[1] Since the election, the lying—which seems as natural to Trump as breathing—has continued apace. The New York Times has developed a running chronicle of Trump’s lies while in office (updated November 11, 2017). Using “the conservative standard of demonstrably false statements,” the Times documents 180 publicly-told lies from January 21st to November 11th, 2017—more than one every two days. The Washington Post similarly maintains an ongoing database of Trump’s “false or misleading statements." Using a more liberal standard, the Post documents 492 “false or misleading claims” during Trump’s first 100 days in office—an average of nearly five per day.

[2] You’ll note that many of these references are to the Washington Post. That’s because investigative work into the Trump Foundation is largely the work of one man, David Farenthold, of the Post. Contrast that with investigative reporting on the Clinton Foundation, examined by a slew of reporters, each apparently competing to be the reporter who brings down the Clinton dynasty.

[3] While $34,995 may sound like a lot, the “list price” of the Trump Gold Elite package was $49,415. So enrollees got a 29 percent discount.

[4] Incidentally, those familiar with Clinton’s willingness to work with her political foes should be unfazed by her speeches at Wall Street firms. Given her approach to politics, which involves interaction with all parties, it seems unlikely that she would have thought much about accepting invitations to speak at these venues. Her actual policy proposals vis-à-vis the financial sector are no less “anti-Wall Street” than Bernie Sanders’ proposals, and they are endorsed by Elizabeth Warren. She did, of course, accept large amounts of money for these speeches. Although perhaps not saintly, this was human: humans normally accept the money that’s offered them.

[5] Substantive matters can be dicey for news outlets to cover for at least two reasons: (1) as noted above, such coverage doesn’t attract many viewers; (2) if reality, as Paul Krugman argues, “has a liberal bias,” straight reporting on issues and policy should, over time, get the media in trouble with some of the less reality-based segments of the body politic.

[6] In the words of Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Finkenauer, and Vohs, “events that are negatively valenced (e.g., losing money, being abandoned by friends, and receiving criticism) will have a greater impact on the individual than positively valenced events of the same type (e.g., winning money, gaining friends, and receiving praise).”

[7] This is not to say that Clinton was ideal in all ways. She has, of course, taken consistently hawkish positions on foreign policy, voting to authorize the use of force in Iraq, regularly supporting Israel in its oppression of and violence toward Palestinians, strongly advocating the NATO intervention in Libya, and proposing a no-fly zone over Syria, a move that some retired U.S. military personnel criticized as creating the potential for a military confrontation with Russia.

[8] The math is simple. Electoral outcomes are determined by relative shares of the vote received by candidates—that is, by the percentages of the vote candidates receive relative to each other. Percentages are fractions, which have numerators and denominators. A vote that did not go for Clinton decreased the denominator of the fraction used to determine Trump’s share of the vote. It thereby raised Trump’s share, moving him toward victory. So, if you’re a progressive who chose not to vote for Clinton because you felt she was insufficiently progressive or an “establishment” candidate or somehow “corrupt” because of the email and/or Clinton Foundation “scandals,” by basic arithmetic, you voted for Trump.

[9] Sean McElwee, Matt McDermott, and Will Jordan outline four pieces of evidence in Vox. Many have thought that the many polls conducted during the presidential race pointing to an almost certain Clinton victory proved inaccurate. In fact, in some of the key swing states in which Trump surprisingly won, few polls were conducted between the release of Comey’s letter on October 28th and the election. With regard to absentee voting, in Rhode Island, for example, Clinton won 60 percent of the vote among absentee voters, approximately the same as Obama, who won 61 percent in 2012. By Election Day, however, Clinton’s support had dropped to 54 percent, a net decline of 13 points. By contrast, Obama’s share increased, by about 5 percent, by Election Day. And in Florida, where early voting is permitted, Clinton won the early vote 52 to 48 percent, but Trump won the Election Day two-party vote 56 to 44 percent.

​Also, note that, according to projections of Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight model, Clinton’s lead in the national vote went from 5.9 percent at 12:01 a.m. on October 28th to 2.9 percent a week later, a shift of about 3 percent. Given Clinton’s underperformance in swing states relative to the country as a whole, the resurrection of the email issue could well have provoked just enough undecided voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to break toward Trump, securing for Trump an electoral college victory. Indeed, Silver concludes that “Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28.” 

​It should also be noted that, as befits investigations into Clinton’s dark underside, the tone of news coverage shifted sharply against Clinton after October 28th:

[Diagram J]

(These data come from the Shorenstein Center; the diagram appears to have been constructed by Vox.)

During most of the final ten days of the campaign, voters knew only that the email investigation had been reopened, leaving them little to do with the information other than assume the worst. Only when Comey issued his letter exonerating Clinton, on November 6th—two days before the election—did the email issue recede from the headlines. Clinton’s exoneration did not dominate headlines persistently in what remained of the campaign. By contrast, between October 28th and November 6th, dark speculations about what Clinton’s newfound emails could reveal did.

Nate Silver notes that, according to the Memeorandum, a news aggregator site that tracks which stories dominate the mainstream news media, “the Comey letter was the lead story on six out of seven mornings from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, pausing only for a half-day stretch when Mother Jones and Slate published stories alleging ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.” The New York Times exemplified this trend, running—according to researchers at Microsoft—as many front-page stories on Clinton’s emails in the final week of the campaign as it ran about the candidates’ policy proposals in the last few months of the campaign. (Cited by Jane Mayer.)

Broadening the Frame by Matt Carlson