November 9th, 2016, America’s midnight struck for Democrats.
After months of Donald Trump’s groundlessly claiming a rigged election, he stunningly won the Presidential election, dumbfounding every American following our politics into silence.
How could everyone have so conclusively erred? How could he alone have known the exact outcome?
Autumn 2015, the FBI warned the DNC to review its networks. Finally, in May, the DNC asked the cyber security company Crowdstrike to assist and discovered that two main groups had been stealing files by the thousands. Imagine a break in, the thief running in and out repeatedly for six months before someone said, “STOP!”
April 19th, a mysterious website appeared named “DC Leaks” which, throughout the election’s remainder, dealt the world a slow, excruciating, death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts leak of Democratic Party documents.
Then came election night’s insane chaos nobody could have imagined: squeaking margins, Trump’s inside straight, everything lining up perfectly like razor-edged puzzle pieces to fell active politics’ last liberal giant.
Then slowly through the confused fog, salient details meandered into the national consciousness.
As slowly as the leaks had trickled for nearly a year, an information rainfall began coalescing in the post-election-apocalypse.
Donald Trump’s Russian interests and ties had alarmed many. Media reported his business connections, but like every other criticism, nothing stuck — even The New York Times revelation that Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych, had secret Ukrainian cash ledgers documenting expenditures to Manafort.
Remember Mitt Romney’s “47%”? Scandals far worse barely impacted Trump.
Early August, media reported Russia’s hacking two voting databases.
October 7th, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement from the U.S. Intelligence Community’s seventeen offices affirming that Russia had indeed hacked “e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations,” benefiting the Republican Party and undermining the presidential election.
October 11th, Donald Trump Jr. spoke to Russian envoys regarding Syria in Paris.
Repeatedly, Mr. Trump denied all Russian allegations while simultaneously characterizing the election as rigged against him.
October 25th, eleven days before Election Day, Congress leaked FBI Director James Comey’s letter announcing further investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Post-election, Donald Trump’s campaign credited this decision alone for the win.
October 31st, news broke that a Trump Tower server communicated daily with Russia.
November 6th, NPR wrote an article asking if Russia could indeed hack the election.
Then it happened. He won.
And to 60 million+ people who had smirked at Donald Trump’s rigged election complaints, it became clear.
Nearly every Democrat began whispering that the election was indeed rigged. Soon they screamed it.
But from Washington, only silence. Scary silence. Not a word uttered for a full week until November 16th when President Obama, under mounting pressure, insisted hackers did not sway the election, and another story broke that eight days before the election, President Obama had directly warned Russia against interference.
Nearly two weeks passed before Senate Democrats issued a short letter, dated November 29th, urging President Obama to release classified information regarding Russian election interference.
With Russian hacking evidence mounting, and without steady Democratic leadership and reassurance, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain requested an election probe despite Donald Trump’s wishes.
Then White House silence marked another excruciating ten days before President Obama, on December 9th, finally ordered an election intelligence review.
No other way exists to say this: the validity of the United States electorate system is permanently damaged, along with the impending Office of the Presidency.
65 million+ Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton now see the world as a much darker place, a world where the office of the President means nothing, white supremacists and Nazis inhabit Washington D.C., and a man they feel won his position by coordinating with a foreign superpower to steal the presidency attacks everything that matters. They feel a once-beloved President, who in the 11th hour lacked the courage to counter the threat, has tacitly allowed it.
We democrats, after election 2016’s agony, will never be able to entirely seam together the shredded fabric of democracy lost November 9th, 2016.
Cover Photo: Getty Images