Too many on the “left” say progressives should not be focusing on the Russian interference in our democracy. They say it is just an excuse to allow the failure of Clinton and Democratic leadership to offer the public good policies that help people instead of just helping corporations and the rich slide. Some even say it is just old 1950s-style “red-baiting.”
Criticism of Russia is not related to previous pre-1990s criticisms of communism or socialism. Russia is not that. Today it is a kletocracy run by one guy and a bunch of oligarchs, sort of the perfect Koch/Thiel/Trump/corporate state that Republicans are trying to bring about here.
They Did It
The Trump campaign did do this and the Republican Party is running cover for it, just so they can continue to loot us with tax cuts for the rich and taking away the things our government does to make our lives better.
Its better for progressives if the spectrum of power goes from the left to centrist Dems, instead of from centrist Dems to the far right as it does now. Using Russia to get lots of Rs out of power and move that spectrum left only helps us obtain an environment in which Medicare-for-All, free college and university, allowing everyone to vote, restoring taxation and regulation on corporations, breaking up monopolies, bringing racial and gender justice, ending privatization, finally fighting climate change and all the other things needed to heal the country and planet are possible to achieve.
We need the public to understand that conservative/Republican/corporate rule is anti-democracy and not legitimate. Focusing on Russia helps us get there.
The Russia Story Isn’t Going Away
It’s not like the Russia story is going to drop from the news, allowing other things to be discussed. So ride the wave instead of fighting the tide.
The Russia story actually gives us an opportunity to talk about good policies instead of policies that hurt the country, by tying that discussion to Russian efforts to hurt us. All the talk about Russia gives us the opportunity to tie Republican anti-government policies to the ways Russia hoped to benefit from their interference in our democracy. Russia helped put them there in an effort to hurt the country and Republican policies hurt the country.
The Russia story delegitimizes Republicans by exposing their lack of legitimacy. (Along with voter suppression, gerrymandering and other ways they are not legitimately in power.) The more they and their policies are delegitimized the more progressive policies fill the vacuum.
Note how Medicare-for-All is being widely discussed, even while the Russia story dominates.
All the talk about Russian interference in democracy offers us a chance to remind people of what democracy means. erference in our democracy.