Charles Blow Nails Donald Trump on Russian Hacks
In a pre-christmas Op-Ed, the Times' resident conservative David Brooks said of Charles Blow "I think of Charles as the leader of the resistance." He must be taking the role seriously because while the rest of us are still bathing in the rousing afterglow of Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech, Blow is right back to business with the Russian hacks in Monday's column, reminding us that with foreign interference, "Donald Trump’s victory and his imminent presidency are already tainted beyond redemption."
Lest any of us confuse what year we're in (isn't the Cold War over?) or whether perhaps history, like the movie industry, loves a reboot, Blow reminds us that "A hostile foreign power stole confidential correspondence from American citizens—this is no different than physically breaking into an American office and carting off boxes of written letters—and funneled that stolen material to a willing conspirator, Julian Assange. The foreign power then had its desired result achieved on our Election Day."
The intelligence report that Trump spent weeks trashing on Twitter, because that's a hell of a lot easier than reading it, doesn't mince words: “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump." This means, as Blow writes, "Donald Trump is as much Russia’s appointment as our elected executive. The legacy of his political ascendance will be written in Cyrillic and affixed with an asterisk."
Blow admits that the Hillary campaign didn't come out of the hacks spotless, but most of the disturbing reports were the usual "unappetizing process by which the sausage is made," a process that has even less of a chance to be reformed with our upcoming demogogue in chief.
The election was indeed rigged, but not by the racist dogwhistle accusations of voter fraud, but by the systematic and strategic removal of the Voting Rights Act, a partisan FBI director, and the interference of a foreign power with a clear preference for the outcome. It doesn't matter whether or not actual voting machines were tampered with. The barriers to entry and the propaganda-hacked minds caused "the American people [to] cast their ballots in the fog of fake news and under influence of stolen property weaponized as a tool of propaganda." Brainwashing doesn't leave the same physical evidence as stealing, but Blow never fails to remind us, "Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin’s American 'president'—clearly his preference and possibly his product."