The Stolen Election

Hillary Clinton should be president; why isn’t she?

Hillary Clinton should be president; why isn’t she?

According to the CIA, Russia interfered with the 2016 election to elect Donald Trump and defeat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Since the Washington Post broke the story close to midnight on Dec. 9, more and more data have been revealed about how a foreign government disrupted the U.S. election and how President Obama, the FBI and the Congress kept that information secret prior to the Nov. 8 election.

On Dec. 14, NBC News broke the story that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself was involved. Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and one of America’s foremost scholars on Russia who at one point was shot at through his Moscow window after organizing a meeting with opposition leaders to Putin, says Putin wanted revenge on Hillary Clinton.

“Let’s just remember that Putin thinks [Clinton] interfered in his election – the parliamentary election in December 2011 – and has said as much publicly and I’ve heard him talk about it privately,” McFaul told NBC News.

The New York Times reported that according to 17 different intelligence agencies, including the CIA, Russia had acted covertly to contravene Clinton’s election, which was – until Election Night itself – considered a foregone conclusion. Trump’s win is considered one of the most shocking political upsets in U.S. history and seemed to stun even the candidate himself.

McFaul asserts, “It’s very rational in my view that [Putin] would rather see President-elect Trump be the next president of the United States instead of Secretary Clinton. We really do need this bipartisan, independent investigation that others are calling for.”

Now that the election is over and Clinton has won the popular vote by a massive 2,859,931 more votes than Trump – a number expected to crest at about 3 million even and which equals more than two percent of the total vote – the outrage nationally among Clinton voters is huge.

Added to the building outrage: The White House believes, as do many voters, this is a stolen election.

On December 19 the Electoral College meets to rubber stamp the winner. While the Electoral College is well within its purview to choose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for any number of reasons, from her massive lead in the popular vote to his serious (and potentially dangerous to the country) conflicts of interest, it is unlikely they will do so. The Electoral College and then the ratification of the 12th Amendment are both supposed to put the nation’s best interests at the forefront. But as electors are overwhelmingly party patronage faithful, for generations the Electoral College has been more a rubber stamp than what it was devised to do – protect the Republic.

It must be maddening for Hillary Clinton to see her popular vote lead expand daily and to discover Putin helped orchestrate her defeat – something she had warned of in two of the three presidential debates.

More maddening still is the knowledge that Trump is a de facto proxy for Putin–and his Cabinet picks not only are the least progressive in American history, they are weighted disturbingly toward an embrace of Putin’s dictatorial Russian regime.

The White House, speaking mostly through press secretary Josh Earnest, asserts Trump has known all along that he was getting outside intervention from Putin and that it would likely sink Hillary Clinton’s presidential chances.

CNN reported at 9:30pm EST Dec. 15 that the “gloves were off” between the Obama and Trump camps – with Earnest’s wry delivery of truths the conduit. Sources told CNN that concerns over the transition of power from Obama to Trump have been contravened by Trump’s refusal to acknowledge U.S. intelligence sources. Trump will soon have to work with the intelligence community on a daily basis, as president.

On Dec.12, Earnest told a press briefing, in response to Trump’s rejection of the CIA being the source of the intelligence on Russia, “It was the President-elect who, over the course of the campaign, indicated that he thought that President Putin was a strong leader. It benefited the Trump campaign. And it hurt the Clinton campaign.

That’s why the Republican nominee was hoping that they would do more of it. That’s why his staffers were hoping they would do more of it. That is why in the days leading up to election day, the Republican nominee himself was encouraging people to check out WikiLeaks.”

Earnest detailed links between Trump and Putin. Trump has repeatedly praised the former KGB agent who has been in power since 1999. Putin is responsible for Draconian attacks on journalists, dissidents and LGBT people in Russia. Earnest reminded the White House press corps, “[Trump’s] campaign didn’t make any effort to obscure this,” meaning Trump’s support of Putin, who Trump has said is a far more powerful leader than President Obama.

On Dec. 15 in a different press briefing, Earnest declared, “It’s just a fact – you all have it on tape – that the Republican nominee for president was encouraging Russia to hack his opponent because he believed that that would help his campaign.”

Earnest called it a “basic fact” of the presidential contest.

“I don’t know if it was a staff meeting or if he had access to a briefing or he was just basing his assessment on a large number of published reports, but Mr. Trump obviously knew that Russia was engaged in malicious cyberactivity that was helping him and hurting Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Earnest said.

Never one to take criticism well, Trump attacked Earnest at a stop on his “Victory Tour 2016″ at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania—one of three states expected to vote for Clinton but which handed Trump the Electoral College with fewer than 80,000 votes. CNN reported Trump called Earnest a ‘foolish guy,” insisting, “He could say, ladies and gentlemen today we have totally defeated ISIS and it wouldn’t sound good, OK? All right?”

