When Winning Becomes Everything

Before getting to the point, though, do you mind if I be a little petty? Emphasis mine:

I was asked about my observations on technical details buried in the State Department’s release of Secretary Clinton’s emails (such as noting a hack attempt in 2011, or how Clinton’s emails might have been intercepted by Russia due to lack of encryption). I was also asked about aspects of the DNC hack, such as why I thought the “Guccifer 2” persona really was in all likelihood operated by the Russian government, and how it wasn’t necessary to rely on CrowdStrike’s attribution as blind faith; noting that I had come to the same conclusion independently based on entirely public evidence, having been initially doubtful of CrowdStrike’s conclusions.


But on to the main point: the day after Thursday’s revelation that “a GOP operative who presented himself as working with Mike Flynn, … actively solicited Clinton emails from hackers he believed to be Russian and assumed to be affiliated with the Russian government,” one of the anonymous sources became nonymous. Meet Matt Tait, a British cybersecurity researcher who’s covered that angle of American politics. Said GOP operative, Peter Smith, approached him to validate the batch of emails that were claimed to be from Hilary Clinton’s private email server.

In my conversations with Smith and his colleague, I tried to stress this point: if this dark web contact is a front for the Russian government, you really don’t want to play this game. But they were not discouraged. They appeared to be convinced of the need to obtain Clinton’s private emails and make them public, and they had a reckless lack of interest in whether the emails came from a Russian cut-out. Indeed, they made it quite clear to me that it made no difference to them who hacked the emails or why they did so, only that the emails be found and made public before the election.

Ignore the whole attribution angle of the DNC hack. Instead, let’s focus on the actions of the Republicans. They had access to illegally-obtained dirt on a rival party, and didn’t care that this dirt was illegal. All that mattered to them was winning.

This isn’t a one-off, either; yesterday I pointed to an old story about another GOP operative, Aaron Nevins, who struck a deal with “Guccifer 2.0” to use the material they gathered from local DNC chapters in local races. That material wound up being used in attack ads, and may have swayed voters. But there was also a recent report which showed that Republicans had extensively gerrymandered electoral districts, guaranteeing themselves safer seats and a greater odds of winning. This lines up with prior reports. Republicans are also notorious for voter suppression, to the point that they openly brag about it and waste taxpayer funds to do it. Voter disenfranchisement? Also a Republican tactic.

This is a party devoted primarily to winning. Their policies and values are secondary, leading to an unending stream of hypocrisy. This explains a lot about why they have so much difficulty governing, the Republicans lack a unified vision to guide policy and rally everyone around. This makes it easy for outside groups to sway Republicans to their side, to the point that they even rely on them to draft some legislation.

This is poisonous for democracy. It must be opposed, no matter your political leanings.