Matthew Yglesias@ Vox sits down and writes a piece on how a email server set up by the Clinton’s before Hillary Clinton actually became Sec of State and how the contents of that private server became a whipping cane for Republicans and the MEDIA…..
I will add that the Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the situation , by ‘ calming up’ did her NO favors and actually made the email story bigger and more posienous against her chance to be come the first American Woman President….
Historians will write of a growing trend toward partisan polarization and a brewing sense of political crisis dating back to Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. They’ll note the projected end of America’s white majority, the geopolitical revolution induced by Russia’s reinvention of itself as an international beacon of cultural conservatism, and the corrosive effect of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The “failures of neoliberalism” will come in for scrutiny.
All true and all important. But my message to the future is this. No matter how stupid it sounds, and no matter how much political and journalistic elites on all sides of America’s toxic politics began trying to ignore it as soon as the votes were counted, the dominant issue of the 2016 campaign was email server management….
Bill Clinton found himself in the unusual employment circumstances of being an ex-president in 2001, he hired someone to set up a private server for himself and his wife and her personal email was hosted on that server.
At the time Clinton became secretary of state, she was a heavy user of a once-popular early smartphone line called Blackberry.
The state of federal government information technology infrastructure, at the time, was such that a work-issued email address could only be associated with a work-issued Blackberry and the work-issued Blackberry could not be connected to a personal email address. Many federal workers at the time handled this by carrying around two smartphones, which was an annoying but workable solution. Clinton, as the boss, chose to spare herself the inconvenience involved by simply ignoring State Department guidelines and using her own phone and her personal email address….
FBI Director James Comey told the American people that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Clinton…
Email fever reached its peak on two separate major occasions. One was when Comey closed the investigation. Instead of simply saying “we looked into it and there was no crime,” Comey sought to immunize himself from Clinton critics by breaking with standard procedure to offer extended negative commentary on Clinton’s behavior. He said she was “extremely careless.”
Comey then brought the email story back to the center of the campaign in late October by writing a letter to Congress indicating that the email case had been reopened due to new discoveries on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. It turned out that the new discoveries were an awfully flimsy basis for a subpoena, and the subpoena turned up nothing.
This all still sounds unimportant, but it was not at the time:
- The New York Times dedicated 100 percent of its above-the-fold space to coverage of Comey’s letter to Congress.
- Throughout the campaign season, network newscasts dedicated more time to Clinton’s email server stories than to stories about all policy issues combined.
- Donald Trump’s campaign rallies featured regular “lock her up” chants, centering the email server as the opposition’s main criticism of Clinton.
- Across five television networks and six major newspapers, 11 percent of campaign coverage was stories about Clinton’s email server.
- Critically, one useful function of email-based criticism of Hillary Clinton was to pull together the Trumpian and establishment wings of the Republican Party. That’s why it served as the central theme of the 2016 Republican Convention, allowing the likes of Scott Walker and Rick Perry to deliver on-message speeches rather than clashing with Trump’s message…