Donald Trump won the 2016 election — and it wasn’t because of the Russians. After more than a year of extensive investigations, there is not one iota of evidence the election results were hacked or otherwise successfully manipulated by the Russians or anyone else.
One week after the election, Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s secretary of Homeland Security, admitted that our election system had not been hacked and that no ballot counts had been changed.
Recently, the Department of Homeland Security had to retract a claim that Russian hackers had gone after voter-registration systems in places such as California and Wisconsin after they said their systems hadn’t been targeted.
For all of the supposed claims of “collusion” that we’ve heard, no credible evidence of it has been produced, despite all of the resources (and intelligence leaks) devoted to trying to prove it.
The latest claim is that a Russian company bought $100,000 in Internet pop-up ads. Most of the ads didn’t refer to the candidates but focused on social issues, according to The New York Times.
Donald Trump spent about half as much on his presidential campaign as Hillary Clinton, who raised almost $600 million, and still won despite all her negative ads. Yet we’re supposed to believe that $100,000 in ads, mostly on issues, somehow brainwashed Americans into voting a particular way?
What the purveyors of this conspiracy theory don’t want to admit is that Donald Trump’s victory, as well as that of other Republicans, aligns with political trends during the Obama presidency.
Under Obama, the Democratic Party lost more congressional, state legislative and governor’s seats than under any other president. The party is the weakest it has been since the 1920s in the number of political seats it holds nationwide.
Without question, we should be on our guard against foreign actors trying to intervene in our elections. But so far, there is no proof that Russian efforts made any difference in 2016.
This piece originally appeared in USA Today