Russian Hack DoubleThink

Arthur Bruzzone
Dec 19, 2016 · 3 min read

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million (still counting) — the third highest total votes of any presidential candidate in history. Russian hackers negatively impacted Clinton’s vote.

Image for post
Image for post

Doublethink. The ability to hold two contradictory opinions at the same time without noticing the contradiction. If the second proposition is true — that the alleged Russian hack impacted Clinton’s election results — then the final polls and vote count would show erosion.

So how did the alleged Russian email hack affect Clinton’s poll numbers before Election Day?

Two days before the election Hillary Clinton led her Republican rival Donald Trump, 46.8 percent to 44.3, or by 2.5 points, according to the Real Clear Politics average of most state and national polls. The vote count roughly mirrors the final polls: Clinton 48.2 percent to Trump 46.1 percent.

Let’s go further back to two weeks before the election.

Clinton had a five-point lead over Trump. By this time Wikileaks had released the bulk of the hacked emails which consisted primarily of campaign strategy emails plus three speeches Clinton made behind close doors to Wall Street firms. How damaging were the emails?

CNN noted, “the emails hacked from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta have offered an insight into the inner workings of the famously guarded candidate’s operation. And it turns out, they’re not much different than the external ones.”

And regarding the leaked speeches to Wall Street Firms, CNN said, “the speeches offer no dramatic differences between what Clinton said publicly”.

On the other hand, the November FBI Director Comey announcement to re-open the Clinton email investigation did impact Clinton’s poll numbers. FiveThirtyEight observed that it narrowed Clinton’s lead, from a 5.7-percentage-point lead on Oct. 28 to a 2.9-point lead — — a swing of about 3 points against her. When Comey, days later, announced he would not reopen the investigation, there was no bounce back to the five-point margin.

So while the Comey announcement did affect Clinton’s poll numbers, the alleged Russian hacked emails, released in October, did not erode Clinton’s lead over Trump. Clinton led Trump by about two points on the day before the election, and beat Trump by about the same spread in the popular vote.

So, how could Hillary Clinton with the third-highest vote totals of any presidential candidate in history lose the election?

I suggest you search “why Clinton lost” for a host of explanations.

It’s obvious she didn’t win a sufficient number of 3,141 counties to win the electoral vote. She won 487 counties including 52 coastal counties and five ‘county equivalent’ cities stretching from San Diego to Seattle on the West Coast and Northern Virginia to Boston on the East Coast.

The left-leaning Mother Jones offered that “among the white working class, Hillary Clinton lost 14 points of support compared with 2012. Among the black and Latino working class, she lost 8 points of support. Altogether, this cost her about 6 percent of the total vote.”

This brings us back to the doublethink.

The fact is that, yes, Clinton beat her opponent by a near historic margin. But, no, the alleged Russian- hacked emails didn’t erode her poll numbers.

Clinton lost because her campaign failed to win the states, counties and voters that counted.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store