For the last two and half years, the American public has been hearing nonstop about Trump-Russia collusion and Russian meddling in the 2016 election. As time goes on and more facts come to light, it is becoming more and more apparent that the entire Russia thing—collusion, meddling, everything—is one massive hoax.
Trump-Russia-collusion was, of course, discovered—no matter what the Democrats say—to be a nothing-burger. But the left at least had Russian meddling to explain away their humiliating 2016 election loss. For a while, this seemed credible given the various reports.
There was the hyped January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) stating that President Vladimir Putin directly interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency. There were the reports of the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server, and the release of embarrassing Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks. There was the Special Counsel Robert Mueller report stating that “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
Even some establishment Republican leaders have regularly talked about extensive Russian interference in the election. But even the meddling theory is suspect now. Relentless sleuthing by investigative journalists on the right (and some on the left) has rightly put question marks on all the above reports. There are too many holes in the Russian meddling theory and too many things that don’t add up.
A recent RealClear Investigations report lays out all the ways in which the Mueller report itself undercuts the Russian meddling theory. In reality, it looks like the actual Russian meddling was not a sophisticated or far-reaching operation but amounted to Amateur City—$100,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased between 2015 and 2017, and a Russian-funded organization IRA (Internet Research Agency, LLC) that organized rallies in the United States posing as grassroots activists. The latter was not found to have direct links to the Russian government and, according to The Daily Beast, the rallies were too thinly attended to be really effective.
All of this was blown into crazy proportions by the left and the media establishment to suit their agendas and narratives. Let’s face it: Russia was the ultimate pacifier, and a convenient, all-purpose boogeyman for the left, the national media, and some establishment Republicans to explain the inexplicable: Donald Trump’s election win.
Scapegoating Started On Day One
As we now know from the book, “Shattered” by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, the blame-shifting and scapegoating began the day after Election Day in 2016:
Within 24 hours of her (Hillary Clinton) concession speech, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.
The important question now, though, is about the looming 2020 election. No matter what the polls say about a generic Democrat winning against Trump, the odds favor Trump. Trump could, of course, still lose, but a strong economy and increasingly extreme positions from the Democratic presidential wannabes seem to predict a Trump win.
In this scenario, one can only imagine the hysteria and chest-beating on the left if Trump wins again. One is also justifiably apprehensive about the possible violence from Antifa-types if their side loses again.
But what Trump voters and the right have to prepare for is the next conspiracy theory that will ensue if Trump wins. You can bet that the gears are whirring, and the conspiracy factory is busy, behind the scenes, cooking the next elaborate scheme that undermines and sabotages a possible Trump victory. You can bet that the next “Russia hoax” is in its incipient stages, ready to roll out in the case of a Trump win to placate and poison the minds of millions of Democratic and independent voters.
Plenty of Time to Cook Up a New Hoax
The advantage they will have this time around is ample time and preparedness. The fact is, in 2016, the Russia-hoaxers were, in some ways, caught flat-footed by Trump’s rise and win. They so believed their flawed predictions that Hillary Clinton would win that their “insurance policy” was, in essence, an incompetent, not-completely-thought-through operation.
But if there is another hoax on the horizon after 2020, chances are that it could be more efficient and might escape detection and hence demands vigilance from the right. One hopes for the country’s sake that all the above doesn’t turn into reality, but the events of the last three years don’t portend well for the smooth workings of democracy and the peaceful transition of power.
The Democratic Party is in a pitiable state today, and I say this as a former Democrat. It is full of division, identity politics, and internecine conflicts. A hefty share of the blame ought to be placed at the feet of the mainstream media, which has been the constant aider and abettor of the Democratic Party.
As someone who tries to step back from the daily noise and look at the big picture, I confess I’m deeply troubled by the Democratic Party’s swift, almost nihilistic turn after Trump’s win. For them, or at least for their far-left wing, this is an all-out war, with no rules anymore. Unfortunately for the country, Democrats’ response to their 2016 loss and to Trump’s rhetorical norm-breaking has been to go into full-scale, actual norm-breaking, something we saw amply during the Kavanaugh hearings, for one.
The net result of the Russian hoax was, of course, to unfairly tar Trump as an illegitimate president, and to deny him the credit of having won a hard-fought election. But the big disservice was, strangely enough, to the Democratic Party itself: the Russia scapegoating was self-denial on steroids and prevented the party from some honest soul-searching, regrouping, and recalibrating.
They’ve learned nothing, so that’s why there is the danger of some version of a new hoax coming to haunt us after the 2020 election. All those who care about our republic and the fair workings of democracy have to be vigilant and look out for the next hoax, and shoot it down from the beginning.