Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton (Credit: Reuters/Dominick Reuter/Brian Snyder/Photo montage by Salon)
Republican Donald Trump, a far-right demagogue who campaigned on a slew of bigoted, xenophobic policies, has won the 2016 presidential election in a shocking victory few people predicted.
What was not often acknowledged in Trump’s heated race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, however, was how her campaign fueled his rise to power.
An email recently released by the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks shows how the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party bear direct responsibility for propelling the bigoted billionaire to the White House.
In its self-described “pied piper” strategy, the Clinton campaign proposed intentionally cultivating extreme right-wing presidential candidates, hoping to turn them into the new “mainstream of the Republican Party” in order to try to increase Clinton’s chances of winning.
The Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee called for using far-right candidates “as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right.” Clinton’s camp insisted that Trump and other extremists should be “elevated” to “leaders of the pack” and media outlets should be told to “take them seriously.”
The strategy backfired — royally. On April 23, 2015, two weeks after Hillary Clinton officially declared her presidential campaign, her staff sent out a group message with information for a “strategy call.” The email included as an attachment a “memo for the DNC discussion.”
The memo, which was addressed to the Democratic National Committee, outlined “the strategy and goals a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign would have regarding the 2016 Republican presidential field.”
The document stated, “Clearly most of what is contained in this memo is work the DNC is already doing. This exercise is intended to put those ideas to paper.”
It continued, “Our hope is that the goal of a potential HRC campaign and the DNC would be one-in-the-same: to make whomever the Republicans nominate unpalatable to a majority of the electorate.”
The memo articulated a three-point strategy. Point 1 called for forcing “all Republican candidates to lock themselves into extreme conservative positions that will hurt them in a general election.”