In addition, in yet another of Trump’s bizarre and utterly unfounded statements, Trump declared Earnest was “getting his orders from somebody else” other than President Obama – a charge former Obama staffer and CNN commentator David Axelrod said was “highly unlikely.”

Axelrod said, “A press secretary doesn’t go out and make statements like that on an unauthorized basis.”

Both President Obama and Clinton herself have stayed resolutely out of the public eye with regard to the transition to a seemingly inevitable Trump presidency. Obama has only made one speech about the election, as has Clinton – their respective speeches on Nov. 9.

Clinton has since appeared at several fundraisers for children’s and women’s social service agencies and last week spoke at a farewell event for Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who is retiring at the end of his term. But apart from the now iconic sightings in the woods near her Chappaqua home, Clinton has followed the rules to which losing candidates are expected to adhere: get off the stage and be invisible.

The silence from both Obama and Clinton on the events since the Election Night upset have frustrated supporters of both who see Clinton as the true ascendant to Obama and the “real” president as the popular vote total has continued to grow.

Adding to that frustration has been the return of Bernie Sanders to the main stage as he travels the country promoting his new book, Our Revolution. While that putative “revolution” seems nowhere in evidence since Sanders’ rallies and concerts ended in May and he lost the primary in a landslide loss of 4 million votes to Hillary Clinton, Sanders has designated himself the new leader of the Democratic Party.

This has enraged many Democratic faithful – notably women and people of color who are the primary Democratic Party base. Much of that base considers Sanders at least partially to blame for Clinton’s loss and believe his tone-deafness on racism and misogyny promoted the so-called Bernie Bros during the primary, who attacked women and people of color at rallies and on social media throughout the primary.

Even Sanders’ former press secretary Symone Sanders (no relation), told CNN’s Brianna Keiler on the Nov. 23 segment of “Wolf,” “In my opinion, we don’t need white people leading the Democratic Party right now.”

But as Sanders continues his tour through white working class country and asserts that these are the voters the Democratic Party must woo (forgetting Barack Obama having won two elections with less than 40 percent of the white male vote and that Hillary Clinton has won more votes than any presidential candidate in U.S. history except Obama 2008), the party faithful looks to both the White House and the woods of Chappaqua for answers.

Those answers may not be forthcoming for reasons supporters will not like. For the past year President Obama has been singularly focused on his legacy. That has included both his energetic and enthusiastic near-daily campaigning for Clinton as well as various moves to solidify changes for the environment and civil rights he wanted left in place.

It’s fair to say despite the mostly revisionist deconstruction of Clinton’s loss, which inevitably elides the misogyny that plagued her every word, gesture and outfit, that no one – not even Trump – expected Clinton to lose.

That loss – which Sanders has pounced upon with his own self-serving and utterly unbelievable narrative – was never in the cards for either Obama or Clinton. It is obvious now, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, that Obama and Clinton, who have both long been deemed too “cold” and “controlled” and “wonky,” had no playbook for a Trump win. Both referred repeatedly to Trump’s out of control temperament which continues to be on daily display via his Twitter feed.

And while both Obama and Clinton gave their best – especially Clinton who had to have been devastated –”we must stand behind Trump for the good of the nation” speeches, neither has changed position on Trump being both unqualified and temperamentally unfit for office.

Obama has clarified this through his comments via Josh Earnest. Clinton alluded to that in her speech at Reid’s retirement event when she referenced the “fake news” stories likely facilitated by Putin via Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, that helped turn last-minute voters away from her as they read throughout the Internet that she ran a child sex trafficking ring out of a Washington, D.C. pizza place.

All eyes are now on the Electoral College which can and should vitiate the Electoral College votes and do what’s best for America. But there is also mounting pressure on President Obama to do what many now feel he should have done in September and demand a full and thorough investigation of the sort Republicans convened about Benghazi and Clinton’s email server.

Several Republican senators, led by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), both former presidential candidates and both targets of Trump at different junctures, have demanded full accounting. Graham has been particularly outspoken, declaring on Dec. 14 that Russia hacked his own email accounts – something other Democrats have asserted and the FBI found to be true.

Can Hillary Clinton be put in her rightful place: the White House? Or will America be ruled by an illegitimate and dangerous president for the next four years?

Unfortunately, barely five weeks left of his presidency, the ball is squarely in Obama’s court. Given what we know about both Obama’s relationship with the obstructionist GOP Congress that has thwarted him at nearly every turn and his own cautious approach to matters of State, it’s difficult to envision Obama facilitating Clinton’s ascendance to the presidency – desperate as he and a plurality of voters are to see that happen.

For now, we watch and wait and hope for an Electoral College miracle. And maybe, if we are so inclined, we could also pray.