The worst aspect of the media’s pathological obsession with Russia is the way it distracts people from America’s real problems. The 2016 presidential race exposed some very serious flaws in the electoral process.
In the first place there was voter suppression which may have determined the outcome of the race. University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Larry Meyers estimates that 45,000 Wisconsin voters were disenfranchised by a voter ID law in 2016. Tellingly, President Donald J. Trump (R-Wisconsin) won Wisconsin by 22,748 votes The New York Times calculated.
Despite those numbers just 8.9% of TV news segments on voting rights from July 2016 to June 2017 “discussed the impact voter suppression laws had on the 2016 election,” Mother Jones alleged. If Meyers’ allegations are true voter suppression and not Russia skewed the election,
Why is the Media Ignoring Voter Suppression?
To summarize voter suppression is dangerous because it disproportionately affects poor and minority voters. Black voters were 50% less likely to lack IDs required by a law passed by Wisconsin Republicans.
Up to one million votes might have been suppressed in 2016, MIT political scientist Charles Stewart estimated. President Trump’s margin of victory was estimated at 78,000 votes in three states Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Given such estimates, people will wonder why the media is ignoring voter suppression. There are two big reasons why the media hates the voter suppression story.
The first is that voter suppression was done by Americans to other Americans. Americans like everybody else want to blame their nation’s problems on the “other.” We are no different from Latin Americans who blame their nations’ troubles on the CIA rather than incompetent but popular local leaders.
The idea that American elections might be less democratic or more corrupt than those in other nations is too unsettling for most Americans. Blaming a foreign bogeyman; especially a hysteric foe, is easier than challenging cherished beliefs.
The second is that the Wisconsin voter suppression efforts had nothing to do with Donald J. Trump. The Badger State’s voter ID law was passed back in 2011, when Trump was nothing but a reality TV star. Trump is simply the beneficiary of the corrupt system, not its architect.
Disturbingly, our media seems willing to ignore important stories that might get Trump off the hook. Partially, I imagine to appeal to the anti-Trump mob.
Blaming the Russians and Trump Easier than Dealing with America’s problems
Blaming the Russians; and by inference Trump, is easier and less controversial than examining the systematic corruption in our electoral system.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats want to admit the electoral system is in need of reform. Largely because both parties leadership benefits from that corruption.
All in all the media does not want to deal with the ugly issues raised by voter suppression such as racism, poverty, corruption, income inequality, and class prejudice. An even more unsettling issue is the way some Americans do not seem to believe in Democracy.
Disturbingly, voter suppression is only one problem with our electoral system the media loves to ignore. Other glaring deficiencies include gerrymandering, lack of election system resources, security holes, and the sheer incompetence of election officials.
Human nature dictates that it is easier to blame the Russian boogeyman rather than examine our own faults. Journalists are freed from asking unpopular and unsettling questions, while politicians get to preserve the corrupt status quo that protects their cushy jobs.
Why China Gate will replace Russiagate
Therefore, exposing Russiagate as a lie or a minor irritant, will only lead to more scapegoating. The most likely scenario is that the blame Russia crowd will start blaming China, once the mob tires of their current hysteria.
Instead of exonerating the President after Russiagate peters out, the Trump haters will simply switch tactics. They will brand the Donald a Chinese agent and start investigating his ties to Beijing.
We will get a new witch hunt rather than a search for the truth. Worst of all nobody will acknowledge or fix the problems with the electoral system.
Americans need to face the serious problems with their electoral system if they want to preserve their freedom. If we keep ignoring the blatant problems with our electoral system, Americans deserve the increasingly corrupt and incompetent leadership we have in Washington.