The American political establishment is already lining up excuses for losing the 2020 election, blaming a Russian “disinfo” campaign –again!– for the flailing campaign of Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.
As Biden, once the solid favorite in Democrat primary polls, continues to tank, the usual suspects are emerging to pin his fall from grace on the Kremlin, and not Biden’s own mouth, problematic family members, or uninspiring policies.
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The former vice president’s once-certain status as the establishment favorite for the nomination has faded, with even CNN taking shots at him recently after he lied about his early and enthusiastic support for the Iraq war. Institutional Russophobes would have voters believe their growing disillusionment with the moderate centrist was implanted by Kremlin propaganda, however.
“US intelligence and law enforcement officials” are already probing whether Biden is the target of a Russian “disinformation” campaign, according to two anonymous officials who spoke to Bloomberg on Friday.
Putting aside the insult implicit in telling voters who dislike Biden that their opinions are not their own, the claim – unsupported by evidence in the manner of most ‘Russian meddling’ allegations – suggests that Democrats are already bracing for the loss of the 2020 election and rushing to get the narrative scaffolding in place to explain away a second Trump victory.
Even after the “Russia hacked the 2016 election” narrative fell apart with the ignominious “no further indictments” conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, boomeranging into an Inspector General inquiry and a criminal probe of the FBI malfeasance that kicked off the whole affair, the American political elite don’t seem to be able to resist the temptation to blame Russia yet again.
Bloomberg’s breathless report blames Russia for promoting Biden’s own Ukrainian scandal while Trump was being impeached over allegedly withholding military aid to pressure Kiev into restarting a probe of the natural gas firm where Biden’s son was a director. The case against Trump was shaky from the start, and only Democrats’ white-hot hatred for the president pushed it to the level of an impeachable offense.
Yet the much more solid quid-pro-quo case against Biden – who publicly bragged about bullying Ukraine into firing its chief prosecutor by withholding $1 billion in IMF loan guarantees – went largely ignored in the US media, except for conservative outlets. This is hardly “disinformation,” unless Bloomberg is using the Newspeak definition floated in a recent academic paper that includes “truths arranged to serve a particular purpose.”
It is simply assumed Russia would want Trump to be president for four more years, even though he scrapped arms treaties and piled more sanctions on the country, and nearly led the US into a catastrophic war with Iran. Nevertheless, former FBI agent Clint Watts – one of the minds behind the notorious Hamilton 68 “Russian bot” dashboard – nevertheless insists “a second term of Trump would be great” for Moscow. National Counterintelligence and Security Center director William Evanina warns Russian “influence campaigns” will only grow, commandeering “new vectors of disinformation” to hoodwink the American public.
Biden has repeatedly bragged “Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president,” accusing the Russian president of sending an “army of bots” after him. Like Hillary Clinton before him, Biden has focused more on demonizing Trump than touting his own record, possibly because his service in an administration that turned two wars into seven, left Libya a failed state, and allowed a huge amount of wealth to “trickle up” from the working class to the rich diverges wildly from even the tepidly pro-middle class, pro-peace positions outlined on his campaign website.
Even when he’s not making what the media has decided to politely call “gaffes,” bursting blood vessels in his eye on live TV, or sniffing little girls’ hair, Biden offers little more than reheated Obama-era policies without Barack Obama’s smooth stage presence. Evidence shows it is the Democratic Party’s insistence on embracing middle-of-the-road candidates ideologically indistinguishable from most Republicans – not “Russian disinformation” – that is hurting them at the polls.
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Pinning Biden’s failure on Russia, however, has repercussions that reach much further than just a single candidate’s campaign, or a single election. With the first primaries rapidly approaching, intelligence agencies are pushing the “election meddling” story hard, hoping to make lemonade out of the lemon that a second Trump victory would be.
Not only Russia, but China and Iran will “seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions,” a joint statement from seven agencies in November warned. Literally anything could be construed as “influencing voter perceptions,” and that’s the point: to retroactively paint perfectly innocent reporting as agitprop. This paves the way for a major crackdown on alt-media and other forms of dissent – one that has arguably already begun.
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