The meteoric rise of Donald Trump from unlikely fringe candidate to 45th President of the United States has many attributions. How you interpret the phenomenon known as “the Donald” is likely strongly correlated along partisan lines. If you hate Trump, you can find ample material across the internet that is replete with reasons why he is the new Great Satan and how racist, stupid white Americans got him elected.
If you love Trump, his presidency confirms that justice is on your side, and that a grassroots movement of honest, hardworking Americans got sick of corrupt politicians and pandering celebrities of telling them how to live their lives, and said, enough is enough.
But then there’s the Russian issue. With the U.S. intelligence community unanimous in their assessment that Russia played an active role in attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election, Democrats and many of Trump’s enemies have pounced on assertions like that of FBI Director James Comey, when he said yesterday in testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that Russia acted to counter Hillary Clinton, and promote Donald Trump’s candidacy. To them, this is a clear indicator that Trump is either some weird new Manchurian Candidate and Russian agent at worst, or a corrupt oligarch Russophile at best.
While Comey has announced that an investigation is underway to determine what, if any, connections exist between Trump administration officials and the Russians, no theory has been offered as to why the Russians chose to meddle on behalf of Trump. But we do have some idea as to the how, and it’s at least due in part to a fairly cunning use of social media.