On the American left, the issue of Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election has become deeply entangled with lingering resentments from the Democratic primary.
This is often stated explicitly. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald told Amy Goodman that it’s “very obvious” that it’s “exceptionally important to Democratic partisans to believe that the reason they lost this election is not because they chose a candidate who was corrupt and who was extremely disliked and who symbolized all of the worst failings of the Democratic Party.” The Nation’s own Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote in The Washington Post that “Clinton supporters inflate the importance of the purported Russian hacks to excuse her painful defeat” and “see the scandal as a way to undermine Trump.”
The problem with thinking about the allegations in these terms is that the 2016 election is over and Hillary Clinton has said she will not run for president again. But another Democrat will challenge Trump in 2020, and other Western countries—among them Germany, France, and the Netherlands—are worrying about similar attempts by the Kremlin to influence their own upcoming elections. Their intelligence agencies, like our own, tell us that a notably authoritarian right-wing government is likely to continue to intervene in these races on behalf of candidates who share at least some of its interests, and it’s especially important for progressives to take those claims seriously.