Yesterday, I wrote that Russia’s efforts during the 2016 election season to sow discord in the electorate and to libel certain candidates were surely inconsequential, given the amount of garbage with which Americans themselves contaminate our politics. Suggesting that Russia’s efforts affected the outcome or even, appreciably, the tenor of this election “is like saying that dropping a bucket of water into the sea affected the tide,” I concluded.
This is also the view of New York Times writers Amanda Taub and Max Fisher. They express it in an article called “Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-made Discord.”
Actually, the article is somewhat more wishy-washy than the title suggests. It consists mostly of the usual moaning about how toxic American partisanship has become, with blame, of course, attached mostly to Republicans and conservatives. But the moaning supports the thrust of the title, if not the full metaphor.
The authors conclude that “the false information and political advertisements that the Russians are accused of spreading could ring true only to those already predisposed to suspect the worst.” People predisposed to believe the worst about, say, Hillary Clinton aren’t going to vote for her. They are going to vote for someone else, be it Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, or Donald Trump.
That’s true with or without the Russians adding their drop of venom.