I am far less certain that this Russian disinformation campaign affected the election than I am that it contributed to how much we all hate each other now. The purpose of Russia’s attack was not to elect Trump, who in office has stymied Russian interests more than he has supported them. It was to make Americans despise each other. Whether Russia played a role in it or not, we do seem to hate each other. We hate each other more than I can ever remember in my lifetime.
And this is where President Trump comes in. We know now that he didn’t collude with Russia, presumably everyone is happy about that. But what we now require from our commander in chief is a clear message that interference of any kind from the stepchild of Soviet communism that Putin represents will not be accepted or tolerated. Trump has kept his powder dry on Putin. Now is the time to light some of that and put the petty tyrant in his place.
It doesn’t have to take the form of some kind of world peace-threatening saber-rattling. Trump could quite succinctly assert that Putin has tried to use social media to undermine American democracy, but he doesn’t understand how to use it as well as Trump does (which is probably accurate). A little bit about how “Putin thinks he can compete with me?” with some outer borough smirky smugness could go a long way right now.