Published on August 31st, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan
How To Hack A US Presidential Election
I get a lot of press releases emailed my way. One flew in this week regarding how easy/difficult it is to hack a presidential election. I didn’t spend time on it since it didn’t seem like a story for us and this election seems like one where election-day cheating is least likely to matter, but it did trigger the idea for this article, because the US presidential election has already been hacked, in my humble opinion.
Ironically, the election has been hacked in favor of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump himself.
Many CleanTechnica and Planetsave readers have long been obsessed with watching the latest cleantech news. It’s a daily habit — check the latest progress and analysis on clean technologies like electric cars, wind energy, solar energy, and battery storage. However, another daily habit has kicked in and often even taken time away from the cleantech obsession — checking into political websites and news programs to witness the latest craziness to come out of Donald Trump’s mouth and Twitter fingers.
On the one hand, it’s certainly a bit scary, but on the other hand, it is hilarious. It is so crazy — yet real — that it is often funnier than any satirical comedy. One brilliant suggestion was recently put forward by John Oliver that would make Trump seem more like a genius sage than … well, whatever he seems like so far (I’ll let you give that a name). It would be an excellent lesson for society, a sobering one that could possibly effect real change. Have a watch (warning: language some people are offended by is used in this segment):
But that’s not going to happen.
The fact is, to some degree, Trump has been serious about this campaign effort and many of the ridiculous things he has said. People can see that well enough, and the results are looking pretty clear — The Donald has hacked his own election chances.
Here’s how the election is likely to turn out based on a wide variety of polls taken across the USA:
Screenshot from FiveThirtyEight
These results are based on many things, and I’m sure that includes the fact that Trump has never held a publicly elected position in government and is seen as one of the most unqualified people in history to win a major US political party’s nomination for president. However, in the interest in helping others who want to hack their own election chances in the future, I’ll run down a list of beauties that seem unreal but were 1) actual statements or claims made by The Donald or 2) things he has done, starting out with ones about energy and the environment since that’s our focus. This is not even close to an exhaustive list, of course, but here’s what I’ve rounded up:
- He claimed that global warming is a hoax “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
- He claimed that wind and solar are very expensive (as you know, they’re actually very cheap).
- (Note that Trump has demonstrated a history of dislike for wind energy, and has made crazy claims about it for years.)
- He insinuated that solar energy has something like an 18-year payback time (it often actually has a much faster payback time for rooftop solar and a much, much, much faster payback time for utility-scale solar power plants).
- (Note: In 2012, Trump claimed on Fox News that solar has a 32-year payback. He also said, “You look at the windmills that are destroying shorelines all over the world. Economically, they’re not good. It’s a very, very poor form of energy.”)
- He also simply said that solar energy is “not working so good.”
- He ridiculously claimed, “The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”
— American Wind Energy (@AWEA) August 2, 2016
- He claimed in May that “The administration fast-tracked wind projects that kill more than 1 million birds a year.”
- He pledged to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, which is an agreement between 195 countries.
- He has claimed he and his team would “put our coal miners and steel workers back to work” (even though coal power is absolutely uncompetitive).
- He has claimed that he would allow oil & gas drilling on federal lands.
- He tweeted, “If I Am Elected President I Will Immediately Approve The Keystone XL Pipeline. No Impact On Environment & Lots Of Jobs For U.S.”
- He compared wind power to oil and ethanol, even though wind power is for electricity and oil & ethanol are basically for transportation fuel. (LOL)
- He called Obama the founder of ISIS and Hillary Clinton the co-founder. (Then he said he was only joking, and then he said, no, he wasn’t.)
- He has said he would intentionally kill family members of terrorists (i.e., commit horrible war crimes) in the fight against ISIS.
- He stated during a presidential debate, “I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
- He made Steve Bannon his campaign CEO.
- He said an Indiana-born judge shouldn’t be allowed to reside over the Trump University case because of his Mexican heritage.
- He said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
- In response to pushback, he reportedly told CNN, “Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don. I mean somebody’s doing it. Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?”
- He suggested that Obama didn’t stop the Orlando terrorist attack because he was sympathetic to ISIS.
- Earlier in the campaign season, he tweeted, “Our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore!”
- Despite not having served in the military, Trump said, “There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”
- He said, “There is a way of beating ISIS so easily, so quickly, so effectively, and it would be so nice…. I know a way that would absolutely give us guaranteed victory … The problem is then everybody will take the idea, run with it and then people will forget where it came from…. I ran it past two or three people. [It’s] so simple. It’s like the paper clip. You know, somebody came up with the idea of the paper clip and made a lot of money and everybody’s saying, ‘Boy, why didn’t I think of that, that was so simple.’ This is so simple, so surgical, it would be an unbelievable thing. Now, I’ve been around saying this, you would think somebody from the administration would at least would call me and say, ‘Hey, could you tell us what it is?’ It happens to be a great idea. But at the right time, I guess I’ll give it.” (He “ran it past two or three people” — hmm, mmkay, I see.)
- He implied that Ted Cruz’s father was linked to the assassination of JFK.
- He tweeted, “According to Bill O’Reilly, 80% of all the shootings in New York City are blacks-if you add Hispanics, that figure goes to 98%. 1% white.” (Oh, that was before the election — never mind.)
- He proudly proclaimed, “And by the way, I can tell you something else. I dealt with Gaddafi. I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn’t let him use the land. That’s what we should be doing. I don’t want to use the word ‘screwed,’ but I screwed him.” (Whoops, that one is from before the election as well, but anyway. …)
- He tweeted and later deleted, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
- He has stated that a Michigan-born Clinton aide could be a “terrorist agent” or “Saudi spy.”
- He claimed that he would get a ridiculous, long, tall, expensive wall built along the border of Mexico … and that Mexico would pay for it.
Across sectors, including defense, even career Republicans have endorse Hillary Clinton because of all the craziness and risk associated with Trump. As just the latest, James Clad, former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President George W. Bush, said, “Our adversaries must never hear flippancy or ignorance in America’s voice. They should never take satisfaction from an incompetent president. Giving an incoherent amateur the keys to the White House this November will doom us to second or third class status.”
Basically, that’s the point for topic after topic. Donald won the GOP nomination (which certainly tells you something), but he has spent most of his campaign hacking his own chances at being elected.
Here are some comments from comedian Lewis Black to more eloquently portray the craziness of it all: “How am I supposed to make this funnier? What is my job now? How do you satirize what is already satiric? … This was the point in time [the moment he was watching Sarah Palin give a speech endorsing Trump, with Trump standing behind her], as far as I’m concerned, where we the American people reached the point where reality and satire finally intersected. That’s it. … This is fiction. We are living in fictional times. … This would be better in a book, if you woke up … and read this in a book, you would say, ha, that’s a great book.”
To close, here’s one more beauty from John Oliver from earlier in the year that delved into Trump and some of his statements: