What If One Decision Had Been Different?

A television show, a book and an article that I have long wanted to write all converged; (they didn’t walk into a bar – this is far from a joke). Let’s explore.

The day is Friday October 7, 2016. Most political analysts consider it to be the most consequential day in the 2016 election cycle for what occurred and the order it occurred in. My question is what if it hadn’t happened that way? It appears that it didn’t have to.

At about 3:30pm EST that day then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson stepped before the press and announced that the United States government had discovered that Russia was interfering in the ongoing (early voting had commenced in several states) 2016 election.

About a half hour later David Farenthold of the Washington Post broke the now infamous Access Hollywood story.

About thirty minutes later WikiLeaks dropped the first of the purloined emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign head John Podesta.

Last Friday night I watched The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Dr. Maddow did an interview with Ronan Farrow about his new book Catch And Kill which I had bought a few days earlier and began to read (as planned) on Saturday morning. Farrow claims to have had the Access Hollywood story (and his claim appears to be credible) prior to October 7th but his then-employer NBC (and effectively Maddow’s current employer) would not allow him to broadcast it.

As an aside: I watch Rachel Maddow’s show religiously, have read both of her books and hold her in the highest regard. It will be interesting to see what happens to her as a result of that courageous interview.  

Trump, his sycophants and right wing mythology claim that the WikiLeaks email drop coming out on the heels of the Access Hollywood tape’s release are coincidental. I believe in Nance’s Law which states coincidence takes a lot of planning.

Had NBC let Farrow break the Access Hollywood story even a few days earlier I contend the chronology of events would have gone: Access Hollywood story breaking followed in about thirty minutes by the release of the emails and the Russian interference announcement would have been the lone bombshell on October 7th.

I remember that weekend well. The Access Hollywood story dominated the mainstream and liberal leaning news while the emails gave the right wing outlets something else to talk about and nobody covered the Russian interference.

There is another important factor to consider when reviewing these events. The Obama administration called the congressional leaders together to show them what the Intelligence Community had on the Russian interference. Obama wanted to issue a joint, bi-partisan statement to the people warning them of the Russian interference. Moscow Mitch McConnell refused to participate. Had he chosen small “d” democracy and country over Party the announcement would have been much more powerful and probably not on the same day as the other two events. It would also have been much more difficult to bury in the news.

I wanted to write this article for some time, but with the new allegations by Farrow it is much better and more disturbing. I’m not contending that this single convergence of events turned the election. I still think it was a perfect storm that allowed Trump to squeak out a couple of close state level wins and capture an Electoral College victory. That being said, October 7th was a major factor and it didn’t have to happen the way it did.

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One thought on “What If One Decision Had Been Different?”

  1. I, too, watched Rachel on Friday evening with eyebrows raised. I’ll be looking to see if she’s there this evening. But, more important than Rachel keeping her job, is whether we can keep this democratic republic in the face of what I am convinced will be clearly shown to be treasonous behavior by the usual suspects.

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