by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Russia campaign was a shockingly cynical violation of our sovereignty. President Donald Trump would do himself and the country a favor by frankly denouncing it. But the scale of the operation shouldn’t be exaggerated. In the context of a hugely expensive, obsessively covered, impossibly dramatic presidential election, the Russian contribution on social media was piddling and often laughable.
The Russians wanted to boost Trump, but as a Facebook executive noted, most of their spending on Facebook ads came after the election. The larger goal was to sow discord, yet we had already primed ourselves for plenty of that.
Does anyone believe, absent Russian trolls on Twitter and Facebook, that we were headed to a placid election season involving an incendiary, mediagenic former reality-TV star bent on blowing up the political establishment and a longtime pol who had stoked the enmity of Republicans for 30 years and was under FBI investigation? …
… The Russians didn’t do anything to us that we weren’t doing to ourselves, although we were doing it on a much larger, more potent scale. The Russians are just aping the arguments we are already having with one another, and the sewerish level of much of the discussion on social media.