” or “helped Donald Trump win.” For example:
One would have to show that tens of thousands of Trump voters were planning to vote for Clinton but changed their mind based solely on the WikiLeaks emails.
One would have to believe the emails somehow managed to only affect the electoral vote but not the popular vote (which Clinton won).
One would have to believe the emails somehow selectively swayed voters in key swing states, but not voters in states where Clinton won.
We’re left with quite a few ifs, ands, and buts, even for that crowd over there.
Democrats desire to make Russian influence the reason for Clinton’s loss because they can’t abide that voters – and the Electoral College – would actually give the presidency to Donald Trump.
As of right now, there is zero evidence that Russian hacking influenced the election in any way, not to mention a way which would actually shift the results from a Clinton win to a Clinton loss.