The Russian Candidate for America

Rachel Maddow reported that Russia announced a year ago their intent to unleash newly developed cyber warfare techniques on the US that would be equivalent to obtaining the atomic bomb in 1949. Then they began using Twitter “bots” and trolls to undermine our election process and spread propaganda about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. While their information warfare efforts were aimed at attacking US democracy, all of their propaganda supported Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. I’ve never understood how anyone can admit that Russia interfered with our presidential election but can claim it did not change the outcome. Trump lost by 2.8 million votes and had fewer Electoral College votes than 46 out of 58 presidential elections. Only about 160,000 votes in two states would have changed the results. How can anyone know that Russia didn’t make that much difference?

Russia’s tactics were likely motivated in part by Putin’s hatred for Hillary Clinton because of her vocal opposition to Putin and his aggression in the Ukraine. Russia clearly preferred Trump as US president. That alone should be enough for any American to oppose Trump. We know that Russia is not a friend who wants the best for America. Anyone Russia wants to be president, I don’t want. The FBI and NSA are still investigating whether or not any of Trump’s campaign team or his choices for his administration helped Russia in their cyber attacks on America, but whether or not any of them actively colluded with a foreign enemy, some have clearly lied about and tried to cover their involvement with Russia.

We need to support our intelligence agencies’ counter insurgency operations and do all we can to strengthen our democracy and our election process. Voting in free and fair elections is the core of democracy. Anything that hinders citizens from voting weakens democracy. That includes extreme voter ID regulations to prevent nonexistent voter fraud. We need to make it easier to register and vote. We need to have universal voter registration from birth, have national elections on weekends or make election day a national holiday, use independently verifiable computer code and paper backup for any electronic voting to make verification possible, and implement mail-in voting and any other options that make voting as easy as possible for every qualified voter.

We need to eliminate the idea that corporations are people and money is speech. In a democracy, wealth should not equal power. Each person’s vote should carry equal weight. We need to eliminate the Electoral College and institute the best possible form of preferential voting. And we need to eliminate gerrymandering of congressional districts.

We need to educate all citizens in critical thinking and skepticism so they are less vulnerable to propaganda and hucksters. Vague campaign promises are not the same as principles and specific plans. We must never again elect a person who lies consistently and without shame. Trump has lied far more than any other presidential candidate in modern history, and he NEVER takes responsibility for those lies or apologizes for being wrong. We don’t need a president who admires and emulates a Russian dictator and is a blustering, bullying, boasting, bombastic bullshitter. We now have as president what fear, desperation, and gullibility produce in the hands of a con artist.

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