At this point, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and several lesser organs of the Media Titans That Were are fluttering their panties over allegations that the Russian government may have somehow influenced the presidential election. It’s been a topic of discussion on nearly all the talking-head shows. Chuck Todd seems particularly determined to push the notion. Yet there’s an element missing from this foofaurauw – so big and so conspicuously missing that I can’t imagine why no one has yet inquired about it.
There’s no evidence that any such thing occurred.
There are only two ways any entity, however constituted, could influence the outcome of an American election:
- By influencing the opinions of voters before they cast their ballots;
- By altering the vote tallies after the votes had been cast.
Case 1: Were the Russians straining to influence American popular opinion? If so, how? What news organs were induced to carry Russian propaganda to any such effect? Is there a “backtrail” we can trace from any particular story to a Russian source? And if so, in which direction did the story exert influence?
Case 2: Is there hard evidence of hacking that affected the vote tallies? Not some media organ, however prestigious, alleging that it may have happened, but actual digital footprints that indicate that someone meddled with the works? If so, where is it? Why hasn’t it been confirmed by a reliable assessor of such things? And once again: in which direction did the hackers exert influence?
We have incontrovertible proof of voting irregularities: non-citizens voting; absentee ballots filled out and mailed in by persons other than those entitled to them; undercover testimony by Democrat partisans about voters being bused from place to place to vote several times each. We have powerful influence being levered against the electors themselves, straining to get Trump’s electors to change or withhold their votes. What we don’t have is any hard evidence of interference in the election by non-American actors.
So what’s all the shouting about?
Could it be merely the accumulated chagrin of the Establishment, whether it wears a D or an R after its name, that interloper Donald Trump will really, truly interrupt their Reign of Error over these United States? Remember how many Republican mandarins and conservative luminaries said they’d prefer Clinton to Trump – and remember how confident they were that Trump would be defeated by a landslide.
I had my reservations about Trump, too. But I held my nose and voted for him. I was persuaded that his character defects, whether real or imagined – and I make no pretense to the contrary; I believed them to be real and serious – could be curbed by his advisors once he takes office.
Yet many pillars of the Establishment, both within the political orbit and among the major media, are straining to persuade us that what really mattered wasn’t how Americans voted, but how some extra-national villain contrived to influence things. Do they have a case?
If they do, I’m very anxious to see it.