And Donald Trump was elected president.
According to a huuuuuuuge report in the Washington Post today, everything that could did go pretty wrong in a way that is hard not to find maddening because it’s all in hindsight: some Democrats held back, worried that coming out hot might read as too political; many Republicans were skeptical of the widely corroborated reports of Russian meddling in the election; Comey refused to sign a public warning about Russian interference on October 7, “saying that it was too close to the election” for the FBI to be involvHAHAKDJFHLSDKHFKSDJLSDKJFLSDKJFLSDKFJLSDKFJLSDFKJSLDFKJSDLKFJSDLKFJLSDKJFLSDKJFLSDKJFSLDKFJSLDKFJLSDKFJSLDKFJLSDKJFSLDKFJLAKJDSLDKFJDSLKFJDLSKJFLDSKFJLSDKFJSLKDJFLDSKJFDSLKJFLSKDJFLSKSDLFKJSLDFJLSDKJFSLDKFJLSKDJFLSKDJFLSKDJFLSKDJFLS; Mitch McConnell is basically the man behind the curtain; one senior Obama official says of his difficulty processing what (didn’t) happen, “I feel like we sort of choked”; it was never entirely clear if Russia was hacking just because they could create chaos and/or whether there’s really a difference between mucking things up and doing things explicitly in the name of discrediting Hillary Clinton and getting Donald Trump elected. The Obama administration debated dozens of options for sanctions and punishment measures, and perhaps most maddening of all is that Obama was very Obama about it—measured, resourceful, calculating, leading from behind—right when you wanted him to be kind of illogically superheroic about it and save us from this mess. The only positive thing I can say about that is that the whole thing was a bit of a Catch-22 and we should all be grateful that Trump wasn’t the one navigating these choppy waters because LORD KNOWS he’d have gone for the “embarrass him” option, thus spiraling us further into a world of hypocritical geopolitical cul-a-cul. The WaPo piece has passages like this that will make your eyeballs spontaneously fall out of your head and run away:
In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.
Anyway, not to worry, because here we are, and this is the way that history happened; the road we farted our way down to a Trump presidency doesn’t so much matter in any meaningful way except it reveals in greater relief what did not happen. (Remember: the Robert Frost poem does not mean what you think it means; or as David Orr might prefer it, it does and it doesn’t.) Anyway, you can read the whole, essential thing here, and I hope you don’t enjoy it.