I laughed when the suggestion was first made that the Russian government was behind the computer hack that revealed Democratic Party emails showing that the party brass, instead of being neutral in the campaign, favoured the candidacy of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
I couldn’t take the allegation seriously that the Russians, acting on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, were actively involving themselves in the US election and that they favoured Donald Trump.
Okay, I could see Putin preferring Trump, but I don’t think he really cares all that much – the US has been pretty ineffectual on the world stage in recent years and I doubt Clinton would have a harder edge than her predecessor. Certainly she’d be more predictable.
However, a number of news stories and commentaries I read did take the allegation seriously. And it probably wasn’t all to deflect the focus from the contents of the leaked emails, which certainly won’t do much for Democratic Party unity.
One analysis suggested that candidate Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns was to avoid the public knowing just how indebted to and intertwined with Russia he actually is. I found that to be an interesting hypothesis.
Then Trump himself added fuel to the fire by calling on Russian intelligence services to try their hand at finding the 30,000 deleted emails that were part of Hillary Clinton’s private email plan. The one that led to an FBI investigation, with a questionable outcome (apparently the FBI misunderstood the law). Leaving aside the idea of foreign attempts to influence the American election (which are usually much less blatant), if the FSB (the former KGB) were to succeed where the FBI failed that would certainly be a major embarrassment for the American government and the Democratic Party. Anyway, if I was to pick a foreign power that would try and meddle in American politics I would think China would be a more likely culprit – as I understand it they do hold a mortgage on the nation.
The Democrats seem lost, or at least that is the impression I have. I seem to be getting regular fundraising requests from the Trump campaign. A few days ago the request was merely a copy of a Clinton fundraising letter talking about how Trump was ahead in the polls. I couldn’t believe any strategist would send out such a statement of weakness from the supposed frontrunner, but online research convinced me it was genuine. Somebody doesn’t know what they are doing, and it isn’t the Trump team.
But I digress. If Donald Trump has an unhealthy relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia, it would appear to be pretty much out in the open now. I doubt the revelation will actually sway any votes. Perhaps it will do the opposite. By setting up such a silly straw man, maybe the Democrats will cause people who would never have considered voting Trump to give him a second look. Or maybe a first one.