Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, testified in the trial of Michael Sussman that Hillary Clinton was informed of and approved plans to go to the press about supposed links between then-candidate Donald Trump and Alfa Bank in Russia, suggesting collusion between Trump and Russia, the beginning of the Russia hoax. After sharing the information with Slate, an online news service, Clinton tweeted, “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
In fact, there were no mysterious Trump ties to Russia, as federal investigators later confirmed. The whole thing was a ruse, largely created and paid for by the Clinton campaign. But it took almost three years and a long and expensive investigation to come to that conclusion. The allegation of collusion between Trump and Russia significantly hampered Trump’s presidency and put the nation through a political circus. I suspect many Trump opponents still believe with all their hearts that Trump colluded with Russia to throw the 2016 election his way, justifying Clinton’s own claim that Trump was an “illegitimate president.”
This is an example of how low our political actors will go in the effort to win elections. Clinton knew that the supposed links between Trump and Alfa Bank were not corroborated. She didn’t care. If it gave her an edge, she would use it against her opponent. Because of the calculated dishonesty of her campaign, the Russia hoax was thrust on the American people, and for three long years this country was put through a torturous political play because the Democrats could not accept that Clinton lost the 2016 election. The Democrats were determined to undermine Trump’s administration by any means necessary, and the media elites played along, offering their support to every effort the Democrats made to destroy Trump. Trump’s own egomaniacal, outrageous personality gave them plenty of fodder with which to work.
During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden said that the only way he could lose would be as a result of “chicanery” at the polls and spoke regularly of concerns that Trump would steal the election. For his part, Donald Trump famously stated that he would not necessarily accept the results of the election if he lost, and his supporters proved their lack of trust in the results by their disastrous attack on the Capitol Building on January 6. We knew before the election was even held that whichever candidate lost would accuse the other of being “illegitimate.” In a poll I cited some months ago, 38% of Americans expressed doubts in the fairness of the 2020 election. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you sit on, or even if you sit on the fence itself, that number represents a lot of people, far more than some lunatic fringe.
There have been shenanigans surrounding plenty of elections in U. S. history. But I personally don’t recall a time when the public had such low expectations that elections would be carried out in a fair and objective fashion. Both parties accuse the other of trying to manipulate the laws around voting to secure an advantage. Both insist that their efforts are all that stand between democracy and one-party control. Neither party can claim much trust or respect among the American people. Many Americans, frankly, are just sick over the fact that our political leaders are more interested in maintaining their hold on power than in doing anything constructive with the power they hold.
Joe Biden’s support among the populace is in the thirties, lower even than Trump’s was. Biden’s presidency has been one disaster after another, most of them of his own making. Yet, he wonders why his polling numbers are so low. He blames his staff for correcting his gaffes and misstatements because he thinks it undermines him. He blames the media for not giving him more positive coverage. He claims the American people don’t understand the issues well enough to appreciate how difficult it is to manage things like inflation. He walks away from the podium after giving a speech without taking questions, and he’s not had a press conference in months. His press secretary seems incapable of answering the questions she’s actually asked by the White House press corps, choosing instead to go off on tangents and topics that have little or nothing to do with the questions asked. But Biden insists he has no idea why his administration is so unpopular with the American public.
The last time I remember the American public being so pessimistic was during the Carter administration, but that at least took a while longer. Biden ran on being a moderate and people wanted the Trump circus to be over. Largely on those two factors, Biden won. But he managed to destroy people’s confidence in his ability to lead in less than a year and it’s only gotten worse. People were aghast, I think, that the guy who said only dictators ran a country on Executive Orders signed over forty in only his first few days in office. Then came the spending. Then came the horrendously botched Afghanistan exit, on top of the southern border becoming out of control. Then crime continued to spiral out of control. Finally, inflation hit record highs, along with gas prices, and then a baby formula shortage (why, exactly, can’t the biggest economy in the world make enough baby formula?), and Biden’s claims that he has done so much good for the economy sounded hollow. It’s as if he was telling us, “Don’t pay attention to what your lying eyes are telling you. Everything here is great!”
But I ramble. This post started off expressing concerns about how low our politicians will go in attempting to win elections, and on the lack of confidence the American people have that our elections will be carried out in a fair and objective manner. Now, in 2024, we have a re-match of Biden v. Trump to look forward to. I mean, of course, to not to look forward to. Who could possibly be looking forward to such a thing? I pray for my country. But I look to Jesus as my hope. I am genuinely afraid of what sort of country my grandchildren will inherit. Of course, the perspective of history helps. We’ve been here before and have faced even more difficult times. But eventually there arose a political class, if not only a strong political personality, that managed to hold things together. Perhaps we’ll be blessed with such in the near future. I hope so. There are some bright lights out there in the political arena that are young and capable. We can only hope and pray that they will rise up to meet the challenges of this uniquely challenging period. Hope and prayers seem to be the best that we have right now.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.