Rep. Steve Cohen (R-Tenn.) again repeated the Democrat canard about the 2016 election, blaming Russian meddling and former FBI director James Comey for Donald Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton. The New York Times reported that the Russian operation targeted African-Americans to suppress their votes.
“In my opinion, there’s no way they didn’t influence enough voters to turn the election for Donald Trump,” Cohen told CNN anchor Brianna Keilar on Monday.
Keilar asked him to clarify. “You think Donald Trump won because of this Russian operation?”
“I think it’s a combination of the Russian operation and Comey’s reopening the investigation within the last ten days, two weeks of the election,” the congressman said. “He feels terrible about it — I know he thought he was acting in the most appropriate and most rectitudinous fashion, but he was wrong and the result is whatever his intent, that plus the Russian activity definitely was what put Hillary Clinton under in the electoral vote.”
Cohen noted that Clinton “won the popular vote by 3 million votes, but she lost Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania close,” so once again he repeated, “the Russian involvement and/or the Comey investigation changed the election.”
This over-simplistic analysis gives the Russians far too much credit, while minimizing the impact of campaign strategies from both Clinton and Trump. While the Russian influence campaign may have helped Trump, the basic fact remains that Clinton chose not to campaign in some traditional swing states, which Trump won both by targeting those states and by campaigning on issues that galvanized voters there — issues like tariffs.
Similarly, the Comey announcement may have contributed to Trump’s victory, but the two campaigns’ strategies had a much more direct and clear impact.
Furthermore, Robert Epstein, a Ph.D. psychologist who studies search engine manipulation, has concluded that Google’s bias in favor of Clinton may account for her margin in the popular vote. Epstein supported Clinton in the 2016 election, but his concern about Google’s political and cultural influence overrides that support.
National presidential elections are difficult to analyze because many factors play into the results. Democrats like Rep. Cohen cherry-pick Russia and Comey in order to suggest that the election was somehow rigged against Clinton, when the reality is far more complicated.
Rather than accepting the loss and moving on, Democrats seek to delegitimize Trump. That may rile up their base, but it won’t convince the voters who chose Trump over Clinton. As the 2020 cycle ramps up, Democrats who continue to return to these talking points will find it a losing strategy.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.