Is Russia to Blame? A look into Russia and the 2016 Election

A look into Russia and the 2016 Election

Janet Song, Staff Writer

Allegations of Russia’s potential involvement with the 2016 election has only left Americans pointing fingers at each other to blame for the results.

The exact details of how Russia “hacked the U.S. election” remain unclear, but Russia’s role in the election traces back to 2015 and the spring of last year, where Russian security agencies were able to access the Democratic National Committee’s email servers and the private email of John D. Podesta, the Chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The following summer, emails linked to the Russian government from Clinton from Wikileaks were released. After the election the CIA concluded that Russia had released these emails with the intent to strengthen the favorability of Donald Trump’s campaign.

No evidence has determined that Russia had interfered with the votes in the 2016 election. Some voters believe the election was hacked, but president-elect Donald Trump has dismissed these speculations and has even gone on to praise President Vladimir Putin. In fact, Trump has repeatedly announced his plans to also form a possibly amicable relationship with Russia.

Americans are justified with their concerns about Russian intervention. An incident like the case of Clinton’s leaked emails and a possible rigged election is a definite threat to the security of the United States. But to blame Russia for the decisions of every voter almost seems irrational. The voters of the United States have a lot to be responsible themselves for what was before, during, and after the election of 2016.

An article from CNN highlights a little-known region of prominent Trump supporters: Suffolk County, Long Island. This outstretch of the New York State has its reasons for supporting Trump; people have faced economic struggles and were frustrated by the lack of immediate change with Barack Obama’s presidency.

Such disappointment has been discussed in the area through Polichat, a radio show provided by students of Ward Melville High School. In their first broadcasted discussion and a series of interviews (yet to be released on their video channels), students were quick to point out what made Trump favorable to the masses. Of the masses included the lack of education: many Americans, especially in the middle states, don’t have college degrees and are living through unfavorable economic conditions. After his victory in Nevada during the presidential race, Trump even commented, “We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.” In fact, Trump did extremely well with voters with a high school education or less, gaining 57% of the support.

Those voters had justifiable reasons for their votes; Trump promised significant and effective change for them while Clinton could not. Clinton made a faulty mistake with her campaign’s path and did not promise the change that Americans wanted; she instead appeared to only move forward with what Obama had brought in his presidency. Trump’s simple slogan, “Make America Great Again” brought forth to Americans the hope for all their needs to be met, almost with the same effectiveness as Obama’s “Yes We Can.”

Despite Obama’s accomplishments in his terms of office, the changes he made failed to make a tremendous impact that could satisfy the frustration felt by his people.

People cover their ears when they wish to avoid what they do not want to hear, and only open them when something satisfying is heard instead. People only wanted to hear one word: change. It’s a trend seen in the countless revolutions and miseries of history itself, from the simple victory of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Great Depression to the impactful victories of dictators such as Adolf Hitler.

Senators and representatives of Congress are meant to represent the people of the United States, but the president is a symbol that represents what has made those people. Donald Trump is what the United States was in 2016: a representation of the bigotry, prejudice, and overall discontent within the American people. He is a figure of aspired change, but only fate can tell if that change is beneficial or detrimental.
It is important for Americans to be worried about Russia’s invasion of United States’ security, but to scapegoat Russia as the sole reason for Trump’s victory is an action of extremity. In the end, no matter how many fingers are pointed or where they are directed, Americans will only be pointing at a mirror reflecting themselves.