The strange tale of Donald Trump, Rick Scott, and the Russian rigging of the 2016 election

The latest development in the Russian voter hacking saga is an interesting one, no doubt. After Florida Senator and trumpeting asshole Rick Scott demanded that the FBI provide him with information regarding the accusation that Russian hackers compromised at least one county in Florida during the 2016 election, the FBI has agreed to meet with him, presumably to rid him of his doubt using the powerfully persuasive technique of presenting him with facts.

Beyond this, I imagine the FBI would find internal cooperation from Senator Scott at least somewhat helpful. The implications are both messy and multifarious. If the Russians changed the vote count in favor of Trump, there goes the Republican Party. And because the Trump administration has toiled away at doing nothing to stop future election interference, there’s a greater chance that the systems were vulnerable in 2018. This last part looks especially dicey for Scott when you take into consideration the fact that he and Governor Ron DeSantis were both behind in the polls, and won so narrowly, their respective races that both had to be recounted. Florida is a notorious swing state, which makes parsing any potential election meddling there all the muddier.

These revelations inexorably lead to a couple questions. Does a “hacked county” mean that the vote count was modified in Trump’s favor? If not, what does it mean? If it does, then was anywhere else hacked? Trump’s Rust Belt upset might suddenly look much more suspect. But wait, there’s more.

Self-professed tribunes of democracy, the Republicans have a remarkable knack for undermining it in pernicious and coordinated ways. One example of this that’s surprisingly relevant here is the fact that Republicans, being the reverse-Robin Hoods of the world, have no interest in maintaining or upgrading existing democratic infrastructure like voting machines. Vox reported last August that it took an eleven-year-old ten whole minutes to hack into a replica of the Floridian voting system. No, really. Not to devalue to intelligence of this particular eleven-year-old, but if he could do it, I’m guessing a cabal of well-funded, experienced Russian hackers could at least do the same. So what’s the likelihood that Russians changed the vote count? I can’t say, but the picture being painted here isn’t looking pretty for Lady Liberty.

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