Vladimir Putin Official Portrait

Dark Lord Vladimir Putin

I am given to understand that, in addition to causing Trump to win the US election, Russia is responsible for Brexit, and for the Catalonian independence vote.

Russia, with a GDP of less than half that of California, has, in other words, the most effective election tampering program, in the form of internet trolls and fake news, the world has ever known (or at least since back in the 50s, when the CIA was pretty good at this stuff, and willing to overthrow the government of any country that voted the wrong way).

Is this credible?

Or is Russia being used as a scapegoat for election results neo-liberal elites don’t like?

This isn’t to say Russia may not have tried to influence elections. Sure as hell, the US spends a ton of money influencing foreign elections, but is Russia “the reason”?

It seems unlikely to me, and to whatever extent it might be true, it would only be true in the sense that truly close election results have a thousand parents. If it’s close, any number of things made up the margin.

But I think it’s largely bullshit. That it is an attempt to evade responsibility by domestic elites for screwing things up, or in the case of political opponents like Clinton’s Democrats, for running terrible electoral campaigns (or both).

Trump was possible because a lot of people are very unhappy. Brexit was possible because a lot of people are very unhappy. Catalonia was possible because a lot of Catalonians are unhappy with how Spain treats them.

Or, if you wish, two out of three are driven by racism, or regional anger, or…your choice of reason. They were possible because there were already serious problems.

Something like Trump or Brexit or an independence referendum doesn’t happen primarily because of foreign interference, it happens because a lot of people are unhappy with the status quo. In such circumstances, perhaps foreign interference might make the difference, but it wouldn’t do shit unless it was already razor close.

Look home, not abroad, for why people are willing to vote for actions which elites consider unthinkable.

The primary reason for it is always, always, elite mismanagement of some sort or another.