As I have written here before, elements of the Russian government want Americans to be divided against each other. I am not at all sure that they have had any success with this, since Americans already hate each other plenty, and even if it worked I am not sure how it would help them. But it does seem to be their aim.
In the light of this it makes perfect sense that Russian trolls and bots are throwing most of their weight behind Trump and Bernie Sanders. Surely a Trump-Sanders election would be one of the ugliest ever, and highly divisive. The two Americans have reacted differently to the news, Trump trying to deny it and Sanders accepting it; maybe that's partly because in a weird way it enhances Bernie's status by making him the most radical one.
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Interesting that you assume Bernie must have a self-interested, dishonest reason for accepting the intelligence assessment. Time was when we assumed political leaders would accept the assessment of intelligence professionals as a matter of course. That's what I assumed Bernie was doing; it's just what you do, unless you're Trump. Perhaps I am naive, or perhaps I am simply a liberal who likes what liberals do and thinks well of them, and dislikes what Trump does and thinks ill of him--or perhaps I am right, and Trump really is something different and destructive.
So much are our institutions eroded, in part by the lies of the Cold War and the Iraq invasion, in part by what was once leftist critique of power and language (and is now the rightist modus operandi), in part by . . . so much else.
I am a liberal; I do not think Bernie Sanders is.
Coming from as centrist of a liberal as you, that's pretty damning.
That said, I try to apply Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
It seems far more likely that Sanders honestly believes the things he says and is just a nutty old coot, than it does that he's espousing things he doesn't believe as some sort of tricky political maneuvering. He delusional, not devious.
That said, every moral person in the country has a duty to vote for whoever has the best odds of beating Trump. I think Sanders is a fruitcake and suspect he'll make a humdrum president at best, but at least he's not an egotistical psychopath.
But isn't that beside the point? Didn't we used to assume that believing intelligence professionals was what senators did?
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