It’s fitting. Russia meddled in our election to get Trump elected, so why not show their love for the man they chose as our next president with a coin showing Trump’s image and the words, “In Trump We Trust” engraved on it?
News that the Russians, which means Vladimir Putin, wanted Donald Trump to win the election shouldn’t surprise anyone. They’ve clearly sized him up and see him as the friend that he will turn out to be. They also are taking him seriously when he says that he will support torture and doesn’t care much for getting the United States involved in other country’s affairs. That Trump will help the Russians in Syria is merely icing on the babka. Trump hasn’t a clue as to how to conduct foreign policy and Putin knows that.
But I’m not willing to follow others who say that the Russian effort turned the election. After all, if the point was to get more people to vote for Trump, then the Russians failed miserably, as Hillary Clinton’s 2.7 million vote majority will attest. And it would be a real stretch to conclude that the Russian hackers focused on blue-collar, high-school-educated, former Obama voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania because that’s where Trump won the election. Were those voters especially susceptible to fake news? Perhaps some of them went into the last week of the election and weighed the candidate’s positions on jobs and, with the Comey letter, concluded that Hillary was not the person to solve the problem. Let’s not forget that Clinton ran a bad campaign, taking Michigan for granted in the final weeks when the lesson of Bernie Sanders’ shocking performance (or maybe not really shocking) in the primaries should have alerted her team to the potential for an upset.
The real problem with the hacking is that Donald Trump encouraged it as a candidate, and then dismissed it and the professionals who will be advising him once it threatened his fragile hold on his self-esteem. We are now going to be led for the next four years by a classic bully, one who is unsure of himself so he couches his responses in anger, dismissal, disparagement and unthinking emotional outbursts rather than reason and analysis. He’s already shown that when he’s attacked, he goes into survival mode and lives on twitter. As someone who lived through Chris Christie for eight years, I can tell you that this isn’t going to end well.
This strategy has worked to a limited degree when Trump goes after companies that make plans to build plants in Mexico, but it failed miserably with the hacking issue, and it probably won’t serve him as well as he thinks once he takes office (shudder). Eventually, Trump is going to realize that Americans want their president to act a certain way, and tweeting your fears every morning won’t substitute for policy.
In a recent interview on MSNBC, Russia expert Nina Khrushcheva spoke about the recent flattering letter Vladimir Putin sent to Donald Trump where Putin praised Trump causing the self-centered president-elect to conclude heartedly that Putin’s letter was “so correct.”
“I was just in Moscow and the Russians are saying ‘Look at those fools, look at their democracy.’ Absolutely,” she said. “‘How could America lecture us on any development, institutions, human rights, democracy, rhetoric when they just elected Donald Trump. He’s such a fool. He’s such a bully,” she continued. “That’s what America deserves and we’re going to take advantage of it.’ And that’s how Russians feel about it, and now it’s taking shape with letters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump with their exchange on potential nuclear armament and whatnot.”
Intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance weighed in on the Russian hack and their interference in our presidential election.
“I don’t think there will be any accountability with the regards of the Russian hacking against the DNC or even violating the entirety of the U.S. electoral process. He has benefited from that,” Nance said. “He’s going to shut down any investigation if it implicates him or his campaign.”
Of course, Trump was talking about Russia’s hacking being a “big problem” when said hacking was not helping his cause. When said hacking gave him the presidency however, Trump had nothing but good things to say about Russia.
On Fox News in 2014, however, Trump was quick to agree with a similar assessment by FBI director James Comey about hacking by China, and also raised the threat from Russia.
“I think that’s great, I think what he said is fantastic,” Trump said, referring to comments Comey had made on “60 Minutes.”
“I’ve been talking about China for a long time,” Trump continued. “You know, they put on the front like, we’re your friend and everything, and in the meantime the cash comes out of your back pocket. It’s disgraceful what’s going on with China generally.” “No, I think he’s 100% right, it’s a big problem, and we have that problem also with Russia. You saw that over the weekend. Russia’s doing the same thing,” he added.
I think what’s sustaining me, and alternatively giving me strength, is the knowledge that the United States is not going to become a second-rate nation and that our form of government is not being irrevocably damaged by the Russians, Wikileaks, right wing white nationalists or Donald Trump’s cabinet nominations. No, we cannot let these entities knock us off center or dissuade us from our message as a nation. We alone can lend legitimacy and commitment to democratic republicanism throughout the world, and we alone can fix our internal problems. If anything, the election and its aftermath must make those of us in the majority of voters who rejected the hateful, negative, xenophobic, blame-filled rhetoric of the Trump campaign more committed to the good fight, more convinced that we have history on our side, and more vocal in the coming years to speak truth to power.
OK, we can put our gloved fists down now. On second thought, keep them up.
The right wing ideologues who will run our government come January 20 will certainly do some damage to the environment, to the middle class, to those who need society’s protection from the ravages of a less caring government, and to our commitment to freedom and equality. But it is incumbent upon those of us who see the country’s mission as different to make our wishes known, to take to the streets if necessary and to monitor every move, covert and otherwise, that the new administration makes. And that includes filibusters, lawsuits, social media and nonviolent protests whenever we deem it necessary.
Remember that Donald Trump ran a terrible campaign, has no clue as to how to be a competent president, and that he has nominated people who don’t like government to, well, run the government. There will be some shockingly embarrassing moments in the next year alone, much less the next four, and we need to exploit them at every turn. Do not be hesitant. Do not be silent. Do not do the Democratic, left-wing thing where we say that we don’t want to be strident or uncompromising because that’s what Republicans do. Be difficult. Call out the perpetrators whenever possible. Take charge.
That’s the only way to fight against a group that has no shame when it comes to power grabs, fake news, and outrageously false accusations. We are the majority and we have to act like one.
Have a great holiday season. I’ll be back in 2017.
In a radio interview with NPR, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, made it clear that Russia’s involvement in the United States election process will not go without a direct response from the United States.
“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections, we need to take actions and we will.”
“At a time and a place of our choosing. Some of it my be explicit and publicised, some of it may not be. Mr Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it.”
Russia continues to deny any involvement with Donald Trump’s mysterious presidential election win a little over 1 month ago, despite their earlier announcements by high government officials that Russia was in direct contact with the Trump campaign. The CIA maintains that there are strong evidence to prove Russia hacked into the election, and that Putin was personally involved.
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.