With primary season heating up -
Hi, Texas, 6 March!
Hi, Illinois, 20 March!
I want to revisit a topic from August--namely, how the Russian interference plays as a campaign issue. In light of last week's indictments of thirteen Russians by Special Counsel Mueller, it's well worth another look.
It started with a piece from Politico just over six months ago. In particular, the following pair of statements:
“Fearful of alienating voters who appear more concerned about the economy and health care, Democrats campaigning in districts across the country are de-emphasizing Russia in their rhetoric — and some are warning that a persistent focus on the Russia investigation could backfire.”
“It’s not just the complicated nature of the Russia probes and their distance from many voters’ immediate concerns, that are leading Democrats to question the value of the issue on the campaign trail. Most voters who consider Russia a significant issue will tie the controversy to Trump, not members of Congress[.]”1
The suggestion that Americans, especially those of us who vote, don't care about the #GopRussia issue? I believe that's all wrong. The problem is that you have to talk about it the right way. Framed properly, this should absolutely be a serious campaign issue for Democrats.
So let's all learn to frame it properly. It's not about relitigating the election; it's about national security. It's about corruption and influence peddling. It's about the need to know that our elected officials are working for us, not to benefit themselves. It's about protecting our standing on the world stage, our national sovereignty, and our democratic institutions.
Consider this in concert with the most recent developments from the Mueller probe.
“The Russian nationals were accused of working with the Internet Research Agency, which had a budget of millions of dollars and was designed to reach millions of Americans. The defendants were charged with carrying out a massive fraud against the American government and conspiring to obstruct enforcement of federal laws.”
“Russian computer specialists, divided into day and night teams, created hundreds of social media accounts that eventually attracted hundreds of thousands of online followers. They posed as Christian activists, anti-immigration groups[,] and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. One account posed as the Tennessee Republican Party and generated hundreds of thousands of followers[.]”2
If you can't tie that into a neat little campaign-colored bow, you are doing it wrong. It's not the ONLY issue, of course, but it IS an issue. Don't back off. As voters, we cannot LET THEM back away from this.
Yes, press them on the issues that affect your daily life. Because that's the job. Anyone who says they aren't concerned doesn't DESERVE our confidence or our vote. They aren't QUALIFIED for the job.
But then? Follow up with a DEMAND to know their stance on Russian interference in our elections and our government. That's OUR job as voters.
Paying attention is a political act. Pay attention. Be political. Stay frosty out there.
1“Democrats fear Russia probe blowback.” David Siders. Politico. 5 August 2017. https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/05/democrats-trump-russia-blowback-241346
2“13 Russians Indicted as Mueller Reveals Effort to Aid Trump Campaign.” Matt Apuzzo & Sharon LaFraniere. The New York Times. 16 February 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/politics/russians-indicted-mueller-election-interference.html
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