There is a villain in our midsts and its name is Russia. That’s according to every Democrat over the past 18 months who has tried to vigorously defend the thousands of emails leaked from Hillary Clinton’s private server. True, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies unanimously came out several months ago suspecting the Russian government for hacking into the system. But the Kremlin has become too easy a scapegoat for Clinton surrogates trying to direct attention away from the ever-tightening presidential race. Now their fall guy is falling apart.
Political commentators and Democratic lawmakers often argue: the emails were stolen so why pay attention to them? It’s a weak and lazy rebuttal at best. If the documents reveal controversial details about Hillary Clinton’s public and private life, and if voters are concerned about what they may mean for a Clinton presidency, does it matter if the messenger was a thief?
It doesn’t. Even CNN, ripe with its own Russia-spouting talking heads, is catching on. Take Donna Brazile, one of the network’s favorite analysts before she became DNC interim chairwoman. Yesterday WikiLeaks released emails revealing that she had helped feed more debate questions to the Clinton campaign. Brazile had often criticized such documents for being falsified by Russians. But CNN decided they were “completely uncomfortable” with the new information. This time Brazile wouldn’t be coming back to the network.
Russia came into play earlier this year when the FBI began investigating Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort and his ties to the former Soviet Union. Manafort had once worked for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and intelligence agencies wanted to see if that relationship had leaked over to the Republican candidate.
Manafort resigned from the campaign in August. Since then the Trump-Russian-puppet narrative has gotten nowhere. After months of searching intelligence officials told The New York Times yesterday that the FBI still hadn’t found any real evidence connecting Donald Trump to the Russian government. Trump’s only crime had been praising Russian president Vladimir Putin to uncomfortable lengths but not much else.
We’re not in a Cold War; Russia is no longer the threat it used to be. To stubbornly point fingers at Putin is to ignore the current sentiment of United States voters. A Gallup poll taken earlier this year showed 43 percent of Americans between 18 to 29 viewed Russia favorably. Perhaps it’s because young people don’t see whole countries as blind enemies. Or maybe we have more problems at home to worry about than a nation thousands of miles away.
So why keep beating a dead horse? Because with the new FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails dominating headlines until Election Day, Democrats know that Donald Trump may now have a real shot at winning the presidency. An average of RealClearPolitics’ polls from the last 10 days shows Clinton winning with only a 2.2 point lead. There are no more sexual scandals to counter the blow; no more brash words from Trump to pick apart. The only thing shield left is the foreign hackers.
It’s too late now. Democrats will have to come to terms with the fact that Clinton’s tainted emails will be the last thing on voters’ minds until November 8 and this time, Russia won’t be there to distract them.
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