For President Donald Trump, conspiracy canards can serve as pre-emptive excuses. If Democrats succeeded in derailing the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, it would be part of a "con job." If losing the popular vote made him look weak, blame illegal votes. Russia scandals, the "deep state." Had he lost the GOP nomination, it would have been "rigged."
Which is why, with the crucial midterm elections closing in, it makes sense that Trump would claim China is fixing to fix them. After all, if Democrats are going to attack his soft spot for Russia's Vladimir Putin, why not throw it back at them? Scarcity of evidence never mattered to him.
Beijing did take out ads in the Des Moines Register blasting Trump's tarriffs because they affect farmers in Iowa. That's unsurprising. The Saudis, the Israelis, the Kazakhs and dozens of other foreign entities do these political ads and special propaganda inserts.
Other governments hire lobbyists and consultants, too — ex-Trump men Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn have become notorious examples in matters related to Ukraine and Turkey.
Pundits of the main political parties are debating whether the deeply visceral gender issues on display in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings will hurt or help Democrats or Republicans seeking election and where. Who might the emotional drama rally?
The only real take-away is that the elections Nov. 6 to decide 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats form the single lens through which all top American political players are viewing governmental issues.
On Friday, the GOP-run House adjourned for the last time until after the balloting. An extra-long break given signs of Republican worry? A spokeswoman for Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) defended the time off, telling Politico: “The House this session has been a legislative powerhouse."
Also Friday, The Associated Press reported that Texas has set a voter registration record of 15.6 million people before the widely hyped Senate race between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos told the Houston Chronicle that the state's voter rolls grew by 1.6 million since the 2014 midterms, of which 400,000 have been added since March. Who that helps remains to be seen, but a widespread sense of partisan hostility may mean that nobody can take anything for granted.