In 2018 just after Presidents Putin and Trump met in Helsinki, PBS ran a poll on American’s beliefs that Russia had interfered with the elections in this country. The results were depressing.
The survey was simple. The only question was “Was there interference from Russia in the last election?”. The possible answers were There Was, There Was Not, and Not Sure.
Of all the Republicans polled, 51% believed there was and another 8% were not sure. Of registered voters the numbers were even worse; 70% believed there was, while only 7% were not sure. A higher number of Democrats, not surprisingly, were surer there had been tampering.
The very idea is revolting
The idea of a foreign power influencing the outcome of the US election is abhorrent. The idea that America is the leader of the modern world is nonsense if another country can so easily influence our elections.
Basically, it makes the manipulator the leader of the modern world, not the US. When this came to be public knowledge surely it should have invalidated the whole process. Ask yourself, are you happy with someone from another country electing your president?
The problem is we are used to it
Now to pile horror on horror, the reason why Americans are not requiring a do-over is that we are used to systemic election manipulation.
There are two main ways this happens: Gerrymandering is one way, voter disenfranchisement is the other.
Gerrymandering is the management of the boundaries of voting districts or division such that one party is in a dominant position. This has been done by both sides of the divide. But the way things stand at the moment, the map which is currently Republican-drawn means they hold an additional 22 seats which they would not otherwise.
Voter disenfranchisement is stopping someone who should have the right to vote from doing so. The problem is that enfranchisement varies from state to state. In certain states, a person who has a criminal record, but has served their sentence, is still not allowed to vote. The ACLU estimates that fully 5.85million voters have been denied the right to vote based on this alone. Making this an increasingly pernicious policy, this rule disenfranchises specific areas of the population – 13% of black men have lost their right to vote.
The requirement for identification is another measure which decreases voter turnout. Study after study has proven there are not scores of unregistered voters turning up. Rather the opposite. The measure discourages legitimate voters from showing up on the day.
This country is changing
As November 2018 comes increasingly closer, the effects of the recent, seemingly unending scandals will surely become visible. As the population tires of dirty laundry being aired, as people of integrity decide they can no longer be silent surely change is around the corner?
What we need is leadership from people of gravitas and stature – people who can restore the position of America. What we have is neither.