I believe the deciding factor in the 2016 Presidential race was the widespread charges of public “corruption” against Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration.
What perhaps was most surprising was how few Democrats were actually willing to take an objective look at the facts and case against Hillary Clinton.
Most liberal Democrats were completely content to just assume the entire Clinton email scandal and related “cover up” was complete hogwash and something that was manufactured out of thin air by a right wing conspiracy against a candidate who was beyond reproach.
But the true facts of the matter suggest otherwise. Moreover, I would argue that most Clinton supporters apparently have a “blind spot” for public corruption on the liberal left and the actions of their Presidential nominee Hilary Clinton.
Any autopsy of the Clinton campaign must start with a hard look in the mirror at both the actions of Secretary Clinton, as well as the willingness of the entire Democrat political establishment, from the top down, to do seemingly everything they could to sweep the whole Clinton scandal under the rug.
And I’m not talking about use of the word “fearless” in the context of President Barrack Obama’s advertising for Democrat Senator-elect Kamala Harris which essentially defines “fearless” as only standing up to your political opponents, not your political base.
I have talked to dozens of Democrat supporters who follow politics regularly and most do not have the faintest clue about the actual facts surrounding the Clinton email scandal, even less are willing to discuss it in an objective and thoughtful manner.
But these facts and Hillary’s actions and reactions related to them were decisive in the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.
Let’s take a brief look at the myths and the facts of the Clinton email scandal to better assess the “blind spots” of the Democrat political machine and its supporters.
First off, most Clinton supporters like to blame James Comey, director of the FBI, Donald Trump, and the Congressional Republicans for making a big deal out of what amounted to “nothing” in their opinion.
They quickly accept that Clinton made a mistake by using a “private server,” but everything else was just an overreaction to what amounted to an “honest mistake.”
The email scandal was so much bigger than a simple “honest mistake.” And actually struck at the heart of what many voters viewed as intolerable “corruption” by the Democrat political establishment in Washington, DC, on the order of the Watergate scandal.
After all, it was not simply about using the private servers. It was about the massive “cover up” and series of actions taken by the Clintons, the Clinton Campaign, the Justice Department, the State Department and the Obama Administration that truly defined the magnitude and relevance of the Clinton email scandal.
The connection between the email scandal, the Clinton Foundation, and the Wikileaks document dumps created a perfect storm for the Clinton Campaign of allegations of widespread “corruption” and “cover up” that reached the highest levels of the Obama Administration.
The extent and nature of Clinton email scandal and related scandals continued to come into sharper focus in the closing days of the election, and served to energize Donald Trump’s campaign, his stump speeches, his political base, and likely suppressed the Clinton vote.
Facts emerged early on suggesting that Clinton deleted 33,000 emails off her private server and discarded or destroyed more than 13 missing electronic devices within just days of a Congressional subpoena for these same emails and devices.
It is almost inconceivable to think that there was nothing in those 33,000 emails that was relevant to the case, marked classified, or contained at least some amount of incriminating information—because after all, why else would they have been intentionally deleted or destroyed?
Wikileaks emails publicly released in the final days of the campaign revealed that Clinton Campaign chair John Podesta had in fact ordered the emails to be “dumped” and other Clinton aides secretly confided with each other that they could not come up with any good reason why then Secretary Clinton defied State Department regulations in the establishment and use of a “private email server” for official State Department business.
Moreover, it was found that this “private server” was also likely hacked by private individuals, and/or foreign governments to obtain “classified information.”
The only plausible explanations about Clinton’s desire to maintain a private server, despite clear violations of federal law, is that she wanted to maintain the ability to delete potentially incriminating emails relating to her affairs at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Either that, or she was just too arrogant to see a need to abide by the legal regulations and laws of the federal government.
Nobody really believed, and Clinton herself failed to make a strong case, that she had no clue that it was illegal to maintain a private server to handle classified information.
To add insult to injury, in the last two weeks of the election Clinton had the audacity to claim that James Comey should come clean and release any incriminating information, which is the same information that she had in fact “dumped” in response to Podesta’s orders and her own likely desires to control the damage from turning over thousands of emails that could further incriminate her and/or the Clinton Foundation.
There are many other angles and details relating to the Clinton email scandal and the “pay to play” allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation, but the net result was an overwhelming amount of evidence giving credence to Trump’s stump speech that Secretary Clinton was indeed “corrupt” and untrustworthy, at least in the eyes of many voters.
The documentary film “Clinton Cash” and a book by the same name were instrumental in laying the foundation for far reaching allegations of corruption against both Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. These allegations worked in tandem with the email scandal, and reached a crescendo in the final weeks of the campaign with the reopening of the FBI’s case against Clinton related to the email scandal.
Furthermore, most Democrats will likely blame Comey for the Clinton defeat without acknowledging that Comey already bent over backwards to keep formal charges from being brought against Clinton for the mishandling of classified information and the subsequent events which likely included obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI.
Fast forward to Donald Trump’s victory on election day in November 2016, and it appears that it was in fact the email scandal and surrounding events that were perhaps the most decisive factor in Trump’s ability to overcome all odds to win the election.
Despite being the most important factor in this election, I still believe it is unlikely that most Clinton supporters and Democrats will truly come to terms with the extent of the damage caused by the email scandal, the Clinton Foundation allegations, and the fact that these allegations were not simply “made up” or just “all smoke and no fire.”
Furthermore, the achievement of a critical mass of hard evidence against Clinton regarding these scandals and the ethical questions they raised was enough to elect Donald Trump, despite the fact that many voters said they were also concerned about Trump’s character and fitness to be President.
I would encourage Democrats and the Democrat political establishment to try to see through their “blind spots” regarding “public corruption” and the importance of maintaining a high level of ethical conduct in public office both in Washington D.C. and across the country.
After all, the rest of the story has yet to be written. The real story is what happens now that President-elect Donald Trump is holding all the cards and so much of this incriminating evidence remains on the table for all to see who are willing to take a hard look at the actual facts of the case.
David Kersten is president of the Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy—a Bay Area-based think tank and government reform advocacy organization.