Seventeen U.S. intelligence agencies agree that the U.S. 2016 presidential election was hacked by Russia. Yet, the PEOTUS, Donald Trump, does not believe them. He belittles these agencies and instead praises Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange – a man he suggested in 2010 should face the death penalty.
We might well ask why the Democratic Party has not been insisting on a redo of the election. Is that so bizarre under the circumstances? Why haven’t journalists raised this as a possibility? Why is the Democratic Party negotiating yet again from a position of weakness — starting their demands in the mushy middle?
Why, we might reasonably ask, do they insist that a smooth transition of power is more important than at least a delay of the inauguration? You can be sure if the roles were reversed and a Clinton win had been facilitated by foreign actors and the FBI, Donald Trump and the Republican Party would be insisting on a new election.
Having studied persuasion and negotiation throughout my career, I can say that when things seem most surreal it is usually because the rationale of the other side has not been fully grasped.
For those who supported Donald Trump, the ends appear to have justified the means. The most frightening thing is that we do not yet know what those ends will be. We do know that time-honored U.S. values will be taking an extraordinary hit. We know, too, that the concerns of Senators John McCain and Linsey Graham about Russian hacking are being quashed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whose wife, Elaine Chao, is expected to join Trump’s Cabinet.
As if this weren’t bad enough, we are about to have a president who rejects input from U.S. intelligence agencies, insists on his own security force, and does not roll with the punches. He takes criticism personally and switches quickly from adulation of foreign leaders to disdain — a habit for which, God forbid, we could one day all pay dearly.
(A slightly revised and updated version (including Donald Trump’s blog of January 5, 2017) of this blog appears on Huffington Post).