Donald Trump had no concerns about Russia interfering in the 2016 US presidential election. In fact, he brazenly encouraged it: “Russia, if you are listening, I hope that you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing,” as quoted by Vanity Fair on July 27, 2016.
Of course, Russia not only found them; it coordinated with Trump’s campaign to weaponize them. More to the point, he knows Russia’s interference helped him win.
This is why Trump has no interest in signing any legislation that would thwart Russia’s ongoing interference. And Republicans have become so corrupted by and vested in his presidency, they are effectively encouraging it, too.
From ABC News, July 25, 2019: “One day after former special counsel Robert Mueller issued a stark warning that the Russians are actively seeking to interfere once again in the U.S. elections and called for aggressive deterrence measures, Senate Democrats sought passage of multiple election security bills only to be stopped by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for a second time this week.”
To be fair, quite apart from Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell has demonstrated time and again that he will do anything to gain and retain political power. And, if that means acting like a latterday Benedict Arnold or the grand wizard of the KKK, so be it.
I probably said enough about him in a column entitled, “McConnell Rebuking Warren Is about Racism and Sexism, Not Senate Decorum,” poste February 9, 2017. Here’s an excerpt:
The U.S. Senate is generally recognized as the world’s most-deliberative body. Therefore, imagine what this rebuke portends for political debate.
[McConnell ruled Senator Elizabeth Warren out of order for reading a letter from the wife of America’s most revered civil rights martyr, MLK]. McConnell’s own record of public service should have given him pause. For it is such that he could also have been motivated as much by a racist attempt to put the Black civil rights matriarch ‘in her place’ as by a sexist attempt to put this White progressive ‘president-in-waiting’ in hers.
Whatever the case, this is easily the most ill-fated rebuke (a Republican homage to Black History Month?) since Alabama Governor George Wallace intoned the following in 1963:
Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!
But if you’re surprised by this fateful racial symmetry, you don’t know Mitch. After all, I had just cause to analogize him to Wallace just last year. Recall that he famously stood in the way of Obama’s Supreme Court nominee even getting a hearing in a vain attempt to block this first Black president from appointing a legacy-affirming third justice. [This was pursuant to his infamous vow to make Obama a failed president.]
Meanwhile, nothing damns McConnell in this instance quite like four White male senators rising mere hours after Warren to read that same letter with nary a word of censure, let alone a formal rebuke.
GOP rides with Trump
President Trump continually dismisses all evidence showing how Russia cyberattacked the 2016 presidential election as a hoax. Republicans regard this as his de facto order to block any legislation aimed at countering such cyberattacks. But this is just the latest confirming instance of their complicity in Trump’s lies, high crimes, and misdemeanors.
Frankly, Republicans have become fatefully focused on riding his coattails. They cannot see that their failure to support veto-proof election security legislation could encourage other countries (like Iran and China) to do to Trump and them in 2020 what Russia did to Hillary and Democrats in 2016.
But their betrayal shows why too many are missing the forest for one old oak tree. We rightly decry Trump’s norm-busting behavior. But it behooves us to also decry the way Republicans – from self-righteous evangelicals to fiscal conservatives – are continually betraying their values to justify it; that is, when they are not enabling it.
And most ominous of all is their willful betrayal of the constitutional imperative of compromise – the glue that binds all democracies. The United States seems hellbent on becoming a nation divided against itself, despite Abraham Lincoln’s proverbial admonition.
Impeachment and voting
Hope lies not only in impeaching Trump, but also in voting for the Democratic candidate in every federal, state, and local election next year. The Republican Party has become so venal and immoral under his leadership that it needs to be rebuked and punished every bit as much as Trump.
Indeed, nothing has defined Trump’s Orwellian presidency quite like the willingness of Republicans to show loyalty to him – allegiance to, and the welfare of, the country be damned.
I urged this radical action for redemption and restoration ahead of the midterms. Democrats took back the House, but those elections did not provide the restoration hoped for. So for America’s sake, here’s to completing the job in the 2020 general elections.