How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect A President
What We Don't, Can't, and Do Know
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, 2018, Tigard 324.973 JAM
Hillary Clinton did not lose the 2016 election by herself. Russian geeks helped. But so did thousands of clueless self-absorbed ideologues, who have completely disconnected from the people whose votes they feel they are entitled to.
Imagine Hillary Clinton listening to those people. Yes, we want to protect the environment. Yes, we want more wealth for the working class. The Clinton approach (like the Trump approach) is to designate bad guys and promise to punish them if elected.
A lot of the rustbelt workers who voted for Trump just wanted to work. Wage and pollution controls moved their jobs to China. The sad truth is that for an unemployed worker, the minimum wage is zero. Hamhanded idiot politicians and a vast sea of beltway bureaucrats drove manufacturing, and jobs, out of the US.
And now Trump wants to drive world trade out of the US, with tariffs and anti-diplomacy. Which appeals to bozos who don't understand that 95% of the potential customers are overseas.
The Democratic Party elite is loyal to the political machine that gives them the goodies. Many registered "Democrats" do not get any goodies at all; at best, they are slightly more adverse to the "bad old Republicans" as some media channels portray them. That is a fragile bond, and if the Democratic Party cannot maintain that bond, the "disconnected Democrats" can vote Green, Libertarian, or not at all. Not at all won the 2016 election, Trump came in second.
Ms. Jamieson blames Russian trolls for convincing disconnected Democrats to vote for Jill Stein instead of Hillary. Well, guess what? Ms. Jamieson did not even mention Gary Johnson, who got 5 times as many votes as Stein. If Johnson had not taken votes away from Trump (mostly), Trump might have won six more states, and would have had a commanding lead in Wisconson, where Jamieson blames Stein voters for Trump's actual wafer-thin lead.
Let's suggest a different hypothetical. Gary Johnson was tag-team "interviewed" by four hostile journalists on "Morning Joe", perhaps around 6AM New York time ... thus 4AM New Mexico time. While Johnson was talking about reducing unnecessary US military deployments overseas, he was interrupted by one of the "journalists": "BUT WHAT ABOUT ALEPPO?" Johnson was talking, not listening, and asked "what is ... Aleppo?" and immediately castigated by the journalist for not knowing where "Aleppo Syria" was. Johnson immediately responded with a detailed policy for Syria (stay away), but the media continued to report this as "Gary Johnson doesn't know where Aleppo is". I've had that shouted at me by drunks in the street.
Do you know where Syria is? Almost 12,000 kilometers north-northwest of Portland on a shortest-distance great circle route, past Russia, Turkey, and NoneOfOurBusiness. Mecca is another 600 kilometers farther away; Aleppo is 130 kilometers east of the qibla line from Portland. Aleppo "only" 9,000 km from New York.
Before this, Johnson was polling at 4 or 5% ... 5% would have resulted in major party status for the Libertarian Party, and would have "stolen" way more votes from Trump than Clinton. That would have delivered the election to her (though costing both the R's and D's the 2020 or 2024 election). But the scandal-chasing media is more loyal to character assassination than to ideology. Trump doesn't have any character to assassinate; he won.
When the Democratic Party listens to "their" voters, those voters will listen back. Sadly, the trolls are more interesting.
I don't think Clinton knows how to build a consensus. Donald Trump is an awful president, and consensus is forming around that. Imagine that Clinton reached out the large fraction of "her" voters who chose Bernie Sanders in the primary, by making Bernie her VP pick. Or reaching out to Republican voters by choosing a Republican running mate, like Gary Johnson did. She would have routed Trump in the election, though she would be forced to collaborate with the Republicans for four years.
Horrors!!! A government representing the majority of the electorate? Where's the graft and corruption advantages of that?
Oh well. The "Cyber War" book demonstrates that mainstream politicians and their supporters are blind. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed Russian is king.