Thursday, April 25, 2019

Did Russia Steal the Presidential Election?

The point is so obvious that I’m sure it’s been made before. I might even have said something about it myself, though I cannot recall.

The issue is this: amid the hue and cry about Russian election meddling, how may people have asked exactly what it is that the Russians were supposed to have done. And whether that constitutes real meddling. Two days ago White House advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner declared that the Mueller investigation and the media screeching about collusion had done more to delegitimize the election than a few Russian Facebook ads.

The point is too obvious to bear repeating. Since it came from Kushner it was widely denounced by the collusion-obsessed media.

Be that as it may, Dartmouth professor Crispin Sartwell throws some light into our national darkness. He asks precisely what it means to make an election illegitimate. You would have thought that the great minds of the mainstream media would have taken a step back from their unprocessed rage … to ask this question. That they did not speaks volumes about their intellectual dishonesty.

Sartwell explains what it means to rig an election:

It’s worth pondering what really would throw an election’s legitimacy into question. Directly compromising the vote by hacking voting machines or disposing of absentee ballots does the job—the latter triggered the invalidation of a North Carolina House race last year. So does jailing opponents, banning political parties, or threatening or bribing voters.

I am confident that I did mention, at one time or another, that the 1960 presidential election in Illinois was probably rigged by members of organized crime and local labor unions… at the behest of Joseph Kennedy, father of the candidate. At the time Richard Nixon could have called for an investigation, but chose not to do so. Today’s Democratic Party, consumed with McCarthyite rage, has no such compunctions. They are much more interested in claiming that Donald Trump was a Russian agent. Isn’t this just a return of McCarthism? When you make Richard Nixon look like a moral beacon, you have some serious problems.

Sartwell then tells us what does not constitute rigging an election:

But a social-media campaign, even coordinated by a foreign government, does not. Divisive, misleading or bizarre stuff was coming from every direction at once in 2016. Of the allegedly Russian-generated material, I myself retweeted the “Satan: If I win, Clinton wins” meme because I found it hilarious. It’s true I didn’t vote for Mrs. Clinton (I wrote in Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin), but I don’t blame the Russians for that.

You will notice that the mini-minds of the American left cannot imagine that they failed to persuade enough people to think as they think. The issue is mind control. The left craves it. What with the Obama administration it thought that it had achieved it.

If you prefer some context, consider the episode within the context of the story of the Emperor’s new clothes. The problem arises when a little boy screams out that the emperor and his local subjects have been duped into thinking that the emperor is decked out in the finest of imperial finery. In the fictional world inhabited by the American left, the little boy must be shut up and shut down. Thus, they are unfazed by the fact that the Russians spent so little money. A mere whisper sufficed to destroy the illusion they had created. 

Which illusion was that? Why the illusion that Hillary Clinton was a highly qualified presidential candidate. In truth, Hillary Clinton was an incompetent fraud, a woman who owed her erratic and failed career to her husband… and to nothing else. This means, to put a finer point on it, that when Obama said that HRC was the most qualified candidate in American history, he was joking. It was irony, stupid. Her post-election behavior is a constant reminder of why she lost. She lost because she is a loser decked out in raiments that bespeak winning. 

The other illusion was that Barack Obama was a great president, who had saved the nation from the Bushes, who had restored American standing in the world, who had rid the world of bigotry, who had saved the economy and whose derelictions in selling out Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq were for nothing considering how charming he was. And let’s not forget that Obama saved the planet with the Paris Climate Accord and the Iran Nuclear Deal. Anyone who says otherwise, who sees through the cant, must be shut down.

Anyway, Sartwell asks about the rust belt voters who were apparently targeted by the Russian propaganda machine. How much were they really subject to nefarious influence? And besides, weren’t they capable of questioning the information that was being thrown at them, and not just by the Russians:

Likewise, that Wisconsin and Michigan voters were targeted by Russian propaganda or nefarious Instagram accounts does not mean their votes were invalid. The same internet that shipped Russian misinformation makes it easy to double-check its veracity through independent sources. If citizens are too busy or lazy to do that, they still have the right to vote. The hacking and publication of John Podesta’s emails was criminal and should be prosecuted—but even that does nothing to throw the election’s legitimacy into question. It was emails, not votes, that were stolen.

The founders of the American Republic had confidence in the intelligence of the American people. To which we feel obliged to add that, at the moment the founders wrote the Constitution, they only allowed a very small percentage of the people to vote. Now that suffrage is universal, could it be that the less educated products of America’s defective educational system cannot tell the difference between news and propaganda?

America’s Founders rested the legitimacy of government on the will of the people, mediated through institutions such as the Senate and the Electoral College. They knew voters could be ignorant, gullible or manipulated by demagogues. To mitigate those concerns, they recommended education and free expression, so that false or dangerous claims could be exposed or refuted. They did not prohibit foreigners access to the American press. Soon enough, they were dealing with propagandists and would-be dictators, foreign and domestic, such as Aaron Burr and Napoleon. But whatever the drawbacks of the electorate and of a free press, they reposed their trust in the people to come to their own conclusions.

Is it all, as Sen. McCarthy would have said, the fault of Russian influence and interference. Sartwell dismisses the claim:

If we were able to quantify the effect of the Russian social media campaign, I suspect we’d find it to be infinitesimal. But even if it wasn’t, the election was free and fair.


Sam L. said...

Clearly, NOT. No commies or used-to-be commies in the White House. Ipso facto.

Hillary wanted to rig the election, and tried to, and thought she had it locked, but failed. She's SO bummed. Still, and likely for the rest of her life. (Rude comment not made.)

UbuMaccabee said...

I've looked at the Russian FB ads. If you seriously think they mattered in this last election, you are a fool. Here is a good link to get started.

The results are terrible. I have more hits for some of my instructional videos on YouTube than these do.

The assertion that Russia moved the election is preposterous. And, as the author points out, so what? Putting ads on FB isn't a crime. It's a nothing.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Did the Nigerian royal official offering millions in inheritance settlements reach these same voters?

The Democrats are infested with victimology. We must all be victims to something. The Democrat Party is our outlet for our rage. The “MAN” (you know... the white, conservative, straight, meat-eating, privileged, Christian man who doesn’t do drugs and has no felony on his record, who is married with children and a pet dog, and qualified for a mortgage) is out to get us!

Grow up! Foreign governments have been trying to influence elections forever. The Obama Administration went all in to try to ensure Netanyahu’s defeat, though they were unsuccessful. Isn’t that “meddling” in Israeli elections?

The Democrat big tent of fringe lunatics is tiresome. And here Joe Biden comes in to save the nation from white supremacy. Oh, and guess what? He’s ahead in the polls. Go figure!

Good grief.