Who benefits when the leaders of countries with sophisticated internet hacking capabilities (North Korea, Saudi Arabia) and no democratic oversight are told by Trump that as long as he’s in office he has their backs?
Might Trump and McConnell hope they’ll intervene in our election to keep in power a political party that now disdains democracy and a free press, and embraces dictatorial behavior like calling for the imprisonmentof Trump’s political rivals, and of individuals in the intelligence agencies who have investigated him and the GOP?
Who benefits when countries with world-class internet hacking capabilities and less-than-democratic (Russia) or highly corrupted and oligarch-dependent (Netanyahu, Duterte, Modi) leaders become “good friends” of Trump and/or help Trump build or brand properties in their countries?
Might they intervene in our election directly or indirectly to keep in power an administration that both openly disdains the concept of “liberal democracy” and disrespects leaders of the largely European countries that practice it?
Why would Trump joke with Putin in front of the world about the possibility of Russians hacking American voting systems in the 2020 election? Is he expecting it, or just hoping for it?
Who benefits when mostly “red” states keep their voting systems’ defenses down and continue to use 17-year-old technology running onWindows XP operating systems?
Who benefits when McConnell, Pence and Trump work together to make sure that, as CBS News reported this year, “Tens of thousands of voting machines in the United States [will continue to be] vulnerable to hacking” by refusing to fund upgrades?
There’s no ideological argument to be made for America having easily hacked voting systems; it’s not something that conservatives like George Will or liberals like Robert Reich would reasonably disagree about.
So what could possibly be motivating Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate, other than the hope that hackers will produce another “red shift” miracle for them?
We already know that the GOP and their partisans on the Supreme Court have done and are doing everything they can to make it hard for Americans—particularly those with darker pigmented skin—to vote or otherwise participate in the political arena.
But that’s probably not enough to guarantee the reelection of a man as reviled and unpopular as Trump, and thus keep the parade of corporatist-friendly right-wing judges moving through the Senate into lifetime appointments on the federal bench. They need more—a little help from their friends.
But it’s not working so far. Democrats—particularly progressive Democrats—were the big winners in the 2018 midterms. The GOP needs more help from their friends if they’re to reelect Trump and hold the Senate.
Reagan turned the GOP into the Party of the Billionaires, complete with a phony “supply-side” and “trickle-down” story about fantasy economics to sell their merger of state and corporation. But by the end of the Clinton administration, most Americans had figured out Reagan’s and the GOP’s scam and, since 2002, there’s been a curious “red shift” disconnect between exit poll results and the reported totals from hackable voting machines.
Add the homophobes, the xenophobes, the religious bigots, and sexually insecure white men (from incels to gun fanatics), and the GOP may have almost enough votes to win a national election—but they’re still haunted by Trump losing the last election’s popular vote by 3 million; plus, they no longer have Scott Walker and Rick Snyder to throw Wisconsinites and Michiganders off the voting rolls just before the election.
Trump and the GOP will still need a little help from their overseas friends, just as Trump Jr. reached out to or tried to take help from the Russians, Saudis and Emiratis in 2016. They (and Trump’s American billionaire backers) benefited more from what President Carter correctly called Trump’s “illegitimate” presidency than anybody else in the world.