By ann summers
At the time, Comey probably knew that #TrumpRussia could be far more disruptive to the electoral process considering that they were in the midst of that investigation (see FISA) and couldn’t comment on it, whereas the FBI could comment, however disastrously, on Clinton emails, even if they knew they’d be possibly be compromised by Russian influence (WikiLeaks).
Comey fails to admit that he calculated his letter as political and that his leadership decision was random, yet conditioned by media effects, even considering his other Constitutional obligations. As such, Comey has become a Gambian Pouched Rat for the electoral system, but however intentioned, an asset for domestic intelligence, and ultimately an agent for justice, if kleptocracy is even a US crime.
Speaking about the emails again was also catastrophic, and suggests that the letter was designed for Comey’s CYA, not exactly a profile in courage. And like law enforcement in the field, decisions, often fatal are made using mass communication to incite a random actor to carry out acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. Such actions as we now know, have even symbolically violent consequences, like electing a candidate who increases the probability of nuclear state-sponsored terror.
Denial is a river in Egypt… although a more interesting research question would be to look at such a media effect specifically in the crucial swing states of 2016 at the district level.
Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28. The letter, which said the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into the private email server that Clinton used as secretary of state, upended the news cycle and soon halved Clinton’s lead in the polls, imperiling her position in the Electoral College.
The letter isn’t the only reason that Clinton lost. It does not excuse every decision the Clinton campaign made. Other factors may have played a larger role in her defeat, and it’s up to Democrats to examine those as they choose their strategy for 2018 and 2020.
But the effect of those factors — say, Clinton’s decision to give paid speeches to investment banks, or her messaging on pocket-book issues, or the role that her gender played in the campaign — is hard to measure. The impact of Comey’s letter is comparatively easy to quantify, by contrast. At a maximum, it might have shifted the race by 3 or 4 percentage points toward Donald Trump, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida to him, perhaps along with North Carolina and Arizona. At a minimum, its impact might have been only a percentage point or so. Still, because Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 1 point, the letter was probably enough to change the outcome of the Electoral College.
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) May 3, 2017