Trump, Russia, and the five stages of grief for the progressive left. lists the five stages that those who grieve will process before finally accepting reality, whether that is death, illness, or realizing your political world view is threatened.  The entry point is denial, followed by anger, then bargaining, depression, and the relief of acceptance.  The progressive left is suffering through their own tormented journey[1] in a way that seems oddly reminiscent of those on the far right who believed that Obama was unfit for president (he was a Muslim), or that he did not satisfy the citizenship requirements of the Constitution (the birther movement). What then and now share is people who are actively looking for a reason to feel their seething anger is justified.   Some will go to great lengths to plant a seed of plausibility only to rest insulated in the shade of the gnarled and twisted tree that sprouts from it.  Case in point: The Russian Hack of the DNC ‘scandal’.


The conclusion being promulgated, either implicitly or explicitly, is that Putin ordered Russian intelligence to hack into the DNC to help Trump win the election.[2] [3] Taken further, there are those that believe that this is proof of collusion between Trump and Putin that is so dire as to be reason enough to call for the electoral college to choose a non-Trump President.[4] The desired effect is to ultimately discard the entire voting process and to throw the election into the hands of the Republican controlled House of Representatives, and hoping for a different result.  I love Kevin Spacey but this just seems like the musings of people who have been binge watching House of Cards.

Per the New York Times, the hack into the DNC servers began in July 2015 and went undetected for “nearly a year”.[5]  Between July 2015 and July 2016, if you believe this narrative, Russia had already chosen Trump as the candidate most likely to win not only the Republican nomination, but he was the one in the field of 17 Republicans who could also overthrow the Clinton machine (not to mention the uncertainty with the surging popularity of Sanders).  This was news to the many in the rest of the world who seemed to strongly believe that Trump was a joke with no legitimate chance to even win his party’s nomination.[6]  In the grieving progressive’s mind, though, this dichotomy seems rational. The Russian’s were complicit and extremely capable, the theory must go. They had chosen Trump and made it so. But, how does hacking into the DNC’s servers and releasing emails through WikiLeaks create a Trump win?  To answer that question, you either must presume that there was also some sort of direct tampering with the vote tally, or that the emails were taken because they were both fatally damaging to Hillary, and singularly helpful to Trump.


Occam’s Razor seems applicable here, that is among competing hypothesis the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.  In this case, a few assumptions can be discarded as false.  There is no evidence that Russian hackers tampered with the vote, and election officials in the White House have said the vote shows no sign of tampering and accurately reflects popular will.[7] Further, “no information has emerged suggesting that the C.I.A believes that Russia’s involvement decided the election’s outcome.”[8]

To the latter point, there is strong evidence that this election was decided, not by leaked emails, and not by outside interference, but by predictive historical trends.  Those predictive trends were never good for Hillary, or the Democrats.  For instance, in the 7 years that the incumbent party faced a closely contested nomination race, such as 2016, the incumbent party lost; in the 4 times the challenging party has put up a more charismatic and less typical politician type than the incumbent party, such as 2016, the challenger won.[9] These trends, and many others[10], went largely unnoticed or misunderstood by the intelligentsia that favored discussing flawed national polls in an electoral system that is Constitutionally set up to ignore national popular vote.


So, where does this leave us?  It seems that for anyone looking at predictive analysis this election was going to be decidedly anti-incumbent.  Second, there is no sign of tampering with the election results via the vote tally by any outside entities.   That means that regardless of what national polling suggested, the challenger had a very high likelihood of success (bad for the Democrats), and that the actual voting results aren’t compromised (worse for Clinton).  Given those constraints, we are left to argue the marginal effects of the email leaks, if any, especially considering Trump’s own issues with less than flattering leaks.[11]  It is important to remember that the validity and content of the leaked emails themselves isn’t being questioned, only the motivation for the leak in the first place.  To that point, it seems most likely that if Russia did hack the servers (although that isn’t a certainty[12]) that the effect was more to embarrass the Democrats and Clinton than affect the outcome.  In Clinton’s own words, Putin “publicly blamed [her] for the outpouring of outrage by his own people. And that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election.”[13] In other words, Putin might be the only leader in the world that liked Hillary less than the American electorate[14].

What happened in this election, that is the apparently unthinkable event of a Clinton losing the White House, was always far more likely than most would ever accept.  It didn't take Russia handing hacked emails to the American people for that to be true, but that won't be apparent until many can get beyond the anger and denial stages of their own grief. The irony is that until the progressive left accept that reality, addressing the mess they created within their party and by their own keyboards, they will just be left on the outside of the beltway looking in.


—  Derek A. Jordan, Esq., Barnes Law

Derek A. Jordan is an associate attorney with Barnes Law, licensed to practice law and land surveying in Tennessee.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.


[1] See:

[2] See:

[3] See:

[4] See:

[5] See:

[6] See:

[7] See:

[8] Id.

[9] See:

[10] See:

[11] See:

[12] See:


[14] See: