To glance at some of the political news this week, you’d think it was October.
Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta did Meet the Press over the weekend to talk about Russia hacking the DNC’s emails.
Hillary Clinton aide Brian Fallon took to Twitter on Tuesday to question the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails.
Donald Trump and Bill Clinton sniped at each other.
But it’s mid-December. The voters and electors alike have cast their votes. And while millions of Americans are doubtless more than happy to have Election Day well behind them, they can still plan on hearing still more about the election in the coming days or even weeks.
There’s good reason for some of the continuing concern over the election. The FBI and CIA alike say they are now confident Russia hacked the DNC’s emails, that Putin was involved, and it was all in an attempt to influence the election in Trump’s favor.
That could have very real repercussions. President Obama told NPR’s Steve Inskeep that Russia’s interference would spark U.S. retaliation.
However, there will never be any way of knowing how much influence those hacked emails may have had on the election. (As Slate’s Theodore Johnson put it, “Russia didn’t hack the U.S. election. It hacked the voters.”)
Likewise, on Tuesday, Fallon took to Twitter to once again address the issue of Clinton’s emails and the FBI’s investigation: “[FBI Director James] Comey’s intrusion on the election was as utterly unjustified,” referring to Comey’s late-October announcement that the agency would be looking into thousands of emails that had just come to light.
Meanwhile, some of the election relitigation has been in the form of petty taunts. Former President Bill Clinton this week said of Trump, “He doesn’t know much. One thing he does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him.”
That clearly irked Trump. The president-elect flung the insult back, tweeting that Clinton “doesn’t know much.” In a subsequent tweet, Trump added that Clinton doesn’t know “how to get people, even with an unlimited budget, out to vote in the vital swing states (and more). They focused on wrong states.”
While Bill Clinton prompted these particular Trump tweets, they are an extension of something Trump has done before, pumping up his political prowess and taunting Hillary Clinton, who has maintained a low profile since Election Day. On Wednesday morning, Trump bragged about winning the election despite raising far less money than Clinton, and he again slammed her for having “focused on the wrong states.”
Trump has repeatedly responded to the fact that despite winning the electoral vote comfortably, he lost the popular vote to Clinton by 2.8 million votes. At one point, he made the baseless claim that millions of fraudulent votes helped Clinton to that margin.
Some of the lingering concerns about Election Day (for example, about a foreign power meddling in U.S. elections) are real. But it also means a deluge of Monday-morning quarterbacking after a long, nasty campaign.
For their part, some Democrats are pushing the party to look forward instead of backward. The field of candidates for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee is growing. In addition, former Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson wrote a strident op-ed at Time this week urging Democrats to move on.
“The time for mourning is over, Democrats. We’ve had over a month,” he wrote, adding later that the party needs both introspection but also to consider the scope of it loss: “Just because you epically lost an expectations game doesn’t mean you epically lost an election.”
Meanwhile, Trump will have a country to run. He has been going through the requisite transition steps, even kicking off his cabinet appointments more quickly than many other presidents, as the Washington Post‘s Phillip Bump pointed out.
But then, even amid the roar of news from around the world in the last couple of weeks — an assassination in Turkey, a refugee crisis in Syria, an attack on a market in Germany — Trump’s Twitter feed suggests that his Electoral College win and popular-vote loss remain in the front of his mind (the juxtaposition still kind of annoying him).
In a way, all of the backward-looking may be fitting for a candidate whose campaign was all about nostalgia (making America great again). But in one month, he will have a whole four years ahead of him (and maybe eight), not to mention some very big decisions to concern himself with.
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