Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 Election to President Donald Trump. She did not win enough votes in the Electoral College to prevail. Yet, the Clinton campaign, Democrats, and her devout supporters insist on blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the outcome, even though there is little to no evidence that whatever the Kremlin did was a key factor.
Their delusions were reinforced when it was reported that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was asked to provide documents to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for their investigation into Russian collusion or interference in the election.
“We strongly support legitimate inquiry into any illegal activity in our elections – including quid pro quo deals, money laundering, corruption and violation of campaign finance laws,” Stein declared in a statement. “At the same time, we caution against the politicization, sensationalism, and collapse of journalistic standards that has plagued media coverage of the investigation.”
“In the current climate of attacks on our civil liberties, with the emergence of censorship in social media and the press, criminalization of protest, militarization of police, and massive expansion of the surveillance state, we must guard against the potential for these investigations to be used to intimidate and silence principled opposition to the political establishment.”
The statement warned against a return to the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy. But several scoffed at the notion that gleefully hoping a Senate committee targets a dissident political campaign is like something out of the Red Scare.
Many were happy because they think Trump, Jane Sanders (Bernie Sanders’ wife), and Stein face investigations but Clinton does not, which somehow vindicates her. But at the moment, that isn’t true.
Republican Senator Richard Burr, the chair of the committee emphasized the investigation is looking at “all the campaigns and possible collusion by any campaign.” That includes Clinton, and CNN suggested the committee would be questioning more Clinton witnesses.
That does not mean Clinton colluded with the Russians. It means the Senate intelligence committee is collecting information from all campaigns as a formality.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the committee, appears to be substantially interested in targeting Stein’s campaign and that is possibly because Democrats will forever see her as a “spoiler” who “helped” Trump win.
“I will point out that Miss Stein did attend that infamous dinner with Gen. [Michael] Flynn that did include Vladimir Putin, and we have seen reports that Stein…[was] very complimentary of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, which we know was one of the pawns being used by the Russians, so I think there are questions, but again I’m not going to confirm who we’re looking at and not looking at,” Warner said.
Think Progress, which is the Center for American Progress’ media outlet, published an article that deployed innuendo to attack Stein.
Stein said she attended the 2015 dinner, which was a celebration of 10 years of RT (though Stein called it a ‘conference’), to talk about achieving peace in the Middle East. She told Democracy Now!, however, that she wasn’t able to discuss the region with Putin because there was no interpreter at the table. It’s unclear who paid for Stein’s trip to Russia for the gala or accommodations while she was there, as the Daily Beast reported earlier this year. Stein has ducked questions about the matter.
In a rush to capitalize off renewed interest in how Russia may have “used” Stein, the outlet neglected to acknowledge that Stein did not let RT pay for her transportation or lodging. She “didn’t think it was appropriate for a presidential candidate to take money from a foreign government.”
Think Progress was called out by Stein’s campaign and printed a correction. It also published a post titled, “The pro-Kremlin talking points of Jill Stein,” aimed at whipping up more McCarthyist sentiment.
CAP is headed by Neera Tanden, who was a prominent aide to Clinton’s campaign. She helped the campaign suppress multiple progressive efforts by Sanders supporters to strengthen the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform. Tanden also scurrilously insisted Stein’s presence at the dinner was a show of “solidarity” with Putin, despite no proof whatsoever.
Zac Petkanas, who was the rapid response director for the Clinton campaign, giddily typed, “Jill Stein is a Russian agent,” eight times and sent it out on Twitter, like repeating it several times would make it true.
He is currently in charge of the Democratic National Committee’s “war room” against the Trump administration, but it appears his mind might suffer from a bit of an unhealthy fixation.
“Let’s talk a little about one of my favorite subjects: Jill Stein,” Petkanas tweeted. “She’s now under investigation by **at least** the Senate Intelligence Committee for collusion with the Russians during the campaign.” (Notice how Petkanas insinuates other bodies with investigatory powers could investigate her to amplify his smear.)
From the rest of Petkanas’ thread:
“Why does it matter? Because she played a big role in electing Putin’s favorite candidate: Donald Trump.”
“Trump’s margin of victory was smaller than Jill Stein’s total number of votes in Michigan and Wisconsin—and only slightly larger than Jill Stein’s total votes in Pennsylvania.”
“This was after the Russians ran a massive disinformation campaign that included targeted key battleground states like…you guessed it…Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Stein was a major beneficiary that included at least one known paid ad.”
“What do you call someone who announces her spoiler candidacy on a Russian propaganda outlet, meets with the Trump campaign and Russian President in Moscow during the campaign, wins enough votes in key states to elect the Kremlin’s chosen candidate with the help of Russian ads?”
Stein actually announced she was running for president on “Democracy Now!”
As far as the 2015 dinner goes, in June, Stein said on The Intercept’s podcast nobody at the table had any substantive conversation due to “language barriers.”
Putin did not individually introduce himself and chat with Stein. He quickly went around the table for perfunctory handshakes before it was time to give a speech.
“We were physically at the same table, but, you know, you’ve gotta know that there was this really incredible show that was going on that included the Russian Chorus and an opera singer, and there was just nonstop entertainment. There was a lot of volume. And there was no talk across the table. And it was clearly not intended to be a discussion,” Stein recalled.
RT did not offer to pay Stein for attending the conference or dinner. She gave a speech about nuclear disarmament and pursuing peace instead of war, and at the time, Russia was escalating its bombing campaign in Syria.
Petkanas and others happy about news of this investigation are not interested in the truth about Stein. They are motivated by political bigotry, a belief that the only way American politics can function is with two prominent political parties. If any other voices try to compete, especially in presidential elections, they are “spoilers.”
On top of that, Democrats despise campaigns against them from the left. That is why establishment Democrats zealously moved to crush Sanders’ grassroots campaign for president. (In fact, Petkanas wanted to crudely blame Sanders for incarceration in Vermont in order to make him unpalatable to African Americans.)
The Clinton campaign outlined the following goal in April 2015: “Make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate.”
“Force all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election,” and, “Undermine any credibility/trust Republican presidential candidates have to make inroads to our coalition or independents.”
It advocated against marginalizing “more extreme candidates” and sought to make “Pied Piper candidates,” like Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson, into representatives of the Republican Party. “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.”
In the same month, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook pushed for a primary schedule, where the red states held their primaries early. They thought this would increase “the likelihood the Rs nominate[d] someone extreme.”
Petkanas and others faced the extreme candidate they wanted, but they were not able to rapidly respond and pull ahead of Trump by a wide margin, especially in states that they had to win. Campaign officials like Petkanas ignored data from the DNC and believed Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were “safe.”
Under the Obama administration, Democrats “lost 11 governorships, 13 U.S. Senate seats, 69 House seats, and 913 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers.”
Clinton was unable to survive this political trend, and that remains terribly embarrassing for Petkanas, Tanden, and any other person tied to the Clinton campaign who would have the public believe the Kremlin was somehow instrumental in the outcome. But the reality is hubris had way more to do with Clinton losing the election than Putin or the hippie liberals love to hate.