Election Interference Where When How By Whom
Why does our government get upset over foreign powers interfering with our elections? Wouldn’t you think our software engineers are good enough to prevent this? What can our country expect? And why keep clamoring about it when our own country has been interfering in other countries elections for years? Turn about is fair play isn’t it. It is to be expected. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The Democrats just want us to think this is something brand new and that the Republicans are behind it, or perhaps the Russians, or perhaps Bernie’s crew. Who cares?
If Mayor Michael Bloomberg cannot change the votes after spending nearly one half billion dollars already and barely bumping his numbers, do you think smaller foreign countries can do so? Seems unlikely to me. Our country has a long history of interfering in other countries elections when we think it will be to our benefit. One study says the USA has interfered in 81 foreign elections between 1946 and 2000. During this same time period, Russia intervened in 36 elections. A 2018 study by Levin found that the electoral interventions determined in "many cases" the identity of the winner.
The following is paraphrased from The Atlantic, by Peter Beinart, Professor of Journalism at the City University of New York.
Discussing America’s history of electoral interference is a necessity. It’s necessary so Americans can determine how to respond. The less Americans know about America’s history of electoral interference, the more likely they are to acquiesce to its return. That’s dangerous because, historically, American meddling has done far more to harm democracy than promote it. Imagine that.
What many Russians, but few Americans, know is that 20 years before Russia tried to swing an American presidential election, America tried to swing a presidential election in Russia. The year was 1996. Boris Yeltsin was seeking a second term, and Bill Clinton desperately wanted to help. “I want this guy to win so bad,” he told Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, “it hurts.”
Clinton liked Yeltsin personally. He considered him Russia’s best hope for embracing democracy and capitalism, and he appreciated Yeltsin’s acquiescence during NATO’s march eastward, into the former Soviet bloc.
Unfortunately for Clinton, ordinary Russians appreciated their leader far less. Yeltsin’s “shock-therapy” economic reforms had reduced the government’s safety net and produced a spike in unemployment and inflation. Between 1990 and 1994, the average life expectancy among Russian men had dropped by an astonishing six years. When Yeltsin began his re-election campaign in January 1996, his approval rating stood at 6 percent, lower than Stalin’s.
So, the Clinton administration sprang into action. It lobbied the International Monetary Fund to give Russia a $10 billion loan, some of which Yeltsin distributed to woo voters. Upon arriving in a given city, he often announced, “My pockets are full.”
Three of Clinton’s American political consultants went to work on Yeltsin’s re-election bid. Every week Clinton received reports on the Yeltsin campaign’s internal polling. And before traveling to meet Yeltsin in April, Clinton, his confidant is what he should say, in Moscow to boost his Yeltsin’s campaign.
It worked. In a stunning turnaround, Yeltsin who had begun the campaign in last place defeated his communist rival in the election’s final round by 13 percentage points. Talbott declared that “a number of international observers have judged this to be a free and fair election.” But Michael Meadowcroft, a Brit who led the election-observer team of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, later claimed there had been widespread voter fraud, which he had been pressured not to expose.
In Chechnya, which international observers believe contained fewer than 500,000 adults, one million people voted. Yeltsin despite prosecuting a brutal war in the region won exactly 70 percent. “They’d been bombed out of existence, and there they were all supposedly voting for Yeltsin,” exclaimed Meadowcroft. “It’s like what happens in Cameroon.” Thomas Graham, who served as the chief political analyst at the U.S. embassy in Moscow during the campaign, later conceded that Clinton officials knew the election wasn’t truly fair. “This was a classic case,” he admitted, “of the ends justifying the means.”
So perhaps some of the time when we are reading about election interference, we should remember that the world does it, and some better than others I would bet. Perhaps the end justifies the means sometimes. We just have to make our elections fair. Kind of hard to do in a country where one party wants anyone to vote who is not even a citizen of our country. I don’t get it. And they are complaining about the Russians????
God bless all of you. Rick Redalen, MD, Maverick Doctor
Pick up a copy of my book “God’s Tiniest Angel and the Last Unicorn,” available on Amazon.
Dr. Rick is a retired American physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has done mission work around the country and the world. He is now on a mission to improve healthcare in America. Visit maverickdoctor.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.