Now, the purpose of writing about Russia isn’t to hurt Trump’s poll numbers, but it certainly hasn’t been helping him. We can talk about agency, since obviously Trump is the most self-injurious politician we’ve seen since Anthony Weiner. How much is the Russia issue hurting him versus his horrible health care bill or his odious travel ban or his failure to get the Mexicans to pay for his wall? And isn’t he more responsible than anyone for keeping the Russia issue alive with all his unhinged tweeting about it being a witch hunt and fake news?
All I can say is that there’s no evidence that Trump is benefitting in any way from pretty much anything, and certainly not because liberal columnists and bloggers and television hosts won’t let up on Russia.
Everyone has their pet theory about how the Democrats should be different, and what you’ll notice before long is that all the people who are asking folks to shut up about Russia are really asking them to talk about their pet theory instead.
For them, admitting that money and media affect elections is easy when it’s the Koch Brothers exploiting Citizens United, but when it’s Russians manipulating their Facebook feed, that’s a threat to their worldview that all would be rosy if only Sanders had been nominated or Clinton had campaigned in Wisconsin or neoliberalism had been strangled in the crib.
These rearview battles are the real distraction. The president is bleeding like a stuck pig, and people want to run to his rescue because it’s all a big distraction from the thing they really care about.
Like I said, the Russia issue isn’t about hurting the president’s poll numbers. It’s about our foreign policy and the integrity of our elections and potential corruption and disloyalty in our public officials. But the polls do tell a story, and that story is that Trump isn’t winning this fight or this argument.
It’s just bizarre that people will freak out about voter suppression and lax campaign finance laws but shrug off an entire nation state throwing its weight into one side of an election.
Obviously, the concern trolling is especially ridiculous when the anti-Trump issue we’re allegedly being distracted from discussing is “someone who will never run for president again sucks.” But even when the issue is actually relevant to opposition to Trump, there’s no reason to believe that 1)the Russia-based attacks aren’t politically effective, and the filibuster of Gorsuch is the latest example that it’s not preempting other forms of opposition. If you want to argue that any particular argument about Russian influence is wrong or overblown go ahead, but the “it’s a DISTRACTION” argument is both silly and, as with all concern trolling, good reason to believe that the underlying argument is weak on the merits.