One of the greatest successes Russia had in 2016 was creating doubt and damaging faith in American institutions — notably, our election system. However, Americans still seem to be confused about the actual threat Russia poses to the United States. Some on the conservative side have essentially dismissed the allegations out of hand. On the other side of the aisle, some liberals have edged increasingly close to hysteria, arguing that the Kremlin tampered with election totals.
With midterm elections fast approaching, it’s critical that we understand the Russian threat objectively. Frustratingly, President Donald Trump has continued to muddle the issue. In a July tweet, the president claimed that the Russian meddling story was all a “big hoax” — in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In part because of Trump’s refusal to admit Russian interference — and Democrats’ desire to attack him on it, a confusing and partisan narrative about the sanctity of votes has emerged. It is a narrative mostly devoid of evidence, making Trump’s underemphasis of Russian interference only part of the problem.