Like me, the vast majority of Americans are not conspiracy theorists. In fact, many or most are likely to share my own combination of scorn and revulsion at the cockamamie tales flung around by those who do revel in supposed conspiracies. At best, these tales seem harmless evidence of unmoored minds, at worst they constitute disinformation and “fake news”.
Neither am I paranoid. Okay, I have my own psychological quirks, to be sure. But paranoia is not one of them. So my lifelong disdain for conspiracies and my lack of paranoia have kept me from thinking beyond the currently accepted narrative that Putin’s interference with our recent election was pretty much limited to the release of some anti-Hillary emails and a little fake news. It is just terribly, terribly hard to force yourself to leap that chasm between a comfortably conventional consensus and the unthinkable, with its mind-numbing implications.
But I am now of the opinion that Vladimir Putin and his minions probably did hack into enough voting machines to supply Donald Trump with just enough bogus votes to render a host of reliable polls seemingly flawed and bring him the electoral victory (despite losing the popular vote by 10,000,000).
The “Aha!” that startled me awake was this simple question: why wouldn’t he?
Why, indeed. It is widely understood that:
- He did intervene in our election on Trump’s behalf;
- He is a man who stops at nothing to get his way, murder an everyday tool of his trade;
- The election of 2016 was almost certainly the last opportunity he would have to install a compliant leader in the White House;
- The technology to hack a few machines in Midwestern towns and cities is child’s play;
- The number and location of votes needed to flip the election are easily determined.
Once I make that leap into the unthinkable—that Putin (with or without any cooperation from Trump and his own minions) definitively threw the election to Trump—it becomes amazingly difficult to retreat from that view. Again: why wouldn’t he?
If he wanted Trump to be president, why would he stop short of ensuring success? Why would he just mess around with the election a bit? A bit of fake news, a few leaked emails. Just havin’ a bit of fun with the Yanks, eh? No serious intent, folks. Nothing more than some international gamesmanship…
Does that Putin sound more probable to you? Why would we reach the conclusion that the most ruthless world leader we’ve seen since Stalin would stop short of pulling off a pretty simple but monumentally valuable manipulation of votes to avoid facing President Hillary Clinton and her nasty sanctions for the next four or eight years?
Okay, so let’s grant for the moment that the unthinkable may actually have been the reality. What are the implications?
We certainly cannot count on the current Congressional investigations to uncover all the truth. It is utterly imperative that Congress empanel an independent investigation comparable to the 9/11 Commission that is protected from manipulation or suffocation by the Trump team and mandated to conduct an all-out, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners investigation.
But in the all-too-likely event that Congress fails to do so, I propose that a private Electoral Sabotage Commission be established and funded by a few patriotic billionalres who realize that the finest gift they can bestow on America is the truth about whatever happened and the means to keep anyone from ever messing with our votes in the future. They could fund the most sophisticated private investigation in history, and with an endowed kitty in the billions it would be truly independent and resistant to tampering.
Amassing a multi-billion-dollar budget would not be a heavy lift for a cross-party cadre including the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison as well as the Koch brothers and other billionaires normally devoted to Republican causes but even more devoted to the preservation of America’s integrity as a democracy where only our citizens’ votes count. They could leave a legacy of safeguarding American integrity and sovereignty for which untold generations to come would revere them.
Led by someone like Robert Gates, the staff would be recruited from current and former CIA/NSA/intelligence operatives who carry with them hordes of information they now fear the Trump team is going to ignore or suppress, as well as carrying relationships with former colleagues still in the intelligence community who can be expected to leak valuable leads and data. Coupled with the most brilliant investigators, technologists, and analysts drawn from the private sector, the Electoral Sabotage Commission would go to any lengths necessary to reveal the truth and provide guidance for the future. The degree of official hostility to such a private Commission will be a reliable indicator of the likelihood that there is fire beneath all this smoke.
It may be that such an Electoral Sabotage Commission will fail to prove that Trump’s election is fraudulent. That finding should bring enormous relief to every citizen, even though some will still be appalled by what he and his team are doing to our country.
But in the event that Trump’s election is determined to have been caused by Putin’s technological vote-shifting, what then? It is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would reverse the election results, of course. This is largely the same group that saw fit to order the state of Florida to stop counting votes, awarding the presidency to George W. Bush seemingly for no reason other than to restore domestic tranquility, definitive vote-counting be damned. We would simply be left to endure the remainder of Trump’s tenure and the wreckage his demolition crew inflicts until elections in 2020 can reverse the result. That reversal would be made more likely by whatever preventive corrections might be established as a result of the investigation, and because 10,000,000 fewer voters recently cast their ballots for Donald J. Trump than for someone else to be President. There is little reason to expect that to change.
What do you think?