Russians Russians everywhere, and not a drop of vodka to drink. In an interview on former Barack Obama adviser David Plouffe’s podcast, Hillary Clinton offered what might be called the Unified Theory of Russian Interference in the 2016 election. Hillary warns that Tulsi Gabbard could launch a third-party bid on behalf of her Russian handlers in 2020 — just the same way that Green Party nominee Jill Stein did in 2016.
On second thought, perhaps Hillary has had a little too much vodka of late:
Color WaPo analyst Aaron Blake unimpressed by Hillary’s conspiracy-theory rantings about either Gabbard or Stein:
In a conversation on former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s podcast, Clinton suggested the Russians are leveraging a number of top U.S. politicians. She suggested Russia had kompromat on Trump. She accused 2016 Green Party nominee Jill Stein of being a “Russian asset.” And she suggested Russia might back Gabbard as a third-party candidate.
“They’re also going to do third-party again,” Clinton said. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve 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.”
The “again” referred to Stein, whom some Clinton supporters have accused (rather baselessly) of serving as a spoiler for Clinton in 2016. Stein got around 1 percent of the vote in the three decisive states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — but exit polls showed most of her voters wouldn’t have supported either Clinton or Trump if Stein weren’t running.
Clinton then flat-out labeled Stein a “Russian asset.”
“And that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset,” Clinton said. “Yeah, she’s a Russian asset — I mean, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed.”
The part about Stein is especially lunatic. The Green Party might be fringy and socialist, but it’s a long-established minor party that had ballot access in 31 states by the 2006 midterms, and expanded it to 45 states for the 2016 election. After the 2016 election, Hillary wasn’t complaining about Stein as she launched recount campaigns in the “blue wall” states Hillary lost, attempting to discredit Trump’s victory over baseless allegations of cheating and (of course) Russian manipulation of ballot results.
The allegation against Gabbard is only slightly less insane. And yes, Hillary spokesman Nick Merrill confirmed, that’s exactly who Hillary meant:
Update from @merica: when asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard, Clinton spox Nick Merrill said, “If the nesting doll fits.”
“This is not some outlandish claim,” Merrill added. “This is reality.”
— Rebecca Buck (@RebeccaBuck) October 18, 2019
That’s just nuts. Let’s say for a hot moment that Russian intelligence would pick a Manchurian Candidate for a presidential election. Would they choose someone who’s barely been in politics, someone who’s already viewed as rather fringy, and who can’t acquire much of her own support? Of course not. It would be all risk, no reward.
As for the impact of all that “grooming” and the sites and the bots oh my, take a look at RCP’s full polling aggregation for this year. Gabbard hasn’t scored above 3% in any poll, and she has a lot more zeroes than threes. Her current polling aggregation average is 1.2%. If the Russians are “grooming” her, they’re terrible at their jobs.
This, of course, is part of the same conceit of Russiagate all along. We have spent the last three years hyperventilating over a Russian “merry prankster” disinformation campaign that spent $25 million in a cycle where the two candidates and their allies spent well over two billion dollars on messaging. No one — not a single person — has ever shown that the Russian social-media campaign ever changed a single voter’s mind, regardless of their intent.
This is an insane conspiracy theory, and it’s a demonstration that Hillary has simply lost her mind in the wake of her incompetent performance in 2016. The irony of this is that Hillary’s doing this as part of her book tour for her new tome The Book of Gutsy Women. It seems that Hillary doesn’t appreciate some “gutsy women” as much as others.