The first news I saw today, the day after the election, was of Vladimir Putin and the Russian Parliament applauding the Trump victory. They should: Without the help of Mr. Putin, Russian intelligence and WikiLeaks stealing Democratic leader's e-mails — which were certainly less explosive than what you would have found in the Republican party — and leaking them throughout the election cycle with the support and encouragement of Republican leaders, Mr. Trump might not have won.
And let's not forget the improper disclosures of the FBI and its director — the "October surprise" detailing yet another unsupported investigation that closed less than two days before the election, changing the dynamic. By my count that is more than 30 investigations instigated by the conservative right on the Clintons in the last 25 years resulting in exactly zero convictions. I guess the old adage "if you sling enough mud, some will stick" is true. I call that character assassination.
And what about Rudy Giuliani and Brett Bier of Fox News claiming to have information from inside the FBI that the Clintons were going to be indicted in the next few days on fraud concerning their foundation? That also happened just days before the election. Mr. Beir later conceded "indictment" might be too strong a term, but still left the stain to do its work on the election.
And then there is the endorsement from the KKK and promise from anti-government militias that they would be going to polling sites to ensure the election was not rigged. Voter intimidation?
And what of the Republican candidate himself? What do we know about Mr. Trump?
We know he wants to cut taxes for the rich, although he can't help himself there because he pays no tax.
We know he bragged about sexually assaulting women, then threatened to sue those who came forward to confirm his statements.
We know nothing of his business connections to Russia and third world dictators because he hasn't released information on all his business enterprises. We do know he can't put his businesses in a blind trust because they all have his brand name on them; so how is that going to work?
We know he threatened to jail his opponent if elected and repeatedly called her a liar, the most corrupt person to ever run for president, the devil and much more.
We know he wants to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. and make Mexico pay for it. Good luck on that one.
We know he wants to ban Muslims from the U.S. and start surveilling mosques.
He suggests he won't support NATO allies that don't have their dues paid up, and that South Korea and Japan should start paying for their own defense. And he plans to tear up our trade agreements with the rest of the world and start over. Again, good luck on that one.
We know he won the election by dividing the country as it has not been divided since the Civil War, and now he says he wants us to unite? Why?
You can call it sour grapes or maybe just being a bad loser, but the reality is we voted for a very different and very dark candidate and direction in this country. When Russian intelligence can openly interfere in our elections without most of the country being outraged, when the FBI can interfere in the election to the extent it has without strong voices of concern from both sides of the aisle, when the KKK and anti-government militias can endorse a major candidate without most of us voicing our grave concerns, then where has this country gone?
Two of the last five elections have had dark clouds over them because of highly questionable results. Not because of who won, but because of how they won. Are the elections rigged as Donald Trump insisted throughout the campaign? I guess I will reluctantly have to say yes. A sad day for America.
Kenneth Buck is a retired federal law enforcement officer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.