The interim

David Frum too is underwhelmed by Trump’s attempt to show sympathy for the student of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school.

As the rest of America mourns the victims of the Parkland, Florida, massacre, President Trump took to Twitter.

Not for him the rituals of grief. He is too consumed by rage and resentment. He interrupted his holidaying schedule at Mar-a-Lago only briefly, for a visit to a hospital where some of the shooting victims were treated. He posed afterward for a grinning thumbs-up photo op. Pain at another’s heartbreak—that emotion is for losers, apparently.

I don’t think there was even that much thought involved. I think he completely forgot what he was there for, because there’s not room in his brain for both concern for himself and the details of what just happened to other people.

Having failed at one presidential duty, to speak for the nation at times of national tragedy, Trump resumed shirking an even more supreme task: defending the nation against foreign attack.

There again: not enough space. Focusing on the foreign attack on the nation would interfere with his focus on himself. It’s a kind of discipline, in a way –  he never ever loses that laser-like focus on his own wants and rages.

Trump has systematically attempted to shut down investigations of the foreign-espionage operation that operated on his behalf. He fired the director of the FBI to shut it down. His White House coordinated with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to misdirect the investigation. He mobilized the speaker of the House to thwart bipartisan investigations under broadly respected leadership. He has inspired, supported, and joined a national propaganda campaign against the Mueller investigation.

And all the while, Trump has done nothing—literally nothing—to harden the nation’s voting systems against follow-on Russian operations. On Sunday, he publicly repudiated his own national-security adviser for acknowledging at the Munich Security Conference the most incontrovertible basics of what happened in 2016.

We’re in an interesting interim state right now – plummeting towards an authoritarian disaster, but with many of the institutions of a liberal democracy still functioning, so that newspapers and tv news and individuals on Twitter and Facebook can still point out what’s happening. That can’t go on forever; if the plummet towards an authoritarian disaster continues to its goal, all that will be shut down or so hindered and crippled it might as well be shut down. But for now, we can still talk about what’s being done to us.

Americans who cherish democracy and national sovereignty need to start discussing a bigger and darker question.

Authoritarian nationalist parties across the western world have outright cooperated with the Russians. Russian money has helped to finance the National Front in France, and the election and re-election of the president of the Czech Republic. In Germany, Russia first created a hoax refugee-rape case—then widely publicized it—in an effort to boost its preferred extremist party in that country’s 2017 election, the Alternative for Germany. Russia supported pro-AfD comment in media favored by Germany’s surprisingly substantial Russian-speaking communities.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo predicted to the BBC at the beginning of 2018 that Russia “will be back” to help its preferred candidates in November 2018. To what extent does President Trump—to what extent do congressional Republicans—look to Russian interference to help their party in the 2018 cycle?

And how the fuck do we stop them?

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