The greatest trick the Trumpists ever pulled was to equate the innuendo of crime with actual crime. It started when Donald Trump was able to falsely equate Hillary’s emails with Trump’s Access Hollywood tape. One hour after the tape dropped, around 5 p.m. that Oct. 7, Julian Assange started dumping emails that Russian intelligence services had hacked from Clinton’s campaign onto WikiLeaks for the world to see. The idea was simple: distract, obfuscate, and confuse.
And it worked. It worked very, very well. It was the cornerstone of an empire of conspiracies and lies, the birth of a cottage industry of far-right hucksters who put the “con” in conspiracy.
“But her emails” became such a common refrain it rose to the highest level of internet content: the meme. Sure, Trump had bragged about sexually assaulting women, but have you seen John Podesta’s risotto recipe?