Among the most fundamental rights and greatest powers we have as citizens in the United States is the power to go into the voting booth and choose our leaders.
It is therefore critical that those elections be conducted fairly, that all candidates have the opportunity to air their views and have them accurately reported by the media, social and otherwise, and that the person who wins is actually the person who received the most votes or, in the case of a presidential election, the most electors. The Electoral College will have to be an argument for another day.
For whatever reason, it seems not to have dawned on a lot of Americans until yesterday that that fundamental right and great power are in danger. Apparently it took President Trump going to Helsinki and repeating Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s denial of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election for them to realize that something is rotten in Finland. Trump’s performance in Helsinki has led to the greatest criticism of his presidency thus far from those in his own party.
To those of you on the right, I say welcome to reality. I know you can’t stay long, so I’ll get right to the point. There WAS a Russian effort to influence the election. That’s not sour grapes, that’s not refusal to “get over it,” it’s irrefutable fact. We deserve to know the extent of the effort and whether or not our election systems are safe from any future attempt. While there’s no indication any actual vote totals were changed, there’s reason to believe Russians tried to hack voting machines and/or voter registration lists. This week, we learned that the third party vendor that runs the state of Maryland’s election registration database was purchased by a company whose largest investor is a Russian.
In four months, we have the Congressional midterm elections. Historically, the party not in power tends to pick up seats in the midterms. At the moment, we have an historically unpopular President and polling indicates the Democrats have a good chance of reclaiming the House and the possibility of taking back the Senate. If Democratic gains are less than history would lead one to expect, many Americans will not be able to help but wonder what outside influence there might have been this time around. And if you want a 100% guaranteed accurate political prediction, here it is. If the Democrats do make large gains, President Trump will tweet on election night that there was election interference on behalf of the Democrats and that it must be investigated immediately.
Let’s not wait for November. We need to say it loudly and clearly. Russia did it, we won’t tolerate it and we will take steps to make sure it won’t happen again.