Did the Russians Help President Trump Win?

February 25, 2018

If you voted for Trump, I’m guessing you did not do so merely because you saw an ad calling Hillary a Satan! If we do not just blindly believe every advertisement, then it’s safe to say that based on Robert Mueller’s investigation thus far, the Russians did not impact the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

It’s true, however, that according to Mueller’s indictment, at least 13 Russians did meddle with the election. Working under an organization called the Internet Research Agency, they engaged in information warfare against the U.S. They spread derogatory information about Hillary Clinton and spread positive information about then-candidate Donald Trump. They were against other candidates like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and they supported Bernie Sanders.

The fact that the Russians meddled with the election and fought an information warfare against us may sound quite alarming, but before you start running through the streets shouting “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming,” let’s break down what type of meddling they did and see if it’s threatening. 

They stole American identities (including social security numbers) so they could pose as Americans to set up social media accounts and stage rallies.

On social media, they created groups like “Tennessee GOP,” “Secured Borders,” and “Heart of Texas” and put out ads such as “Trump is our only hope for a better future!” and “Hillary is a Satan, and her crimes and lies had proved just how evil she is.” (You can see page 20 of the indictment for more ads.) They spread hashtags like “#Hillary4Prison” and “Clinton FRAUDation.”

They also created groups like “Blacktivist” and “United Muslims of America” to encourage minorities to boycott the election or vote for a third party. One ad said, “Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.”

They staged rallies such as “Down with Hillary” and “March for Trump” by sending emails to Americans, convincing them to coordinate the rallies. The Americans assumed the messages were coming from an American grassroots organization—they didn’t mean to be in cahoots with the Russians. For one rally, the Russians paid an American to build a cage and another American to dress up in a prison uniform to depict Clinton in the cage.

So, does that type of meddling mean President Trump won because of the Russians? Their goal was not centered around getting President Trump elected. By around 2014—before Donald Trump had announced his presidency—they already had decided their strategy would be to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Their stated goal was to spread “distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

That goal is clear by what they did after the election: using their false U.S. personas again, the Russians coordinated a rally to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump,” but at the same time, they coordinated a rally called “Trump is NOT my president!” Obviously then, their real interest was creating political disruption.

And here’s the bottom line. This indictment does not show the Russians influenced the election results. It just shows they came up with some clever hashtags against Hillary. But if you voted for Trump, you didn’t do so just because you saw a hashtag against Hillary, or saw an actress impersonating her in a prison costume. You voted for Trump because you wanted him to end the killing of unborn babies, secure our borders, provide tax relief, replace Obamacare, appoint constitutional conservatives to the Judiciary, etc.

Although the Russians’ information warfare does not appear to have altered the election outcome, this whole ordeal is still an important wake-up call for us. It means we must stay on our guard. It’s a reminder not to accept social media propaganda and rhetoric at face value—we must look deeper and see if hashtags are backed by facts and reasoning. You never know—your favorite new hashtag could be coming from the Russians!

The Russians are not a threat to our democracy though, unless we’re only getting our information from social media and obeying rhetoric and propaganda. If we are an educated citizenry, however, the Russians’ information warfare will be harmless on American soil.

Do the Russians really think we’re gullible enough to fall for their ploy? None of us has to listen to rhetoric instead of reason. If some random activist organization on Facebook says jump, we don’t just jump! If they say Hillary should be in prison, we don’t just have to take their word for it. We can investigate the facts ourselves. If they say, “trust me; you should vote this way,” we do not just have to trust them!

The charge in 2 Corinthians 10:5 can help us with information warfare: “…take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Our POWs from information warfare should be thoughts and ideas—take ideas captive and examine them. The way to defend yourself is to load your arsenal with truth and sharpen your reasoning powers. Let’s stand together on the battle line.

In Service,

Colorado Citizens Coalition

Gary Gates started the non-profit Colorado Citizens Coalition because he has a passion for individual liberty and preserving the Constitution, and it’s a fight he’s engaged in with every facet of his life. He believes a coalition is needed because it takes all of us being actively involved to move our state and country forward. We as citizens must stay informed because We the People are in charge and must hold government accountable. Gary desires to provide Colorado citizens a free resource to get useful information about state government from a conservative perspective.

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