Is Russian Money Buying American Democracy?

When a spy wants to convince someone to do something, she will often use one of four motivators: money, ideology, coercion or excitement (MICE). A new story from Vox suggests that the Trumpocalypse has been bought and paid for not because of blackmail or nationalism, but as a simple cash transaction.

Seva Gunitsky, a Russian politics professor at the University of Toronto explained his theory to Vox:

The financial connections between Trumpzilla and various Russian banks and oligarchs (business elites with ties to the Kremlin) stretch back decades, which is likely a big reason why he won’t release his tax returns. His election presented Russian oligarchs with an opportunity to recoup losses and leverage debts for political gain.” 

Based on this idea, the Trumpocalypse isn't the product of a master plan by Putin and his army of hackers, or Bannon and his racist ideologues. It's just repayment on a loan.

The theory fits in with Trumpzilla’s unquenchable thirst for cash to overcompensate for his self-esteem, but the truth is probably more complicated. When the dust settles and the Trumpocalypse Netflix series is released, we’ll see that a lot of competing interests used Trumpzilla for their own ends. We just have to make sure we don't wind up paying for it too much.

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