I read today’s (12/9/2016) bombshell news in the Washington Post https://goo.gl/HCH4Ql about the CIA’s assessment that Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, intervened in the US elections to try to help Donald Trump and after taking that in for a few minutes, I had an amusing thought. What if the reverse had happened? What would that be like now?
It’s funny to me because as a Liberal/Democratic pundit, I have for years faced off on camera against Republican pundits over every over-engineered scandal they have tried to manufacture against President Obama, Hillary, and other Democrats. Republicans are experts at making mountains out of ant hills (or out of nothing at all) never mind mole hills. What would they do if presented instead with an actual mountain, to continue the metaphor, as we have now?
If Putin had sent GRU, SVR and other Intelligence Service descendants of the KGB out to do whatever they could do to help Hillary as it seems he has done to help Trump and after she won evidence of that came out as it has now, the outcry from Republicans and their friends in the conservative segments of the media would be deafening.
Republicans in the House would already be drafting articles of impeachment, Rush Limbaugh would spend three quarters of every one of his daily three hour shows talking about it. Every Republican elected official from county executives to mayors all the way up to congressmen and senators would be going in front of cameras saying Hillary is disqualified as a President and she should say she will not take the oath of office and that the electors should vote for the other candidate. My conservative pundit friends would be analyzing the scandal from every possible angle during every segment of every show on conservative networks.
This news is big stuff. A militarily strong foreign power that has been behaving antagonistically towards the United States for the last 3-5 years has meddled in our Presidential elections to try to get their preferred candidate elected and that candidate won. Who is to say what effect that meddling had? A mere 80,000 votes spread out over three states, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, determined the outcome. That’s not a lot of votes at all. Did the role the Russian’s played in WikiLeaks, hacking, and publicizing the DNC’s emails and other efforts to make Hillary and the Democrats look bad influence things enough to turn 80,000 votes in those states?
That is a question that everyone should be thinking about because 80,000 votes spread out over three states can change if a candidate trips while walking up the stairs or other similar trivial campaign occurrences. It is a very small percentage of the vote totals. Virtually anything that happens during a campaign can move the vote totals by that much. So, I would argue yes, the meddling by Putin did play a factor in Trump’s victory.
It gets better. The Washington Post reported that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, the highest ranking Republican elected official at the time, threatened the Obama administration that if they released the information about Putin’s efforts to meddle in the election before election day, he would come out and call the Obama administrations statements “an act of partisan politics”. McConnell, in effect, worked to deny the American public a vital piece of knowledge they should have had in making their decision for whom to vote.
The other question that should be on everyone’s mind is, why does Putin want Trump to win. What advantage does Putin think he gets from that and why? I have many issues with Putin and the things he does and says. What I would never say is that Putin is stupid. He is a very smart guy. The actions he takes are very deliberate and he has a clear objective in mind when he takes them and he considers all possible consequences and factors them in. Meddling in our election is a very risky thing to do. First one must consider what might happen if his meddling is discovered before the election. Second, what if it is discovered and his chosen candidate loses. What kind of relationship would he have with the new President?
Whatever Putin thinks he gains from a Trump Presidency he believes is worth all those risks. That fact should greatly concern every American.
I will be very interested to see the response to this from grassroots, and elected politicians and pundits from all parts of the political spectrum. I know what the reaction would be like if the situation was reversed.