DONALD J. TRUMP is such a singularly lousy candidate—and, indeed, such a singularly lousy human being—that finding any single point of attack against him has proven difficult. So much slime emanates from Jabba the Hutt that it’s hard to get a good grip. He is a serial sexual predator, a hater of Muslims and immigrants, a racist and sexist, a non-payer of both federal taxes and independent contractors, a cruel narcissist who lacks even a baseline trace of empathy: all of these things are true, but all of them speak only to his character, such as it is. By now, even his supporters recognize that he is a piece of shit, something that should have been obvious to anyone with a functional search engine and wi-fi months ago. And they don’t care, because in their minds, Hillary is even worse.
What’s troubling to me, more than any other entry in the veritable Montgomery Ward catalogue of awfulness that is Donald J. Trump, is his coziness with Russian president Vladimir Putin. This has been played as a joke on late-night TV for so long now that we tend to laugh it off as yet another nonsensical personality quirk, but the relationship between Trump and Russia is deeply disturbing.
This is not just a bromance; this is a national security issue.
First, there are the many public expressions of admiration for Putin. Then the strange he’s-my-friend-I-met-him-in-Moscow/Putin-I-don’t-know-Putin flip-flops on their relationship. The anarchist and rapist Julian Assange has used his Wikileaks as a weapon against Hillary Clinton, and even the embattled director of the FBI knows damned well the Russians hacked the emails and fed them to Assange. Trump at one point (how quickly we forget) solicited Russia’s help in locating the 30,000 “missing” Hillary emails. Thanks to the leaked tax form, we know Donald Trump declared almost a billion dollars in losses in 1995, but it’s entirely possible that that’s missing the bigger story—recent returns may well show him considerably in hoc to Russian banks, as we know that US banks wouldn’t lend the guy a dime. Maybe this explains why his company allegedly had a dedicated server to communicate with a big Russian bank. We know about his shady business associates in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic with strong ties to Russia; is he also pals with Russian crime figures?
The point is, Trump is in bed with Putin, figuratively if not literally (although if the alleged sex tape of the orgy he allegedly participated in while in Moscow does in fact exist, perhaps this will also turn out to be literal). With so much to hold over The Donald, Putin can call the shots. This means that a major American presidential candidate is, as Hillary smartly averred at the last debate, a potential Russian puppet.
Think about what that means if Trump takes the White House. An American president, compromised by Russia! Forget about all the character issues, odious as they are. Trump is a potential Russian mole! He rants and raves about ISIS, but Russia is a far graver threat to the United States than the motley hodgepodge of derangement that is Islamic State.
The math here is very simple:
- Russia is bad.
- Putin prefers Trump to Hillary Clinton…
- …so much so that he’s going to great lengths to swing the election.
We waste a lot of ink on endorsements. Paul Ryan’s endorsement, John McCain’s endorsement, Ted Cruz’s endorsement…well, what about Vladimir Putin’s endorsement?
Forget everything else you know about the candidates. Is it in our collective interest to elect someone who is compromised and thus controlled by our greatest enemy of the last half-century? Or someone whom said enemy clearly fears?
Trump’s wish is to put the country in a time machine and send us back to 1953. But at least the John Birchers, the alt-right of the Eisenhower era, hated the Soviets. Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again. Maybe there’s another country he wants to make even greater, nyet?