Deflection, which Republicans practice and Trump perfects, will get more intense towards the election

Last week's reports of Russian interference is just the beginning.

Posted by LM on February 24, 2020

Last week we got two stories about Russia's interference in the 2020 presidential election. The first, which angered Trump, is that Russia is back in the game of helping him like last time. The second, which pleased Trump, is that Russia is also interfering on behalf of current Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders.

Why would this be true, assuming it's true? Because Trump is still colluding with Russia, and the news about Sanders is yet another deflection away from a bad news story about him.

For decades, perhaps always, conservatives have accused their opponents of precisely the charges they themselves face when they've run out of excuses. "I'm defenseless? I'll just deflect the same accusation right back and hope to fool enough people." This is how Republicans have villified unions while working to disable collective bargaining and enact right-to-work laws. This is how they've recast the less fortunate as welfare moochers while pilfering Social Security and redistributing our wealth to the 1% through tax breaks.

Why would conservatives do this? Because they're conservative. Their natural instinct in life is to conserve or expand their margins, and this is reflected in their politics. And they play to win. That's why they've allowed a criminal to stay in the White House: so they themselves don't face primary challengers, can continue to stack the courts, and can continue to serve the donor class while pretending to love Trump like his supporters do.

With Trump, however, this concept takes a more aggressive and personal turn. He has been accused of colluding with Russia (no doubt with corroborating electronic evidence Mueller couldn't recover), many of his cronies are now in jail for their actions, and Trump himself only escaped charges of obstruction because the investigation was led by his own Justice Department and FBI - rather than through Congress like it should have been - and the DOJ won't prosecute sitting presidents.

This current news only served to agitate and spur him back to his (and Republicans') favorite tool: deflection. He's used it time and again the last four years. "I colluded with Russia? Look at Hillary and her e-mails. Another mass shooting? We're going to steal funds to build the wall (new scandal for ya, fake news). I'm quid-pro-quo'ing Ukraine? No, no, look at Joe and Hunter Biden instead." Like a magician, he wants you to look at one hand while he cons you with the other.

And so it is with the Sanders/Russia news, out before the ink was dry on the Trump/Russia news. Coincidence? History says no. History says this is yet another Trump con, originating from Moscow this time, to deflect attention away from him. And our political culture says this will only grow more intense these next seven months.

Brace yourselves, voters. It's going to get even bumpier.

2020 election
2020 primaries
2016 election