by Ann Garrison
Just when it seemed like our stupid politics couldn’t get more so, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton published “The Book of Gutsy Women,” then Hillary called Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein Russian assets. That tops Elizabeth Warren’s contributions to “Pow Wow Chow,” a Native American cookbook, and besides, “Pow Wow Chow” was published way back in the 1980s, before Harvard University claimed to have hired a woman of color by referencing Warren’s dubious claim to from 1/32 to 1/1,042 Cherokee ancestry, thanks to a great great great grandmother who was at least partially Native.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor and presidential contender Pete Buttigieg agreed with CNN’s Jake Tapper that Clinton should’ve had some evidence before saying that Gabbard and Stein are Russian assets, then launched into a silly spiel about the undeniably corrupt mix of foreign and domestic politics – presumably meaning “Russiagate” and “Ukrainegate” – how “we have to get over it” and why it’s all Trump’s fault. No mention of the international bribery and influence peddling operation known as the Clinton Foundation. Or of the uranium sale to Russia that netted Bill Clinton a $500,000 fee for speaking to Russian bankers after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approved the sale.
Russia will haunt our elections for the indefinite future
After more CNN, regurgitations of which I will spare the reader, I went back to review Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor’s predictions that Russiagate will haunt us into the indefinite future. Cohen, a Russian studies professor emeritus at Princeton and NYU, has been a weekly guest on Batchelor’s nationally syndicated radio broadcast for the past five years. Their subject is the New Cold War, and this was their conversation on March 27:
Stephen F. Cohen: Project that into the future. How long will it be, to put this negatively, when some losing or aspiring candidate anywhere, nationally, regionally or locally, does not say, “The Russians are working against me,” or “The Russians worked against me.” Robbie Mook, who was Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign advisor, wrote recently an op-ed piece in the Washington Post and said, “There will be a next time.” Now this has been implanted like a ticking time bomb in our institutional system. [Cohen has the wild idea that escalating hostilities with the world’s other major nuclear power is dangerous.]
John Batchelor: Mook is one of those people who knew, cynically, that this was a campaign prank. He knew it. And he’s still maintaining that that prank had substance. That’s why I react so negatively to Mook.
SC: But you could go on, if you wanted to be even more negative toward Mr. Mook, and ask if the Russians – spending I think it’s estimated $100,000 – were able through social media to sway voters to Trump, why Robbie Mook with … how many dollars did Clinton spend on the election?
JB: Oh, a billion dollars. Who knows? They lie.
SC: All right, let’s say with $1 billion at his disposal, why he couldn’t figure out how to use Clinton’s social media to win votes for her. So it’s preposterous, John, but I submit to you – and we can revisit this in the months ahead – that it’s really dangerous because we cast doubt on the pillars of American democracy, namely our elections and, John, the institutions that result from those elections, the Congress, but above all the presidency.
JB: I want to add, Steve, that for two and a half years there has been a search by those sympathetic to the allegation that Trump is a stooge of the Kremlin. There’s been a search to show the Russians sought to get inside voting machines, electronic voting machines in various states. The story has never been proved, but that search is ongoing and there’s no reason to believe that it’s going to stop.
You recall there were articles in the midterm election of 2018 anticipating that perhaps in some fashion the Democrats would lose this or that district. The Democrats have come up with a permanent excuse for failure and they’re going to use it again, Steve, in 2020. That’s what Mook is talking about.
SC: I lack your optimism only 50 percent. Why would it be only the Democrats? Why wouldn’t the Republicans, if they lose an election – let’s say the next presidency – revert to this allegation that we were cheated by the Russians. We talked about this a lot, and I explore how you make an institution illegitimate in my book, “War with Russia.”
Homeland Secured elections
On Jan. 6, 2017, two weeks before Trump’s inauguration, outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, an Obama appointee, announced that Homeland Security would assume responsibility for protecting our national election infrastructure, including:
- Voter registration databases and associated IT systems
- IT infrastructure and systems used to manage elections (such as the counting, auditing and displaying of election results and post-election reporting to certify and validate results)
- Voting systems and associated infrastructure
- Storage facilities for election and voting system infrastructure
- Polling places, to include early voting locations
What could go wrong?
Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. Please support her work on Patreon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.