It is fitting in a grotesque sort of way that the big story in the wake of the Through the Looking Glass Election of 2016 is not the outcome changing hacking of Democratic Party assets by Russian intelligence services backed by a legion of fake news providers with Donald Trump’s “victory” being a mere footnote, but the other way around: Trump “won” an election he actually lost by nearly three million votes and the mere footnote is that he “won” because of the Kremlin pogrom to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency, which he unashamedly supported, while the White House and U.S. spy agencies dawdled, the FBI meddled and the news media and fake news enablers like Facebook and Twitter snoozed.
You would have scoffed had you been told before the November 8 cataclysm that Trump would be the next president because of a sinister Commie cyber plot that read like a bad sci-fi movie, but that is exactly what has happened.
There will not be a national redo, and even the recounts in three states that Clinton lost by less than a percentage point will not alter the outcome, while the stain on the American system of electing its leaders, not to mention American democracy itself, will be indelible.
And that’s just for starters.
As unprecedented as this madness would seem to be, there is an historic antecedent — the 9/11 attacks — only this time the homeland attacked itself despite again having ample warning as it did on that September morn 15 years ago.
Despite government malfeasance before, during and after the terror attacks that lapsed into outright criminality, we were told to buck up and move on although report after report whitewashed the Bush administration’s culpability, there was a crackdown on civil liberties in the name of fighting Al Qaeda, and war was declared against Iraq that would take many tens of thousands of lives, provoke an immense refugee crisis and further destabilize the region although Saddam Hussein was a mortal enemy of Al Qaeda and had nothing to do with 9/11.
We also were told to buck up and move on when:
- The Reagan administration secretly sent weapons to Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, in 1985 as part of the Iran-Contra scheme. Reagan couldn’t be impeached, we were told, because America was still getting over Nixon and Watergate although only a few years later Bill Clinton would be impeached for a blowjob.
- The Supreme Court in 2000 jumped the extra-constitutional shark and meddled in a presidential election, ruling that the winner was George Bush, who “won” because the Republican-controlled election apparatus in Florida was as fixed as the high court majority turned out to be.
- The very moral foundations of our democracy were subverted by a secret post-9/11 program of dark-site prisons and the use of Nazi torture techniques no matter if the victims weren’t terrorists, which they often were not. This yielded no valid intelligence but did tank America’s standing abroad.
Is it merely a coincidence that all of these outrages were perpetrated by Republicans?
Nope, and that leads me to note one of more noteworthy if sadder aspects of the time in which we live: Barack Obama has been much too nice a guy in the face of eight years of unrelenting Republican mendacity and has been much too slow to move on investigating stolen election claims. No matter, because his look-at-the-brighter-side style of governance will soon be that of an ancien régime.
And yet again, we are being told to buck up and move on as a kleptocrat for whom character assassination by tweet is as reflexive as eating French fries, is on the verge of becoming the first chief executive to juggle the responsibilities of being leader of the free world with being executive director of a reality television show and leveraging the presidency to expand his family business.
All the while, Trump is revving up to sell out his base in restocking the swamp he promised to drain with a HUD pick who doesn’t believe in discrimination, an HHS pick who wants to kill Obamacare and gut Medicare, a Commerce pick who is a fraudster billionaire, a Labor pick who believes in depressing wages and opposes paid sick leave, an EPA pick who denies climate change, an Energy pick who once wanted to abolish the department, an Education pick who despises public schools, a Secretary of State pick who is a fellow apologist for Vladimir Putin, an Attorney General pick who is a racist, deeply hostile to immigrants and wants to turn back the clock on marijuana decriminalization, and a White House security chief who traffics in right-wing conspiracy theories.
How do we know that the CIA is right about the Kremlin’s pogrom to deny Clinton the presidency?
Because Trump, who has more Russian connections than St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square has towers, is denying it so vehemently as the first crisis of the many his rump presidency will encounter looms large — a clash between he and leaders of his own party over his fondness for a monster who exerts an increasingly autocratic grip on the former Soviet Union and his solicitousness toward Russian foreign policy interests, including an oft-repeated promise that as president he would not necessarily abide by the U.S.’s long-standing commitment to go to the aid of a NATO nation in the Baltics if it were attacked by Russia.
So many outrages, so little time.
Under other circumstances, it would be heartening that Republican leaders are joining Democrats in calling for a bipartisan probe into the election being thrown to Cheeto Jesus by Russia, which put Democratic organizations and operatives under a more sustained and determined assault, according to the CIA, and while Republican organizations were targeted, it sat on those emails.
But any investigation that might skate too close to the truth, which necessarily includes the backstory to the thousands of innocuous Clinton emails so vigilantly outted by FBI Director James Comey a mere 10 days before the election, will be neutered and probably would have been even if the president-elect was not a lump of clay that Putin looks forward to molding to his own specifications.
And so America, it’s time to buck up yet again and move on.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on December 13, 2016, on Kiko’s House, a website featuring commentary by journalist and author, Shaun Mullen. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Mullen.