Saturday, February 22, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He helped the Putin regime with its propaganda campaign.

Trump was openly rooting for another vote-counting debacle in the Nevada caucuses. It would not only make Democrats look bad, but it would also further the Putin regime's attempts to sow distrust in American elections.

Unfortunately for Trump, the votes in the Nevada caucuses have been counted without incident. But the winner, Bernie Sanders, did give Trump the chance to help a different Russian propaganda campaign, by "backing" Sanders as the Democratic nominee. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, the U.S. government has found that the Putin regime has been trying to sow discord between the Democratic candidates for the nomination by spreading rumors of a plot to keep Sanders from winning.

Trump claimed today that he hadn't known about Russia's involvement in the Democratic primary, although his own staff told the Post yesterday that he was aware. That makes sense, because Trump—who normally has trouble focusing on intelligence briefings—is intensely interested in this. He fired his acting Director of National Intelligence last week for even acknowledging the fact that Russia was working to help him get re-elected.

Trump has been copying the Putin regime strategy since before it was reported on, "helping" Sanders by claiming that the Democratic Party is "rigging" the election against him. He's tweeted over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again about "rigged" nominations in the last few weeks—at least nine times. 

That is exactly what Russian propagandists online have been saying.

Sanders's reaction was a blunt threat to Putin: stay out of American elections. Trump, for his part, has repeatedly and openly asked Russia—and Ukraine, and China, and any other country that might be interested—for help. 

Why does this matter?

  • The right thing to do when foreign countries try to undermine American democracy is not to help them.