We really owe the Russians a big ‘thank you’ for all of their activities during the past election. Russians can do music and ballet delicately, but they are quite ham-fisted when it comes to politics. Which is good, because if they had been more subtle their efforts might have gone undetected.
Now that they have been exposed, the results are mostly positive:
- Anti hacking security is being taken more seriously. Electoral authorities are tightening up their vote tallying systems. Campaigns are finally taking measures to protect their emails and communications
- Fake news and the robots that spread it have been exposed. There still are not a lot of great options for fighting it, but there is a start
- There is a massive spotlight on the the power of Facebook, Twitter and others that would not have been there had the Russians not tried to use them to manipulate public opinion
- Russia’s actions prompted a very rare show of Congressional bipartisanship and independence. Legislation to punish Russia passed overwhelmingly, with specific language to keep Trump from end-running it.
- A Special Counsel was appointed investigate the Russian activities. For the anti-Trump crowd this alone is a huge positive, as the investigation has spilled over to the shady financing that undermines Trump Inc.
Of course, all of this will be for naught if the lessons are quickly forgotten.