The United States is currently engulfed in riots stemming from the murder of 46-year-old unarmed African American George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25. Unsurprisingly, US President Donald Trump has threatened to have the police open fire on protestors as well as deploy the military to contain the situation. 2020 Democratic Party nominee vice president Joe Biden gave a relatively limp response to the crisis when he tweeted simply: “Enough.” (And he should have kept it at that as, true to form, he later embarrassed himself by suggesting police should “shoot unarmed people in the leg instead of the heart”)
President Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama remains popular, and his administration is viewed by many as much less polarizing than the current administration. However, the left’s preoccupation with Russia has certainly not played well – at all. Mainstream democrats sought to delegitimize Trump’s election with the contention that his campaign had colluded with Russia to get him into the White House. In 2019, former FBI director Robert Mueller debunked this theory for good when his report (the result of millions of taxpayer dollars) concluded: “Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the [Trump] Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities.” The ordeal did serious damage to the credibility of the Democratic Party.
With no actual evidence of a direct link between Donald Trump and the Kremlin, the left’s argument about Russia has now been largely relegated to the idea that armies of Russian bots were able to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor through a coordinated disinformation campaign via social media. Though there is no tangible data that shows what degree of influence Russian bots had on the 2016 election, paranoia about Russia’s alleged tentacles manipulating all facets of American politics has now spread to the civil unrest and riots taking place all across America.
Last night on CNN, after suggesting that the majority of the violence seen during protests had been caused by white supremacist provocateurs, former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice made the cowardly and ludicrous claim that the Russians, too, were in on the conspiracy to discredit the peaceful protestors. “We have peaceful protesters focused on the very real pain and disparities that we’re all wrestling with that have to be addressed,” she told CNN host Wolf Blitzer, “and then we have extremists who’ve come to try to hijack those protests and turn them into something very different. And they’re probably also, I would bet based on my experience, I’m not reading the intelligence these days, but based on my experience this is right out of the Russian playbook as well.”
When pressed for more details, Rice added: “I would not be surprised to learn that they have fomented some of these extremists on both sides using social media. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they are funding it in some way, shape, or form.”
The reality? Both sides of the aisle, republican and democrat, are using the tragedy of George Floyd murder the rile up their respective bases; Trump against the spectre of ANTIFA and the “radical left” and the left against undercover white supremacists among the ranks of protestors and their alleged Russian overlords. No one on either side has made any serious proposal to roll back the militarization of the police in the United States and end the murder of innocent minorities who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The current mainstream right is never going to outright condemn the legacy of police brutality against minorities in the United States, and the left’s leadership could easily take the right path and unite Americans by condemning the out of control police as the root cause of the civil unrest. Instead, the left is back to its tired McCarthyist claims about the Russian bogeyman. Meanwhile, the secret service guard shack just outside of the White House was set ablaze by protesters Sunday night.
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