25 July 2016

The Siberian candidate? (updated)

This election just keeps getting weirder.  Trump's admiration for brutal foreign dictators in general and for Vladimir Putin in particular has long been a matter of concern.  But today's events suggest there may be more to it than just admiration.

Everyone who's looked into it seems to agree that the big public dump of hacked DNC e-mails was an act of the Russian regime -- and Trump himself appeared to endorse this view late today.  The Russian intent seems to have been to make it harder for Bernie Sanders's supporters to reconcile themselves to Hillary's candidacy, something that would weaken her against Trump.  That is, the Putin regime dared to interfere in the US election process in an effort to help Trump win.

Such blatant foreign intervention in a US election would be, as far as I know, unprecedented.  But the motive isn't hard to see.  Trump not only admires Putin but has advocated weakening the US commitment to its NATO allies in Europe and support for Ukraine's self-defense -- a course which would leave Europe far more vulnerable to the expansion of Russian influence.  And now some observers are reporting that Trump may even be financially beholden to Russia and thus himself under Russian influence.  This posting by anti-Trump conservative writer Max Twain sets forth the case succinctly (with some obligatory Hillary-bashing thrown in); for more detail, see this post at TPM (found via Progressive Eruptions).  Sarah Jones argues that Putin may fear Hillary as President, with good reason, creating an additional motive for interference.

As always, we need to be cautious about early reports which may turn out to be wrong or exaggerated.  But if all this is substantiated, it looks like a game-changer.  Aren't Trump's most vocal supporters the exact kind of people who would be most repelled by the thought of a foreign government having too much influence over a US President?  Some of them, of course, will just refuse to believe anything negative about Trump regardless of the evidence.  But not all of them.

Update:  US intelligence now has "high confidence" that the Russian government was behind the DNC e-mail hack -- and Obama points out that "on a regular basis, they try to influence elections in Europe".  Green Eagle points out how high the stakes could be.


Blogger Paul Wartenberg said...

You'll never be able to convince the die-hards on both the Left (who want their Progressive Utopia even if it means the Hell of a Trump presidency) and the Right (who dare not break their orthodoxy mind-set) about any truth behind Putin's involvement here (which is proving more likely as the FBI digs into the evidence).

What we can hope for is that the remnants of the mainstream media - NY Times, Washington Post, the major cable channels (sans Fox Not-News, which will likely claim this is all a Hillary plot) - report on this as a genuine news-worthy scandal, and we can hope it wakes the hell up for the moderate/undecided voters who can recognize at the simplest level that having a bastard like Putin puppeteering Trump means keeping Trump out of the White House.

26 July, 2016 04:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Paul: That's just the thing. Hard-core ideologists are beyond persuasion because their ideology is more real to them than any evidence from the real world (rather like creationists). But they're a fairly small part of any population or movement. Just as the hard-core AfterBerners disrupting our convention represent only a small fraction of the millions of ordinary people who voted for Bernie in the primaries, so the real right-wing ideologists contrast with a lot of ordinary people who are supporting Trump out of habitual Republicanism or because they don't follow politics and haven't heard everything that's out there to hear. In both cases, the former are unreachable but the latter are not. We have to resist thinking of everyone who disagrees with us as implacable aliens.

26 July, 2016 05:17  
Blogger Comrade Misfit said...

35-40% of the voters would vote for Trump if he eviscerated a kitten and held its corpse aloft.

26 July, 2016 13:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

And then they'd say the kitten hated America and was born in Kenya. Luckily, there's the other 60-65% -- and I think the hard core is actually less than 35%.

26 July, 2016 16:21  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

"Aren't Trump's most vocal supporters the exact kind of people who would be most repelled by the thought of a foreign government having too much influence over a US President?"

Unfortunately, Trump's supporters have overlooked everything repellant about his character, so I have no confidence that even if they were to find out he was beholden to Russian financiers or Putin's thugs they would stop supporting him. If they weren't put off by his misogyny, racism, narcissism, and lies, why would that?

26 July, 2016 17:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw: The hard-core ones, no, but that's not all of them. We have to distinguish between things Trump does that are offensive to people other than his supporters -- they don't care about that -- and things that would offend them if they knew. This is why, for example, I've always thought that from the viewpoint of reaching the Trumpanzees it's more effective to point out that Trump employs foreign workers and makes his products overseas than the fact that he's racist, fascist, etc. The latter offends only people they don't care about, but the former points up that his supposed championing of their own interests is a scam. The same goes for the possibility that a foreign government is trying to help him get elected.

27 July, 2016 00:28  

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