A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News, July 25, 2018.
.I would wish none of this on anyone, but it is beginning again. Dictators and autocrats like Putin of Russia and Erdogan of Turkey cloak themselves with words and sham elections which are neither free nor do they allow serious opposition, jailing or killing them or denying them access to media. Donald . Trump admires both of them publicly and is trying to copy their methods. Trump is promoting TV and other media outlets that suppress negative news and data , calling critics "enemies of the people", .dishonest their news 'fake". His racist oratory gins up fear and loathing of immigrants with lies about their crime rate, increases in migrant border crossings, and the cost to the treasury which, if based on his own government's data, are the exact opposite of his rhetoric. Like modern autocrats, he contends he can act above the law, claiming he cannot be prosecuted for certain actions, and he has power to pardon himself and his administration’s loyalists.
Free and secure elections are the foundation of American democracy. Destroy our faith in their outcome, and we have dealt our democracy a fundamental blow. Russian meddling in 2016 set about to do just that While there is no provable evidence Russians changed the 2016 election's outcome, Special Counsel Robert Mueller documented in his recent inictments that Russians have demonstrated they have the capability to penetrate our election systems to wreck havoc on the outcome .and to turn elections into shams we cannot trust.
So why am I worried about American democracy's future? So many do not care. Per a July 19 CBS poll found 61% of Rebublicans are little or not at all concerned about Russian election meddling , while Trump maintains 44% job approval by all voters polled, according to a yougov/Economist poll July 15-17. The GOP House just voted to turn down funding state elections systems to enhance etheir cyber security defense measures . Democracy is fragile, and its survival depends upon the strong support of the governed. That support is teetering on the edge in a closely divided nation.
Last week GOP House members even refused to fund state election systems' enhanced cyber security, claiming voter ID laws would keep Russians out. Voter ID has nothing to do with the control Russia can have over your vote. Stupid is as stupid does.