Another week in the Trump administration, another shit storm of news.
Republicans were busy redistributing wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy by taking healthcare away from millions of Americans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was preoccupied creating memorable optics with ordering Capitol Hill police to forcibly remove disabled wheelchair-bound protesters from the building’s hallways. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was desperately trying to get reporters to listen to his talking points about some veterans’ bill that nobody’s heard of or seemed to care about. Donald Trump’s baby sitters held a rally to encourage him and remind him of the good ‘ole days. Because they won’t take responsibility for their failure, Bernie bros were attacking Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi because their Hillary attacks no longer get them any press. And once again, Donald Trump made false allegations in an attempt to intimidate a government witness and wasted everyone’s time.
Meanwhile, it’s been revealed that Russia not only hacked the DNC, but they actually hacked some of the voter systems in 21 states, likely affecting the actual vote totals of the 2016 presidential race.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Since the Russian hacking of the DNC was reported, there have been rumors circulating about the possibility of individual state and county voter systems and rolls being hacked. The denials of both stories followed the same pattern: deny the rumor, admit some of the reports once they become undeniable and then finally ignore the subject and pretend it never happened even though it’s been proven without a doubt. It’s all a narcissistic way of rewriting the past to be whatever you need it to be, leaving some people to wonder if it really happened at all.
Which if you think about it, that is the modus operandi of the Trump administration and Trump himself. Take the Republican platform: rumors were that Trump campaign officials changed the terms to be kinder to Russia than the Ukraine. They denied it, then admitted than someone (not them) did change it and then finally they admitted to doing it and even admitted that Trump himself said to do it but then refused to talk about it. Or take the whole Flynn fiasco: denied the rumors that he had Russian connections, admitted a few connections but claimed they were innocent and then sort of gave in and admitted that yes Flynn did do all those treasonous acts he’s accused of but he was actually fired for lying to Mike Pence. One more: they denied that Trump told Russian officials top secret information during their White House meeting, then Trump the next day admitted to disclosing the information thus damaging relations with our allies and now refuses to talk about it as if it never happened.
Maybe I’m just cynical, but this leaves me with little hope for an answer or even a solution for this new problem.
As McClatchy reported early this week, state government officials were warned by the Obama administration about the likelihood that their voting systems had been compromised. Yet for months, these state officials denied any evidence of Russian hacking and some even refused the help offered by the administration.
Only now have we started to see reports in the press that those rumors were true. Some state officials have come forward and testified before congress that yes, in fact, it was true: hackers were able to break into their state and county voting records and change voter data in Illinois. In Durham, North Carolina, Russian hacking is thought to have succeeded in making it impossible for poll workers to access the voter rolls during the 2016 election. Workers were forced to verify voter registrations by hand using a paper copy, which took more time and created long lines. Many voters reported giving up and leaving the polls without voting which would actually change the vote count.
Currently, no state or county is admitting that the vote totals were changed or that it could have changed the outcome. However, voter system experts have commented that many systems have either not been audited or cannot be audited, and therefore it is entirely possible that some Clinton votes were turned into Trump votes. Of more concern is that in every district where this hacking occurred, those voters who were kicked off the rolls were most likely to be Democrats. Those counties that found Russian IP addresses in their systems were districts where registered Democrats outnumbered the Republicans.
Time is now reporting that Mueller is now looking into whether or not the Trump campaign may have benefitted from these hackings. The House Intelligence Committee wants to speak with Trump's digital director, Brad Parscale. Perhaps this is the part where they admit the facts before they swear us all to never speak of their shame again. Who knows?
To date, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show has done the most in-depth reporting. It’s highly likely that government officials will continue to try and downplay the affects this Russian hacking had on the 2016 election. To admit such a breach of our security would be an indictment on both the Democrats’ and the Republicans’ failure to keep our country’s election systems safe from foreign enemies. At the same time, it would call into question every single midterm election that has and will take place since districts are still using those same hacked systems.
With very few outlets investigating this, expect some more admissions of voting system breaches and then silence on the part of our elected officials. Elected officials have given us no reason to hope that they would do the right thing, as they've tried their best to ignore the situation. Hopefully they will at least fix the system. Most likely, we will never know why Russians were helping Republicans win elections or if Republicans were in on it.