"Moscow Mitch,'' the "Russian asset.''
In this Donald Trump-led era of personal attacks and political incivility, those labels are being generously applied to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
National media reports indicate the Kentucky Republican is quite bothered by them, even rebutting them on the Senate floor.
In a word - good. McConnell should be bothered.
He blocked two election security measures from possible Senate passage literally the day after the nation heard former special counsel Robert Mueller testify that Russia is already trying to impact the 2020 elections.
FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered that same basic message the day before Mueller spoke, and a Senate Intelligence Committee report that week also noted how Russia essentially tried to hack the elections systems in all 50 states in 2016.
Clearly, America's election system still faces serious threats.
It's frustrating the majority leader of the U.S. Senate won't engage in addressing them despite key leaders and experts within the Trump administration warning of potential peril.
The lone bit of good news? The knowledge to secure our elections exists, and smart people are working on keeping ahead of the developments that are inevitably ahead.
For example, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon recently traveled the state to explain how his office will use about $6.6 million in federal funds to secure the state's election system.
In addition to hiring a cyber-security expert who will work with all counties, his long-range goal is to update the state's voter registration system. It launched in 2004, the same year Facebook started and cell (read flip) phones started boasting of 1-megapixel cameras.
In fact, the Brennan Center for Justice released a bipartisan report in July that pointed out about 40 states face similar challenges.
The center also noted that while Congress and the president provided $380 million to states to fix their biggest problems after 2016, virtually all states have used that money and are now lacking the funds needed to make already-identified changes that could help fend off potential foreign threats.
Here is just one shining example: The center says 11 states are using completely paperless balloting, which makes those systems especially vulnerable to hacking. In fact, having a paper ballot - something once seen as outdated - is gaining ground as the key to securing America's election results.
Yet McConnell does not want the U.S. Senate to examine such solutions.
Sorry, senator, America needs a commitment to do what's right for the very foundation of a democracy. And it needs that commitment now. Every eligible vote must be counted to make sure this nation's enemies - within and beyond our borders - don't take control.
St. Cloud times, Aug. 2