Did the Russians Influence Gary Johnson’s Vote Totals?
Ever since the start of the anti-Russia brouhaha three years ago, U.S. officials, the mainstream press, and Democrats have unanimously and steadfastly maintained that the Russians influenced the 2016 presidential election. That can only mean one thing: that the Russians caused at least some American voters to vote in a way that they wouldn’t ordinarily have voted.
The question naturally arises: Does that mean that the Russians influenced people into voting for the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, or the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson.
Yes, I know it’s true that the Russians would have been sympathetic to Trump for wanting to establish normal and friendly relations with the Russians, while his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, was hell-bent on doing the opposite. Thus, it would have made sense that the Russians would have tried to get Americans to shift their votes from Clinton to Trump.
But hey, let’s not forget something important: the Libertarians favor normal and friendly relations with every country, including Russia. How can we be certain that the Russkies weren’t trying to influence American voters to shift their votes to the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, rather than to Trump?
Let’s also not forget the important role that Russian citizen Maria Butina played in the Russian influence scheme. The feds are making her spend 18 months in a federal penitentiary for conspiring to fail to register as an official lobbyist of the Russian government.
Why is that important?
First, it’s scary in and of itself. Imagine: a secret Russian agent serving as a lobbyist for the Russian government without first registering with the U.S. government as a lobbyist for the Russian government. Imagine — there could be thousands, even millions, of other Russians doing the same thing. Butina’s conspiracy to fail to register as an official Russian lobbyist could have been the first step in a renewed Cold War communist, or at least Russian, attempt to take over the federal government, including the IRS, ICE, and HUD. You can’t deny that it’s a possibility.
Second, Butina was an ardent gun-rights advocate who was caught trying to infiltrate the NRA. Everyone knows that Libertarians are much stronger gun-rights advocates than Republicans. Thus, it’s entirely possible that the Russians were trying to get NRA members to vote Libertarian rather than Republican. You can’t deny that it’s a possibility.
Of course, it’s still not clear why the Russians would want American citizens to be well-armed if they were planning an unfriendly takeover of the federal government, but that is another issue for another time.
Third, Butina was caught infiltrating the annual FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas. Yes, I know that FreedomFest is attended by both libertarians and conservatives, including ardent Trumpsters. Maybe the Russians charged Butina with the task of influencing the FreedomFest attendees to vote for either Trump or Johnson or even both (illegally). You can’t deny that it’s a possibility.
Consider this: Johnson was the LP’s presidential candidate in 2012. In that race, he received 1.3 million votes, or 1 percent of the total votes cast.
Four years later, in 2016, Johnson was once again the LP presidential candidate. In that race, he received 4.5 million votes, or 3.27 percent of the total votes cast.
Doesn’t it stand to reason that Russian influence in the 2016 election could be the reason for that increase in votes?
Perhaps we ought to call special counsel Robert Mueller back into service. He could do an extensive survey of all the people who claim to have voted Libertarian in the 2016 presidential election. The survey could determine whether they initially planned to vote Democrat or Green Party but decided to shift their vote to Libertarian. Maybe they could show that some secret Russian agent showed them some Libertarian literature in the days leading up to the election.
One of the benefits of such an investigation would that it would provide people who were influenced by the Russians into voting Libertarian with a cause of action against the public schools they attended. Their lawsuits would be predicated on educational malpractice for turning their minds into mush, thereby making them easily susceptible to Russian influence.
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