Max Boot says flatly that without the Russians, Trump wouldn’t have won

Historians in the News
tags: Russia, Putin, Max Boot, Trump

… We still don’t know the full extent of the Russian interference, but we know its propaganda reached 126 million people via Facebook alone. A BuzzFeed analysis foundthat fake news stories on Facebook generated more social engagement in the last three months of the campaign than did legitimate articles: The “20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyperpartisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook.” Almost all of this “fake news” was either started or spread by Russian bots, including claimsthat the pope had endorsed Trump and that Hillary Clinton had sold weapons to the Islamic State.

Elsewhere on social media, tens of thousands of Russian bots spread pro-Trump messages on Twitter, which has already notified about 1.4 million usersthat they interacted with Russian accounts. The Russian disinformation, propagatinghashtags such as #Hillary4Prison and #MAGA, reflected what the Trump campaign was saying. The Russian bots even claimed after every presidential debatethat Trump had won, whereas objective viewers gave each one to Clinton.

Russia also hacked voting systems in at least 39 states, and while there is no evidence that vote tallies were changed, Russians may have used the stolen data to target their social media or shared the results with the Trump campaign. The Senate Intelligence Committee foundthat “in a small number of states” the Russians may have been able to “alter or delete voter registration data,” potentially disenfranchising Clinton voters.

And then there was the crucial impact of the Russian hacks of Democratic documents disseminated primarily by WikiLeaks. The first tranche of stolen documents — more than 19,000 emails and 8,000 attachments— was strategically released on July 22, 2016, three days before the Democratic convention. The resulting news coverage disrupted the Clinton campaign’s plans by creating the impression that the Democratic National Committee was biased against Bernie Sanders and forcing DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign.

The second tranche of stolen documents was released on Oct. 7, just 29 minutesafter The Post reportedon the “Access Hollywood” videotape in which Trump is heard boasting about grabbing women by the genitals. These emails, stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, distracted voter attention by revealing the transcripts of lucrative speeches Clinton had given to Goldman Sachs, a populist boogeyman….

Read entire article at The Washington Post