Monday’s meltdown in compiling the Iowa Democratic caucus results, along with the compelling evidence that President Trump sought to pressure a foreign nation into helping him with the 2020 election, reminds you more than ever of how crucial democracy is to America.
The decades when the United States could cruise along on autopilot, taking for granted that its elections would be accurate and fair, not to mention efficient, have come to an end.
A key example: The American intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Whether the interference tipped that particular election is another question. At the end of the day, even with whatever interference the Russians could bring to the table, Hillary Clinton lost the election more than Donald Trump won it.
But the Russians arguably helped keep Mr. Trump in the game, orchestrating the release of embarrassing internal Clinton emails in the hours after the release of the devastating “Access Hollywood” tape.
More broadly, the Russians, still trying to play catch-up to the United States after the dissolution of the Soviet empire, saw a chance to sow mischief in the American electoral process, and did so.
When you and your fellow voters cast your ballots, you have the right to expect that they will be counted fairly, without being hacked by enemy nations or waylaid by faulty software.It was a low-investment effort that promised potentially high returns. Why not try it?
And now, four years later—having succeeded likely even more than they hoped, helping a pro-Russia president gain the White House—why not try it again?
The Russians also have pointed the way for other nations to engage in mischief in the coming American election.
It’s a way to sow internal division and doubt in the United States, weakening a nation that they would never dare to challenge in a head-to-head military conflict.
These enemies are benefiting from the de facto assistance of President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who downplay the threat posed by foreign actors and aren’t keen to provide resources to protect pending elections from outside interference.
Add to this the failure to quickly release the results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses—a failure being blamed on a software glitch—and you sow further doubt among the electorate about participating in elections.
Not helping the case, of course, is President Trump, always ready to imply that something he doesn’t care for is “rigged.”
This comes, ironically, at a time when participating in elections is more important than ever in America. The decades of cruise control, when many citizens may have felt there was little difference between the two major parties (and so why even bother voting?) also have come to an end.
The Republicans and the Democrats are putting forward very different visions of what they believe this nation should be. Whatever your beliefs, now is not the time to stand on the sidelines.
Further, when you and your fellow voters cast your ballots, you have the right to expect that they will be counted fairly, without being hacked by enemy nations or waylaid by faulty software.
Democracy is sacred in America. If democracy fails, this isn’t America anymore.