We are treated to a daily recitation of Russia’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections. We are lectured about how there are few things worse than a foreign power trying to influence U.S. elections. We are told this threatens the very being of our democracy.
If so, then what China is doing right now with its targeted tariffs aimed at weakening the GOP in November midterms and President Trump going forward is just as egregious a violation of the sanctity of our democracy. Remember, Russia is not suspected of hacking in and changing votes, just changing public opinion. That is precisely what China is doing. And it’s happening in real-time flashing neon right in front of us.
And yet neither the hyper self-righteous Democrats nor the chest-thumping defenders of all that is good and right media can be bothered with anything more than a long, droll yawn. All they can see every day is the Russia-Trump collusion that apparently never happened. In fact, coverage of China meddling in the U.S elections is virtually non-existent. And yet it is laid right in front of us.
The Chinese have made it clear they are targeting their tariffs on major American agriculture exports to China to create maximum pain in the agricultural Midwest states that are a strong part of the Republican base and the Trump coalition.
For anyone who doesn’t get it from the targeting itself, they are slow-walking Americans through it by using animated cartoons in social media, via CGTN, the English language news channel of the Chinese government, to make the threat as explicit as possible to the Midwest voters: If President Trump doesn’t drop the tariffs on Chinese manufacturers, China will destroy agricultural markets in the Midwest — thus ruining GOP attempts to retain its majorities in Congress.
And in early July, a leaked memo from Chinese Vice Premier Liu to Chinese propaganda outlets made it abundantly clear that China is using its targeted tariffs as a wedge issue designed to split “apart different domestic groups in the US.” This is full-fledged policy and actions of the Chinese government to meddle in U.S. elections by overtly trying to shift American opinion away from one political party.
The media cannot possibly be unaware of the states being targeted, and the CGTN efforts to explain the targeting; that it is to paint Trump in a negative light among voters in those states. But then again, recall that President Obama publicly tried to defeat the Brexit vote in the U.K., and defeat the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So he was meddling in the elections of democratic allies — as a foreign power — and yet the media purred contentedly on his lap.
But an inquiring mind could reasonably ask the next question: What is the point of that? What is China’s end game?
One purpose could be to try to blackmail Trump into backing down from his tariffs on China by threatening the outcome of U.S. elections. That is a form of meddling on the policy side. But the bigger, long-range goal, and one much more in line with the alleged Russian-style meddling, would be to defeat Republicans in those states in tight races, to give control of Congress to trade-deal compliant Democrats in the 2018 midterms. Further, the strategy would weaken the Trump presidency and separate those voters from Trump in 2020.
That’s a pretty direct and forthright assault on U.S. elections by a foreign power. And it is sitting on the table right in front of us.
Yet it’s not clear that one Democrat or mainstream media member gives a fig about this obvious meddling that would hurt Trump and Republicans, while at the same time hyperventilating over the alleged meddling by Russia that might have helped Trump.
All of which makes their righteous indignation over possible Russian interference in 2016 look a little contrived, one could even say, fake.
Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist and current TV talking head, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
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