In my previous post on this blog earlier today, I referenced Matt Taibbi’s concern that those of us who are insisting that we get to the bottom of Russian interference in the 2016 election are experiencing what he termed “Putin Derangement Syndrome.”
I hope you read that post, but I return to Mr. Taibbi’s writing now because of another bone I have to pick with him in that piece.
After pooh-poohing our concerns, near the end of the piece, he veered into a discussion of the election itself and attempted to make the case that those of us who believe supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders were led down the garden path by Russian fake news sources are simply wrong.
Perhaps we are.
Mr. Taibbi noted that 13.2 million people voted for Sen. Sanders. He did not note that Hillary Clinton won about 16 million votes, which is a majority. But repeated e-mail leaks from Julian Assange and Russian intelligence left a lot of Sanders supporters believing they had somehow been cheated of victory.
Hillary Clinton had an opportunity to win those voters over, but she wasn’t able to make inroads enough to win. And periodically throughout the late summer and into the fall, new e-mails from inside the Democratic National Committe, and inside the Clinton campaign, were leaked to implant the idea that Sanders had been cheated of victory.
The timing of those leaks seem to make it clear that someone wanted to periodically rip the scab off the Sanders backers’ disappointment. And we now know that the FBI and the CIA were noting a lot of communication between the campaign of The Current President (TCP) and Russian intelligence sources.
Isn’t that at all curious?
Sanders backers believe he would have easily beaten TCP, the guy whom Hillary defeated by about 3 million votes. They decline to factor in the pressure that would have been wrought by a Republican campaign that would have used the word “socialist” in every other sentence and left voters to wonder if Sanders might sell the U.S. down the river to the Soviets (how’s that for irony?).
So people voted for Jill Stein. Or they voted for Gary Johnson. In many cases they stayed home. They got The Current President.
Mr. Taibbi believes that Russian interference has little if anything to do with why 155 million eligible voters decided not to vote for Hillary Clinton. I submit to you that millions of people who watched the Congress during the campaign might have had cause for concern.
They heard time and again Republicans talk about articles of impeachment being introduced on Inauguration Day, and about repeating their promise not to work with a President Clinton as they had declined to work with a President Obama, and saying how untrustworthy they found her, and even that Republicans would keep open that seat on the Supreme Court for the duration of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Would it be a surprise to find out that many of those 155 million eligible voters who didn’t cast a ballot failed to do so because they couldn’t vote for either side in such an atmosphere of antagonism?
So Nov. 8 happened.
And beginning on about Nov. 9, I began to hear how the Democratic Party had made its own bed when it nominated Hillary Clinton. Never mind that she had won the primaries; she had obviously stolen that nomination. Democrats, we were told, should have known that only an outsider could beat the outsider who is now our president.
I came to realize that defeat — and I use that word advisedly because of the Russian interference — has just as many fathers as does victory. No one on the Republican side has yet copped to the interference of the Russians, despite the statements of the intelligence community. And no one among the Sanders backers who griped and moaned about having lost in the primaries would even consider that they had simply lost an election. It had to be a conspiracy.
I read Mr. Taibbi’s piece — again, I urge you to read it for yourself — and as I read it I couldn’t figure out where he was going with it. He called those of us who want to get to the bottom of the Russian interference “deranged,” which puzzled me.
But then he went back to Sanders, whom I have long admired. Full disclosure: On the days I drive to work, I used to go to my car at lunchtime so I could listen to his “Brunch with Bernie” question-and-answer sessions on Thom Hartmann’s program. And when Hillary beat Bernie, I was OK with it because I knew that either one was a better option than the person who is now in the White House.
But Bernie supporters such as Mr. Taibbi could never get their heads around that they had lost, so we are now where we are now. And every time I hear someone on the Sirius XM Progress channels make a statement about Bernie? Well, I have to switch channels to Little Steven’s Underground Garage and listen to rock and roll.
I honestly don’t know if those people are like the dupes who voted for The Current President, or if they’re Russian trolls (apparently paid by Vladimir Putin) who periodically come out of the woodwork to rip the scab off once more.
The Sanders supporters need to grow up, in my opinion, or Mr. Putin and his boy in the White House will be with us after the next election.
And if that is derangement, I wear it proudly.