Okay, before 90% of my readership punches me square in the gut for even daring to suggest we stop focusing on Trump’s Russian connections, let me just say I DO think there’s sufficient evidence of collusion to warrant an independent investigation, and I don’t think it’s all just bullshit or anything.
Please bear with me here, because my argument is not so bold as to say the Russia thing deserves zero attention. I think it deserves some attention. But, like, maybe 10% of what it’s been getting. And I will explain why.
We already know Trump is corrupt
Trump has hired several of his children and children-in-law to high-level positions within his government. He has on several occasions plugged his and his family’s brands on official government channels. He has declared that he is not subject to lawsuits or even rules because he believes the president is exempt. He has hosted foreign dignitaries at his own hotels. He has declared Mar-a-Lago, a property he owns, as the “Winter White House” and spends most of his weekends there golfing. He has refused to release his tax returns. He has already introduced tax plans that give the greatest breaks to himself and his ultra-wealthy peers and places a greater burden on the poor. He has filled his cabinet with Wall Street executives. The list goes on.
This motherfucker is the most shamelessly corrupt politician we’ve had in office since we were subject to an actual king. He makes old Tricky Dick look like a church mom. And none of it has stuck hard enough to get this guy out of office. So everyone who thinks the Russia thing will prove corruption severe enough to get him kicked out, I’m sorry, but…don’t hold your breath. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying…maybe put your eggs in another basket.
2. We already know Putin has interest in Trump being president and especially in Clinton NOT being president
Whether or not Putin actually stuck his fingers in to help Trump get elected (which he probably did at least a little; I mean it’s pretty obvious the Russian government tried to meddle in our election), it won’t really change what we know about his motives. We already know Putin hates Clinton, hates NATO, and wants nothing more than to spread his nasty-ass imperialist wings and soar free. Trump talked about backing out of NATO, and besides the shallow “Putin is the best because I heart dictators” rhetoric from his campaigning days he also talked about backing down on a variety of other US policies, including sanctions, that kept Putin from doing his thang.
This is not in defense of US interventionism and I’m very much anti-imperialism in general whether it’s Russia, the US, or the Vogons. But my point is that Trump was talking a big shift in policy toward Russia and Clinton has always stuck with the anti-Putin thing, so there was 100% a motive on Putin’s part and it is still there whether or not there was actual collusion.
It’s worth being worried about. But less to prove collusion leading up to the election and more to protest imperialist powers and nuclear weapons and self-aggrandizing dictators than anything else.
3. It’s not like proving collusion will actually get him impeached
Again…if pussy-grabbing, Trump University, “all Mexicans are rapists,” hiring Wall Street after swearing to “drain the swamp,” Steve Bannon, Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Neil Gorsuch, the wall, the Muslim ban, making fun of a disabled reporter, Megyn Kelly having blood coming out of her “wherever,” telling Alex Jones he was awesome, and producing the date-rapey goo-piles he likes to call Eric & Donald Jr didn’t get him gone, this certainly won’t do it.
4. Even if by some miracle it did get him impeached, it wouldn’t get his entire administration gone, which is really the problem
Just say, for the sake of argument, that the investigations underway prove serious collusion with the Russian government and it’s an enormous scandal and the majority of the Republican house and two thirds of the Republican senate actually vote to impeach the fuckface and Donald J. Trump is actually kicked out of the White House.
What happens then? Unless they prove Mike Pence was also in on it (and they won’t, he’s kept his hands squeaky clean and I think it’s been 100% intentional), he will take office. And we can argue all day about whether he’s just as bad as Trump (I think the only plus is I’m slightly less worried he’ll launch a nuclear weapon over an insult about his hair), but it’s not just about the one dude. Trump has installed an entire administration of anti-Semites, white supremacists, homophobes, science deniers and corrupt ruling class corporate monsters.
This train has already left the station, people. Fighting the shit that’s happening will take a whole hell of a lot more than impeaching one (admittedly horrendous) dude.
5. Russia, even with their meddling in the election, even with whatever collusion we may uncover, is not the reason Trump got elected
A broken electoral system designed to give disproportionate power to slave owners and the ruling class is why Trump got elected. The reactionary right wing sentiments of the white middle class (especially men) in this country is why Trump got elected. Racism is why Trump got elected. Neoliberalism and late-stage capitalism are why Trump got elected. Intentionally circulated hateful rhetoric about the Middle East and Latin America over the last 15-20 years are why Trump got elected. Old-as-dirt racist bullshit about “inner cities” and “crime” are why Trump got elected.
Russia is an easy explanation for those of us who are confused and hurt for how this monster could get elected in a country some of us used to trust. It’s so much easier to blame a foreign bogeyman than to come to terms with how broken and disgusting our system is. But Russia didn’t create Trump, America did. Trump is the epitome of the American ruling class and their ideals; of racism and sexism and colonialism and imperialism and greed and inequality and all the other icky shit that is built into the very fabric of this place. Trump is the grossest things about America coming to a nasty pimply head in the wake of a horrible economic crisis and a growing divide among its people. Trump is like a goddamn political cartoon depiction of Capitalism itself; the physical embodiment of “let them eat cake.”
So should you stop talking and thinking about Russia? No, I’m not saying that. I am, however, saying that putting it at the front and center of the work of the entire left is a mistake. I’m saying we need a better strategy to defeat the right. I’m saying we need to avoid being narrow-minded, focusing on only one issue and calling everything else a “distraction.” We need to be wary and clear-headed; avoid getting lost in conspiracy theories and admit the whole system is broken. Otherwise we’re never going to fix it. We’ll just drown in a whirlpool of #TrumpRussia tweets, screaming “treason!” as the world crumbles around us.
And ain’t nobody got time for that. The planet is dying, people are dying, human beings are being detained and deported, and the threats of what is to come are perilous. We’ve got to fight harder and smarter.
Tell me how wrong I am in the comments!