Amid the constant turmoil and scandal surrounding this White House on a daily basis came a just released report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, a summary of initial findings in their investigation into the 2016 Presidential election. The findings themselves should alarm all Americans. The overall lack of coverage of this report by the major news media is even more troubling. What we have today is a situation where the current President of the United States is a larger-than-life figure who does everything in his power to control the narrative on a daily basis, mostly through his tweets. Additionally, we also have the Special Counsel investigation, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, Scott Pruitt and other distractions that keep the media going in several different directions. It’s almost as if the President himself desires such a chaotic mess so as to distract from not only things he’s actually doing as President, but also from the fact that the election of 2016 could very well have been compromised. While no definitive conclusion was made as to whether any votes were altered, the report suggests that voting registration databases in a variety of states may have been. So while the lack of coherent and detailed coverage by the media is alarming enough, there is something else even more alarming: This President of the United States and the majority of the Republican led Congress has been missing in action on this issue.
An oval office address?
Presidents in years past have used the oval office to address the American people on important issues. Whether it’s concerning war, a domestic or foreign policy crisis, or even a natural disaster, Presidents have used the bully pulpit to communicate, reassure, and influence the public. Is not an attack on our election systems, the heartbeat of our democracy, worthy of an oval office address? Should we not expect our President to take such an attack seriously and provide leadership? Unfortunately our current President is not interested in such action. In fact, when he does address the 2016 election it’s only in terms of how badly he defeated Hillary Clinton, how the Democrats are in denial, and how any investigation into it is nothing but a ‘witch hunt.’ This is not leadership. This is a dereliction of his duty to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. We deserve better.
Is anything being done and what about 2018?
According to the report, while the Obama administration issued advance warnings to the states prior to the 2016 election concerning possible Russian cyber attacks, those warnings failed to achieve the desired result. Much of the blame was attributed to the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI for not relaying to the states enough timely and appropriate remedies to counter such attacks. Thankfully, it appears that DHS and the states have at least established a more effective communication process. At least there seems to be more cooperation, which lays the groundwork for if and when solutions and or legislation is enacted to prevent this disaster from happening again. While encouraging, it’s clearly not enough. In a little more than six months we will have an extremely important mid-term election. At this point in time nobody with an ounce of integrity can say our election system will be safe and secure by that time. To its credit, the report lists a series of actions our government, in conjunction with the states, should take to ensure our systems are safe and secure. It’s unclear whether these recommendations will see the light of day in time for the 2018 elections.
The bottom line
Time is of the essence. We’re six months away from the mid terms and make no mistake, our election integrity is at risk again. We have a roadmap now thanks to the interim report by the Senate Intelligence Committee. There are recommendations and fixes proposed and the only way these things will be implemented in time is for our President and Congressional leadership to step up to the plate and act. Instead of leading via tweets, this President has a chance to set the tone. He can and should mobilize members of Congress, preferably in a bi-partisan way. Anything less and it will be considered a monumental failure on his part. The real question is: Does he even care?