No, the DNC Didn’t Rig the Primary in Favor of Hillary
The long-term implications are even more unsettling. Because of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2009, the roles of the national committees have been greatly reduced since the 1990s. For the Democrats, serious research is done by American Bridge, and polling and independent expenditures related to television, online efforts, and fieldwork are done by super PACs. There’s just not a lot, comparatively speaking, for the Russians to have found in the DNC’s servers. What is ominous is the Russians’ willingness to aggressively hack one of the major political parties in what appears to be an effort to manipulate the results of an American election.
If the Russians can get in to the severs of the White House, the State Department, and the DNC, then it is possible they can retrieve the digital and data infrastructure of the Democratic Party and its allies in organized labor and liberal interest groups. They have now crossed over from simply infiltrating documents and data to exfiltrating documents to shape public opinion and the democratic elections that determine control over the power of the state.
Could the Russians wipe out the voter registration rolls in an effort to shape the electorate to benefit Donald Trump? Just last week the Illinois State Board of Elections announced it had been hacked, “most likely from a foreign (international) entity.”
And what about the Democrats’ advantage in data and analytics? It depends upon the integrity and security of the data. What if hackers installed malware that severely damaged NGP-VAN, the system that Democrats use for targeting and contacting voters? In 2012 the Republicans tried to create a similar system; it was a disaster, causing chaos in its get-out-the-vote operation.
Consider that in 2002, Republican operatives jammed the phone lines of Democratic phone banks in New Hampshire, possibly costing them a seat in the U.S. Senate. Hackers might be tempted to try something similar, gumming up Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts across the battleground states. Or, more stealthily, they might prevent some voters from showing up in voter contact lists.