The Russia-Blamers Think You’re Stupid

by Thomas L. Knapp…….

“Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit America’s racial and religious divisions,” the Washington Post claims in a September 25 headline.

Over at The Daily Beast, Dean Obeidallah explains “How Russian Hackers Used My Face to Sabotage Our Politics and Elect Trump.”

And US Senator James Lankford (R-OK) thinks that “the Russians and their troll farms” (as opposed to Donald Trump and professional football players) are behind the current “take a knee” kerfuffle between Donald Trump and professional football players.

Because, you know, Americans never had rowdy disagreements with each other over race and religion until last year, and wouldn’t be having them now if not for those dirty, no-good Russian hackers who stole the 2016 presidential election from the second most hated candidate in history, on behalf of the most hated candidate in history, operating through subterfuge to achieve the outcome that some of us predicted months in advance, long before anyone mentioned Russian hackers.*

Evidence? Who needs evidence? The people who hated the outcome and have been railing against it for nearly a year now have told us what happened, and why, and whodunit, and they’d never lie to us about something like that, would they? They lied about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction, and about illegal wiretapping by the NSA, and about a thousand other things, but THIS is DIFFERENT.

Keep in mind that when all the most wild and baseless accusations (e.g. that !THEM RUSSIANS! hacked the voting machines) are discarded, the basic claim remaining is this: By spreading “fake news” through social media, !THEM RUSSIANS! fooled a bunch of Americans into voting the wrong way.

Let’s assume for a moment that the basic claim is true, although so far the actual evidence indicates a tiny propaganda operation in the scale of things. If it’s true, the conclusion it points to is:

American voters are morons who can be gamed into doing anything by anyone with the ability to buy ads on Facebook and Twitter.

I didn’t say that. Russian hackers didn’t say that, at least in public. That’s what the propagators of the new Red Scare are claiming.

If the American electorate is really as abjectly stupid as the “blame the Russians” crowd insists, it seems to me that instead of blaming the Russians, they should get to work on either making the electorate smarter or coming up with a system that doesn’t leave important political decisions in the hands of the gullible. Just sayin’ …

*In May of 2016, I predicted that Donald Trump would carry every state Mitt Romney carried in 2012, plus Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. I didn’t predict Wisconsin and Iowa, but 48 of 50 states from six months out ain’t too shabby, is it?


Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.

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4 thoughts on “The Russia-Blamers Think You’re Stupid

  1. The real evidence is, of course, when the exit polls and other research is totally wrong. These polls are so accurate that a tiny variation causes statisticians to quake. Polls were very wrong, yet discounted, in 2016.

    The real danger here is not that someone could steal an election (see 2000, 2016), but that Americans are so invested in the corrupt and bizarre system that they cannot even fathom that it could, has and will happen again!

    The trick is not to miscount, or mislead, or obfuscate, or fabricate, or dissimulate, but ALL OF THE ABOVE!

    1. The evidence is that the polls are wrong, because you assume that the polls can’t be wrong?

      Remember, Trump actually won the electoral college due to about 80,000 votes in those Rust Belt states. That’s 1/20th of 1% of total votes cast; they just happened to be cast in pivotal states.

      I explained why the polls were wrong months before the election, when I predicted that Trump would carry every state that Romney carried, plus Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida (I did miss Wisconsin and Iowa).

      There was a social disincentive to admit (even to a pollster) that one was a Trump voter.

      Most newly registering voters, who would not show up on the rolls to be polled, were presumptively Trump voters — if they were happy Obama and preferred to stick with the Democrats, they were either already voters or weren’t going to be.

      In Florida, I was positioned to see how unmotivated the Clinton camp was in a large university town (Gainesville — Clinton signs, bumper stickers, etc., were few and far between) and how motivated Trump voters were out in the sticks (there were guys in pickups flying Trump flags from their truck beds; there’s STILL a homemade Trump/Pence billboard a mile down the road from my house).

      And in those Rust Belt states, Trump was almost certainly going to have a turnout advantage, and cut into the labor vote with the “Reagan Democrat” demographic.

      I based my predictions on the idea that in any state where Trump was within 5% or within a poll’s margin of error, he was either tied with or ahead of Clinton.

      1. Again, the issue is not that the polls were right (they were), and yet the reported results conflicted.

        This issue is that Americans are so cowed by authority that “any old fascist is better than anarchy.”

        Sad to say we are ripe for a totalitarian: And look who they installed!

        1. Absent any evidence of fraud (there may be some such evidence, but if so it has yet to be publicly presented), the reasonable assumption is that the polls were demonstrably wrong. They predicted a result, and the result they predicted was not the result that transpired.

          The duopoly offered us a choice between two fascists and surprise, we ended up with a fascist. Nothing new there.

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