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Fri Feb 16, 2018, 08:40 PM

I'm just gonna say this once [View all]

Russia wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton. Their assessment, just like that of all the experts here, was that she would soon become our next President. Anything that they could do to bloody her nose, they were motivated to do. That meant, among other things, trying to help Trump. That meant, among other things trying to help Stein. That meant, among other things, trying to help Sanders. That would have meant, among other things, trying to help any other Democrat who ran a credible race against Hillary in the primaries. If Joe Biden had entered the race, they would have tried to exploit differences between Biden and Hillary also, and between their supporters.

I believe Donald Trump was in of it. I believe it is possible that Jill Stein was in on it, but I am not as certain about her as I am about Trump. I believe Sanders was not in on it. Nor would Biden etc. have been in on it had he also run. We have a political system that allows open competition not only for elected offices, but for nominations to run for elective offices. Elections and primaries, both are part of American Democracy. Both are essential aspects, in my opinion, but primaries in particular can be fertile ground for external meddling. Activists are usually passionate about their choices. Here on DU, I've been through Dean vs Clark vs Edwards wars. I've been through Obama vs Clinton wars, and I've been through Clinton vs Sanders wars. All of them got ugly. If some external force wants to throw fuel onto our internal fires, it is easy to do so. But it is anti Democratic to the core to blame candidates for the sin of competing with each other rather than simply lining up behind a front runner the way the former Soviet Politburo once did in public. There the knifing mostly happened in private.

People here may not all be in a position to remember, but lots of folks on every side got tombstoned here during all past primary wars. Last year was not unique. In all cases lots of good DU activists sincerely believed that opposing candidates and their core supporters were guilty of sundry dastardly deeds. One of the easiest ways to smear anyone on an activist board is through guilt by association. Obama got smeared through his association with Reverend what's his name, to cite a good example of how that works. What makes a smear a smear is when an association does not prove the crime alleged. Barack Obama was not anti-white in that former case. Donald Trump is accused of conspiracy with the Russians. If his team conspired with them than that accusation is not a smear, the documented association between him and the Russians would have criminal relevance. The Russians weighed in regarding Stein and Sanders also, attempting to boost them. They had their own reasons for doing so. If Stein or Sanders were willing knowing participants in that Russian effort, then accusations against them regarding conspiracy/collusion would not be smears. However if they were independently competing for votes without cooperating with the Russian attack, it is a smear against either of them to lump them in with the Russians, and they too then become victims of the Russian attack by hanging that charge around their necks.

Were benefiting in some way from Russian dirty tricks to become an acceptable reason to condemn a candidate's campaign, whether or not that candidate was in any way actually involved, that gives the Russians a classic twofer win win scenario. First they hurt their primary intended target, then they hurt whoever they lined up their bots to support by letting their support be leaked. And they sow chaos in the process, driving wedges between supporters who otherwise are in 90% agreement with each other regarding everything political.

I and millions of others supported Bernie in the primaries for reasons related to Bernie. I was not unsympathetic to Hillary in general, some may remember that I blogged for Hillary extensively on DU during the 2008 primaries. I had my reasons, which I tried to articulate at the time, for supporting Bernie over Hillary, but I backed Hillary over Trump in the General. So did the overwhelming majority of Bernie's core supporters. A small minority were no doubt influenced by Russian efforts against Hillary. And I fear a small minority of Hillary supporters will be influenced by continuing Russian efforts to divide us now.

I actually have an amazing amount of Trust in Mueller's probe. If he uncovers actual evidence of collusion between either and/or both the Stein and Sanders campaigns and the Russians, I will adamantly damn the guilty parties. Until then I do not do guilt by non cooperative association.

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