Russia’s efforts are designed to unravel the fabric of American society. They’ve clearly duped far more than just Trump and his most rabid followers.
Ultimately, Russia is not interested in any single election result. Their goal is to undermine the institutions of the American Republic, the people’s faith in their form of government, the brotherhood of citizenship between fellow Americans, and ultimately to erode American moral authority and political leadership in the world.
Though Russia’s efforts ultimately did not change the results of the 2016 Presidential election, and are unlikely to change 2020’s, their efforts have had and continue to have a significant and damaging impact on our society as a whole. That’s because, beyond simple election interference, their goal has been to poke and prod in every way possible to inflame the issues that are already dividing us.
I firmly believe that Russia has thus far considered their efforts a victory, but not because Trump has sat in the White House for four years. They feel victorious because America has become a nation divided against itself in nearly every sense.
It’s comforting to talk about the Russia situation in a manner that suggests only one man and his followers have been duped, even if that man occupies the White House. However, the reality is that a large portion of the country, Left and Right, have been duped into civil disorder and conflict reminiscent of the early embers of internal strife and civil war.
This idea that the political opposition in your own nation is an enemy, and that their ideas are existential threats is not new. But the adoption of the idea wholesale by a majority of Americans is very new. And, it is an idea that actual enemies, such as Russia’s intelligence organizations, have endeavored tirelessly to introduce and inflame.
Ultimately, anyone engaged in efforts to undermine American institutions and anyone who sets the stage for mass hysteria because an “existential threat” may sit, or continue to sit, in the White House is as duped as anyone by Russian efforts to unravel the fabric of American society.