Pavlich: Hillary would have lost even if Obama was tougher on Russia

Pavlich: Hillary would have lost even if Obama was tougher on Russia
© Greg Nash

It’s the latest Democratic talking point: Former President Obama knew about Russian meddling and should have done more to stop it.

“You know, big fan of President Obama’s, obviously, but there’s no question that things were going on, that meddling was occurring in the presidential race — and there’s even evidence now to indicate in other races — in a real way,” former Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote Women's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement MORE campaign surrogate Christine Quinn told CNN this week.  “And I think it was a frustration for all of us close to the Clinton campaign towards the end, and after the election, about why ... President Obama didn’t move more quickly and aggressively.”

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Mary Anne Marsh, a former adviser to Democratic presidential candidate John KerryJohn KerryEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions US and Germany launch climate partnership MORE who I often debate on Fox News, has been saying the same for two years.

“The fact is, the Obama administration did too little, too late to deal with the Russian interference in our election. That is a fact,” Marsh said during a recent interview, adding the Trump administration and its allies are also responsible. “The Obama administration did not do enough.”

But while it is true Obama could have and should have done more to stop the Russians on a number of fronts, it is complete fantasy to believe those actions would have somehow changed the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Further, this narrative continues to displace responsibility away from where is belongs: with Clinton.

Obama didn’t take Russia seriously during a 2012 debate with GOP presidential candidate Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMichelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' Aly Raisman defends former teammate Biles: 'I'm proud of her' Mitt Romney praises Simone Biles following withdrawal from team event MORE, when Russian President Vladimir Putin regained a serious foothold in Syria or when Russian forces annexed Crimea. He did, however, take them seriously after Clinton lost — ensuring his legacy would be altered rather than preserved.

Intelligence showed Russian plans to interfere in the presidential election as early as 2015. Obama was briefed repeatedly by a number of U.S. intelligence agencies on the threat and failed to warn the American public.

In fact, Obama admitted there is no way American elections can be rigged and laughed at the suggestion they somehow could be.

“The larger point I want to emphasize here is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even — you could even rig America’s elections, in part, because they are so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved,” Obama said in October 2016 Rose Garden press conference. “There is no evidence that that has happened in the past or that there are instances in which that will happen this time. And so I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.”

That’s precisely what President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE did. He campaigned hard in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania. He came close to winning in Minnesota. By reaching out to rural voters, he flipped more than 100 counties from blue to red. As noted by CNBC, some of those counties turned Republican by more than 30 points. Clinton didn’t put in the work and paid the consequences when she came up short on election night.

We’ve been over this ground before and yet somehow more than a year later the narrative continues to imply the reason Clinton lost was because of Russian interference. She lost because she was a terrible, out-of-touch candidate.

Intelligence officials, including former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperDomestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? 140 national security leaders call for 9/11-style panel to review Jan. 6 attack MORE, have repeatedly confirmed votes were not changed. Facebook executive Rob Goldman confirmed that the majority of Russian propaganda proliferated through online ads were placed after the election, not before.

Finally, and most importantly, Russian meddling wasn’t about changing votes or necessarily favoring one candidate over the other. Instead, the goal was to turn Americans against each other, stoke the fires of searing political issues and impugn the credibility of U.S. democracy. That mission has certainly been accomplished.

Democrats who truly believe that without Russian interference Clinton would have won are in denial about why she lost, just like the former candidate herself.

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.