By Kevin C. Peterson
Hillary Clinton is not Madam President. But she could have been sans Russian influences during the 2016 election cycle that resulted in diminished black voter participation rates across several states.
Clinton remains mightily sensitive to Russian involvement in U.S. presidential politics because she lost the White House in 2016 in an uneven electoral college count tally — even while winning the popular vote. Clinton’s loss came in states where black votes were effectively suppressed in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. According to estimates 4.4 million voters, who had previously voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, did not show up at the polls in 2016 — nearly one-third were African Americans, according to a Washington Post report.
This is why Clinton surfaced publicly last week issuing a warning to core democratic voters that presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard may well become Putin’s eventual proxy candidate who will run in 2020 as an independent candidate.
In a podcast week, Clinton said the following:“I’m not making any predictions …but I think [the Russians] have got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
Congresswomen Tulsi shoot back: “I’ve been very clear, I will not be leaving the Democratic party, I will not be running as an independent or a third-party candidate…I am running as a Democrat to take our party back, away from the control of people like Hillary Clinton and the warmongering and corrupt, powerful establishment and return our party into the hands of the people. Make it so the Democratic party is once again a party of, by and for the people, a party that will fight for the people, fight to protect the planet and that will fight for peace.”
The Mueller probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections is conclusive. While president Trump’s may not have worked directly with the Russian disruptors to defeat Clinton, Putin’s heavy hand clearly interfered in the contest.
A U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report released earlier this month noted that Russian trolls used Facebook and malicious internet bots to create voter apathy in the black community by diseminating negative stories about Clinton. The report also stated that the Russians sought to stoke racial tensions across the country as a way of discouraging black electoral turn out.
“By far, race and related issues were the preferred target of the information warfare campaign designed to divide the country in 2016,” the report concluded.
Hillary has also said Jill Stien, the independent Green Party candidate who ran for the presidency in 2016, was a Putin “asset” who also siphoned democratic voters which eventually favored Trump. Stien has called Clinton’s assertion “unhigned.”
In his meticulaly researched book, “The Turnout Gap, Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversified America,” Bernard Fraga concludes that had voter turnout in Detroit — which is mostly black — equalled previous tallies, the 10,000 vote advantage Trump enjoyed Michigan in 2016 would have never emerged. Clinton, instead, would have likely prevailed over Trump.
Should democrats desire winning back the White House, the party potentates and lay members must respond to the stinging lessons of 2016.
Our nation is highly vulnerable to outside voter persuasion that can skew elections — particularly through the Internet. And all Americans should remain vigilant against outside forces that seek to racialize presidential elections.
Black voters have, over the last two decades, witnessed the decimation of the Voting Rights Act through Supreme Court decisions. This has impacted all Americans.
Outside interference from Kremlin-inspired forces only make things worst.