You already know these three things: Russia interfered in the 2016 election to try to help Donald Trump win. And he did win (though he didn’t get the most votes). But, after an exhaustive investigation, Robert Mueller, according to Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress, wrote in his report, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
In a blistering op-ed in this morning New York Times, columnist Farhad Manjoo rubs our collective noses in a much more troubling truth. If we were the country that we want to believe we are, an unqualified, lying, carnival barker like Trump should never have been the nominee of a major American party and should never have been within hailing distance of an Electoral College majority – with or without Russian help. From the Manjoo column:
Here’s my theory: Collusion was a seductive and convenient delusion. For many Americans, the simple truth that Mr. Trump really had won was too terrible to bear. The ease with which a racist, misogynist, serial con man had slipped past every gatekeeper in American life suggested something deeply sick at the core of our society.
In particular, Mr. Trump’s win pointed to tectonic failures within the mainstream news media, whose leading brands had fanned the showman’s rise with copious television coverage; indulged his every gimmick with yet more attention; and elevated his opponent’s trifling email-management kerfuffle into a scandal of world-historic import.
Mr. Trump’s win also pointed to the failure of our political parties. …
There were other minor factors in this American tragedy: Jim Comey’s grandstanding; the tech giants’ inability to appreciate or curb the chaotic powers of their new communications platforms; our collective innumeracy regarding polling; and a naïve failure to appreciate the profound fragility of our national enterprise.
Finally there was the plainer constitutional failure. You didn’t need a two-year federal investigation to determine the single most important lesson of the 2016 race: America does not treat all its voters, and all of its votes, equally. …
Read the full Manjoo column here. It’s headlined: “Collusion was a seductive illusion.”