What we’re seeing in the final months of the 2016 presidential election is not about legitimate criticism of the Democratic Party or its nominee. It’s not about disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters. Rather, it’s a systematic effort to try to derail Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in order to install an authoritarian with sympathies for rightwing extremism in Europe.

If that sounds like alarmist hyperbole to you, I regret to tell you that it is not.

The New York Times reports: “The WikiLeaks release, however, has more of a tinge of Russian-style information war, in which the intent of the revelations is to alter political events. Exactly how, though, is a bit of a mystery, apart from embarrassing Democrats and further alienating Mr. Sanders’s supporters from Mrs. Clinton.”

But it’s not a mystery. The intent is to help elect Donald, whose alarming comments about NATO indicate his troubling sympathies and whose advisers have already successfully weakened the Republican Party’s platform position on Ukraine.

Donald’s campaign co-chair, Paul Manafort, with his lobbying partner Rick Davis, who was a high-level advisor on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, have a demonstrated history of “snookering” presidential candidates into aiding them in “undermining American policy.”

Further, Donald “appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. …There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.”

It’s deeply concerning that Donald may be, at best, an unwitting stooge in a geopolitical destabilization scheme, or, at worst, a knowing participant in trying to secure the White House for the explicit purposes of fundamentally altering America’s relationship with Russia and the rest of the world.

To finagle the Republican nominee into the Oval Office necessarily means discrediting and defeating his Democratic opponent. And it’s abundantly clear that there’s a systematic and disciplined campaign of agitation to influence the U.S. presidential election in precisely this way.

In addition to the Russian hack and Wikileaks release of the DNC emails, a suspicious number of “pro-Bernie” Twitter accounts do not appear to be owned by Bernie supporters at all:

Donald supporters are masquerading as Democrats under artificial accounts in order to facilitate division among liberals – and thus undermine Hillary’s presidential bid.

Bernie, of course, has endorsed Hillary. He is speaking at the Democratic convention tonight. He has repeatedly and plainly said that defeating Donald is his priority, and that it is something Democrats must unite to do.

Except for some number of Bernie supporters who hate Hillary more than they ever liked him, his supporters are heeding that message, flocking to Hillary at an unexpectedly fast pace.

The rest are at risk of being manipulated by pro-Donald provocateurs, who are trying to incite a foreign policy restructuring deeply tied to white nationalism.

And who are being abetted by media who are putting their thumbs on the scale to keep this contest a horserace, no matter the cost to the nation.

There are people who will read this and believe that I am merely ginning up outrage to use as a cudgel to coerce other people into voting for the candidate I supported in the primary. I cannot state this more plainly: That is simply not something I do.

I am not a religious person, and the closest I have to a sacred ritual is voting. When this country was founded, a lot of people were disenfranchised from the voting process; I would have been among them. I have profound and abiding respect for history of marginalized people having to fight for their right to vote – a fight which continues to this day. And I don’t tell people how to use their vote.

But I will tell you how I use mine: If the situation were reversed, and it were Bernie who were facing down Donald, I would be raising the same alarm. And Bernie would have my vote.

We are writing a significant historical moment in United States history. When we look back on this time, will the end of the story be grief that we allowed this to happen, or will it be relief that we averted it?

I am casting a vote for relief.

I will be casting that vote because I support Hillary for who she is and what she believes in, because I do not support Donald, because I fear the sinister plans he has for this country and the world, and because I refuse to let my vote be dictated by agitators with nefarious schemes.

This is a scary time. And we must be clear about the forces conspiring to elevate Donald into a position from which he can alter forever what tenuous security and stability we currently enjoy.

(AP Photo)