Why does the Russian-meddling mystery persist?

 
 
Updated 7/11/2017 1:34 PM

It's been eight months since the 2016 elections, and I must confess -- my vote in 2016 was NOT influenced by Vladimir Putin or anyone claiming to be (or perhaps denying) that he or she was "participating" in the U.S. presidential election.

I did indicate previously that I did not vote for Donald Trump. I wrote in Mike Pence for president, realizing that was rather frivolous and really amounted to throwing my vote away. But in Illinois, there was never a doubt that Park Ridge's sweetheart, Hillary Clinton, was going to carry our state. So a vote for Pence was as significant as a vote for Trump or a vote for Mickey Mouse. I chose not to trivialize the election by voting for a cartoon candidate. I think many Illinois voters did vote for a cartoon candidate, but I'm not sure the candidate's initials were HRC or DJT. All one need do to grasp the total Democrat control in Illinois during the past 10 -- or 20 -- years is look at what is happening in Springfield, and look at the total inability of a Republican governor to exert any control of or influence over government in Illinois.

 

Under no circumstances, could I vote for Hillary, whom I have met (and have official White House photos to prove it). Could I vote for Donald Trump, who has yet to convince me he is suitable (and qualified) for the presidency? Under no circumstances then, and I'm not sure my opinion has changed in seven months. But I also can -- and will, if asked -- attest that my vote for Pence was not influenced by Vladimir Putin or any of the Russians whom I met and worked with years ago. (I actually once had the opportunity to help handle arrangements for a visit by then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to Minneapolis.)

Neither Putin nor Gorbachev, nor any of "their people" contacted me with any pressure to vote one way or another in the U.S. election last year.

And although it still is a popular topic of media discussion -- and/or fantasy -- I have yet to hear a good explanation -- an actual plausible explanation -- of how Putin and the Russians played an influencing role in the outcome.

The starting point in this discussion is difficult to grasp. The never-ending discussion seems to have no foundation. Were the Russians hoping to help Hillary Clinton, and thus to avoid Donald Trump in the White House? If that was the situation, they failed and then why is the discussion still going on? If Trump was bad for Russia, why is the discussion continuing? If that was the situation, the Russians lost and if a "cordial" relationship with the U.S. is important, or desirable, to the Russians, they should offer to join Mexico in building "the wall." If the Trump victory is viewed as positive by and for the Russians, why are they allowing this mystery (or fantasy) to continue?

Unless there is (and there may be) some still-concealed strategy (on either side), Putin ought to invite Trump to Moscow, or Trump ought to invite Putin to Washington, and they can talk about ways to keep North Korea and the militant Islamists under control.

Ed Murnane, edmurnane@gmail.com, of Arlington Heights, is retired president of the Illinois Civil Justice League and a former staff member for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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