Where might dark money and Russian invasion go next?

The Missouri senate race.

I’d never bet against Claire McCaskill. But she’s running for re-election in a red state and the polls are showing a close race.

The past few days I’ve been having a really unpleasant thought. As agitated and dismayed as I’ve been about how dark money bought three 2016 Senate races (one of them in Missouri; see the shocking chart I did on the polls for that race at the bottom of this page), I’m now — partially thanks to yesterday’s indictment — realizing that dark money and Russian cyber interference might actually be collaborating to enter close races like Missouri’s.

What if the dark money PACs — which are fighting not to disclose their donors — have been accepting “donations” from Russian oligarchs? The NRA has; why not the Koch Bros’s many many PACs? The Kochs have bragged they intended to use $900 million in the last election. How much of that might be Russian money?

I’ve always had a problem taking the notion of conspiracy seriously. I don’t believe conspiracies can run deep, i.e., covertly, for any length of time, or be effective over any length of time, certainly not in a country like ours with an aggressive justice system (if not in DC, in the states) and a free and aggressive press. Oh, and a vociferous Us.

We’re all out there turning up those rocks, exposing the muck underneath. (In the case of federal agency heads like Scott Pruitt, the rocks are boulders marked “CORRUPTION HERE! CORRUPTION HERE!”) In an American conspiracy, not only are the rocks fairly obvious, they’re loose and don’t require an earth mover to overturn them.

More important, though, I don’t think conspirators — that is, a cabal of like-minded people plotting disruption and destruction — get along very well. I mean, can you imagine the Koch Bros Neu Wannsee collection of obscenely rich enemies of democracy gathering in a room together, all in agreement? Maybe for the first year or so, but not afterward.

For one thing, see my rock overturning image. For another, it’d take a really high level of paranoid psychosis in each of them, and while paranoids have dynamic similarities, they don’t necessarily coalesce about strategy. And when they do manage it, it doesn’t last very long — at least not in a democracy. (Or, for that matter, in dictatorships: Hitler and Stalin’s non-aggression pact lasted only from August 1939 to June 1941, less than two years.)

By their nature, conspiracies fall apart.

Oh, I find I’m wandering into my lifelong fascination with psychopathology, but getting back to what I’m worrying about…

Even if dark money PACs are not specifically conspiring with the Russians to affect close election results, the coincidental combination of two such evil forces…well. That’s what I’m thinking.

Even before primaries, voters in Arizona, Indiana, Tennessee, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana, West Virginia, Florida — states with tight races — should get to their election boards en masse and demand paper ballots to be counted by hand. At the least.

2016 Missouri Senate race polls:

As of date         Jason Kander %     Roy Blunt %

10/18                   59.3                       40.7

10/28                60.9                     39.1

11/3                     53.1                        46.9

11/5                   41.8                      58.2

11/7                   40.7                      59.3

Nothing, and I mean nothing could cause Kander to drop 20 points in a couple of weeks except huge amounts of money pouring into Blunt’s maw.

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