Regardless of President Trump’s questionable performance in Helsinki during his talk with Vladimir Putin, the case of “Russian meddling” lights up everyone on either side of the aisle. So here are the facts and I’ll explain them each in detail. Russians were indicted for interfering in the 2016 election. This, as a statement, is not deniable. However, this in no way implies that Trump “colluded” with Putin or the Russian government in order to swing the election in his favor. Here’s how.
Back in February 2018, there was a 37 page indictment released that details the efforts of a handful of Russian operatives to meddle in the election. This can be read in full here. Many leftist and liberal news outlets and blogs will look at the cover page of the indictment, see that there have indeed been about 24 Russians officially charged with meddling in the election and STOP the conversation there. They’ll say “See?!?! I told you there was meddling! Trump cheated! Trump colluded with Russia! Trump is a traitor!”
Obviously if you’re seeking truth, you have more questions. For instance, what specifically did they do to meddle in the election? To what extent was the meddling? Did the meddling make any difference in the outcome? See, these are real questions that need to be asked.
However, upon reading the indictment – something that most people simply didn’t do – it answers those question. So lets go through them.
How did Russia “meddle” in the 2016 election?
According to the indictment, they used Facebook, Twitter and fake social media accounts. This is literally it. These 24 operatives were a part of an operation that was intended to sway the American vote in favor of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. They did this by starting numerous Facebook groups, attempting to take over numerous conservative and pro-Trump hashtags on twitter and attempted to organize rallies.
If anything, this is an unethical social campaign contribution from an outside power. Is this okay? Absolutely not. Is this meddling in the election? It damn well is. But again, this isn’t where the conversation should stop.
To what extent did Russia “meddle”?
According to the indictment, this operation purchased pro-Trump Facebook ads and other forms of paid advertisement. They posted memes and pro-Trump content as well as they pretended to be American citizens themselves. Their intention was to make it look like there were more Trump supporters than there really were so that more people would jump on the Trump train and vote for Trump in the upcoming election.
If you’re a Trump-hating liberal leftist, you’ll WANT the conversation to stop here because it sure as hell sounds like these 24 Russians had a LOT to do with the momentous traction that Trump received.
If you’re seeking facts, you’ll want to know more – for instance, you’ll want to know numbers such as how many people did these individuals reach. Luckily for us, the indictment sheds some light.
One of the fake Russian operated twitter accounts called @TEN_GOP accrued over 100,000 followers. In another instance, a paid Facebook advertisement ran by fake Russian puppet account called Florida Goes Trump reached over 59,000 Facebook users with 8,300 Facebook users interacting with the ad.
Another verified Russian owned Facebook page called Army of Jesus in an attempt to sway more Christian conservative voters posted the following meme:
At the time of that screen shot, there were 97 reactions, 15 comments and 29 shares. This was clearly on the low end of the relatively small spectrum of Facebook reach considering the only other verified advertisement hit about 60,000 people.
If you’re a liberal leftist, you’ll see this and think that this is damning proof that Trump is a traitor. You’ll see that comically asinine meme above and think “Hey! Looks like Putin has Trump in his pocket!”
There’s just one problem.
These are NOT big numbers. In fact, they’re comically small numbers especially when it comes to political campaign proportions. Some Russians were for sure attempting to meddle in the election, but their actual effect is laughably small. 100,000 twitter follower? Sure to someone starting out, that might sound like a lot of people. However, black female conservative Candace Owens has over 600,000 followers on twitter. With one tweet, she can reach more people for free than the Russian meddlers could reach in a week of paid effort. She is one of hundreds if not thousands of American conservative twitter users who have more of a following than all of the Russian meddlers combined.
Were the Russian meddlers effective in changing the outcome of the election?
Short answer, no.
Their reach numbers are insanely small in comparison to real American conservative Trump supporters. Let’s pretend for a moment that every single person reached by a Russian account saw a piece of propaganda and IMMEDIATELY changed their mind entirely – which is asking a lot in reality. We’re talking a fence sitter who saw that Army of Jesus meme with Jesus arm wrestling the Hillary supporting devil and immediately changed their worldview from being indifferent to deciding to vote for Trump. Let’s just pretend for a moment that could have actually happened.
The numbers wouldn’t have made a difference. Even if ALL of the Russian operatives focused ALL of their efforts in flipping Florida for instance, so Florida would have been blue instead of red.
That’s about 120,000 people who’s votes would have had to have been changed from Hillary to Trump after seeing that Jesus meme in Florida in order to flip it blue – but even if Hillary DID win Florida, she would still not have enough electoral votes to win the election.
The Russian meddling reach numbers were simply too low to EVER make a difference.
To say that Hillary would have won if it weren’t for the Russian’s social media influence is absolutely ridiculous.
Intentions matter though
Facts are facts. Russians tried to change the outcome of the election in favor of Donald Trump. As it turned out, Donald Trump won anyway regardless of the outside help. There is no evidence that Trump “colluded” with Russian – that is to say that there is no evidence that Donald Trump actively sought out the help from the Russian government in order to sway the election in any way.
Considering how small and tiny their reach was, Trump’s 3am tweets about how he likes his steak would affect more people’s hearts and minds more than a hundred Russian operatives and their minuscule marketing minds.
Did Vladimir Putin order his people to meddle in the election in this way? We don’t know for sure. If he did, that would be bad, obviously. If he didn’t and it was just a rogue cluster of Russians who really wanted Trump to win, that’s also bad. The fact of the matter is, outside nations have no business interfering or trying to influence our elections in ANY capacity.
These Russians were rightfully indicted. It WAS an attempted attack on our democracy – it just wasn’t effective by any stretch of the imagination.
Did Trump win the presidency fair and square? Yes.