Watching ‘Democracy Now’ interview with Masha Gessen where, once you move beyond the hype, you realise looking first hand that the so-called ‘sophisticated trolling operation’ was actually pretty horrible in terms of ‘bang for your buck’ given that the memes and other ‘propaganda’ spread around performed worse than an average post and the engagement (retweets, likes etc) was atrociously low. Personally, having seen what is being put up as examples of ‘propaganda’, I would take the accusation of interference in the election to sway the result as insulting to the American public if the American public can be swayed so easily by such amateurish memes and posts. What will be interesting is after all the dust has settled whether we’ll see some prosecution – speculation has it that Trump will probably charged with money laundering with some connection with Russia but I don’t see him falling because of so-caled interference by Russia and any tenuous links that might exist.
What I think is the more damaging aspect is how the whole ‘Russia-gate’ has become a blackhole that sucks liberal and centre left activists and politicians into expending their time on what amounts to a distraction when compared to the real and present dangers that Trump’s policies are actually doing in here and now. For example, the recent tax cut has resulted in the deficit exploding and then add to that the $160billion extra spending the already bloated defence obtained with the ‘compromise’ reached between the Democrats and Republicans (the party of no ideas vs. the party of bad ideas). Then there is opening up more of the American coast to drilling, the removal of environmental protections around coal mines and the tailings, then there is the issue of net neutrality, the corruption regarding the FCC chairman – but hey, why worry about real issues when you can whip yourself into a frenzy over ‘Russia-gate’.
What I fear is that when the mid terms come around that the Democrats expect, by virtue of it being a mid term, that they’ll be able to pick up seats whilst doing minimal effort in the process. The problem is that unless they come up with a real vision then it’ll be a matter of not Democrats losing because they lose votes to the Republicans but because the Republican voters are more motivated and the Democratic base were unmotivated because the party has failed to once again to address economic issues by coming up with a coherent set of policies around a single payer healthcare, industrial relations reform to bring the US inline with most other OECD countries in regards to holiday/sick leave and so on.