It will be ironic if Wikileaks — which was supposed to expose and undercut the power of the military-industrial complex — helps Republicans win the 2016 election.
The revelations about the DNC, about Clinton’s Wall Street speeches, and about private emails may flip the election to Trump. At the very least, the revelations will harm down-ticket Democrats and progressives.
There are plenty of embarrassing stories about Trump and Republicans, and about corruption in the military-industrial complex. But rather than using the Wikileaks revelations to undermine Republican interest and the military, the Obama administration went after Wikileaks and its members. The Republicans, on the other hand, are successfully using the Wikileaks emails to make Clinton and the DNC appear corrupt.
In general, Republicans are better at exploiting and spinning the news. Partly this is because too many Democrats partake of the corruption and hawkishness. Partly it’s because Republicans have fewer qualms about twisting the truth. Mostly it’s because the GOP has a powerful right wing media to broadcast their talking points.
The only reason Trump has a chance of winning — and the only reason why so many people are attracted to Republican ideology — is the prevalence of right wing media: Fox News, AM talk radio, and Internet trolls. On AM radio the conservative slant is relentless and well-orchestrated. They manufacture an alternate reality in which Sadaam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, Obama is a Muslim from Kenya, global climate change is a hoax, and Hillary more corrupt than Bush or Trump. The hatred of Hillary is deep and visceral.
The Republican Noise Machine molds public opinion and has succeeded in elevating the Clinton email issue to an election-deciding scandal. The fact that George W. Bush had a private email server with much more serious repercussions is ignored. As reported in Newsweek’s article The George W. Bush White House ‘Lost’ 22 Million Emails:
Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.
Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails.
Why can’t Democrats exploit such stories to undercut Republicans? Trump should be 20 points behind in this election.
As Bernie Sanders said, the American public is fed up with hearing about Clinton’s “damn emails.” The emails should be a footnote issue. Instead, Republicans have largely succeeded at elevating it to an election-deciding issue that supposedly illustrates Clinton’s criminality and unreliability.