Poll: Plurality of Trump voters think it's okay if ... Trump has a private email server

You may say that this data isn’t worth taking seriously because it was compiled by left-wing PPP. Me, I say it’s a perfect excuse for a weeknight bender.

Alternate headline: 76 percent of Hillary Clinton voters are suddenly against private servers, huh? Didn’t we just get done with two years of “WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?”

Republicans overall oppose the idea of a private POTUS server — narrowly, at 39/44. If you want to read these results charitably, you could argue that there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a private email server, even if you’re a high-ranking official like the president or secretary of state. Keep your homebrew set-up quarantined from anything work-related and there should be no national-security implications. If you want to read the results less charitably, i.e. more realistically, you might note that poll questions like this are asked against a backdrop of widely known public facts. The whole point of the Hillary email scandal was that sensitive information needs to stay on highly secure government servers, as having a homebrew server creates a natural risk that that information will cross over from the public system to the private one in the course of daily correspondence. What you’re seeing in the numbers, I think, is a simple reflection of partisan trust or distrust in a particular official, namely, Trump. Which is not how it’s supposed to go on the right: One of the reasons you believe in smaller government if you believe in smaller government is because you know that large bureaucracies tend to behave incompetently. A private email server for any official with access to state secrets is a bad idea.

If you’re inclined to assume that Team Trump would be a better steward of a private server than Team Hillary was (hard to see how they could be worse), note that he already has potential infosec problems of his own. Reportedly he’s still using his old Android phone alongside the White House’s secure phone system. What could go wrong with that? A lot, potentially:

When Obama described [his secure White House cell phone] to Jimmy Fallon, he noted a few drawbacks. The phone could not take pictures, presumably so the camera couldn’t be accessed remotely (and so that Obama wouldn’t be able to take pictures that might later be stolen).

The phone couldn’t send text messages (SMS messages are notoriously easy to intercept), only email, and couldn’t make regular phone calls, only VoIP (voice over internet protocol, like Skype). Presumably, this was so all of his communications could be routed through secure channels.

He also couldn’t load music onto it — because if you can load files onto the phone, you can load malware onto the phone. A user can’t download apps from the Google Play storefront onto a DMCC-S phone…

Trump, on the other hand, is using a phone with none of these protections.

It’s an open question whether his Twitter account is fully secure too as that was hacked once before, in 2013. Cybersleuths poking around Trump’s @POTUS account have already figured out that it’s secured by a Gmail account; if that Gmail account were hacked, it’d presumably be easy to request a new password to the Twitter account, log in, and wreak havoc. Imagine the market chaos from a bogus tweet about, say, antitrust action in the works against a major company.

Speaking of partisan expedience driving poll results, chew on this one from the PPP data — a simple question asking who the better president is likely to be, Trump or a guy whom hard leftists in recent memory compared to Hitler and called a war criminal.

By a cozy margin of 62/14, Democrats would prefer a George W. Bush restoration to four years of Trump. This bender might just bleed into tomorrow and go all weekend.

Jazz Shaw Jun 22, 2021 6:01 PM ET