Safeguarding Our Democracy

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Let’s begin with two simple facts: (1)  In 2016, agents of the Russian government tried to help Donald Trump win the presidential election. (2)  While we shall never know whether or not they changed the outcome, they succeeded in raising doubts about the integrity of future elections. Donald Trump often revisits his great electoral victory over Hillary Clinton at his rallies with his adoring followers. But he is especially sensitive to any questions about the legitimacy of his victory, and to charges that Russian intervention enabled him to win.


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Now let’s move on to the obvious question: Will the Russians, who presumably have sharpened their tools of electoral subversion, make perhaps an even greater effort to support Trump in 2020 than they did four years earlier? In his July 24th testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Special Counsel John Mueller stated that the Russians were still doing it “as we sit here.”

What do you think? Has there been a falling out between Trump and Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin? Or are they still buddies? Is Trump in denial about Russian intervention or does he secretly welcome it, while pretending to look the other way?

What measures has our commander-in-chief ordered to thwart the Russians – and perhaps other foreign adversaries – from subverting our electoral processes? One would think that he would not be too shy to boast about everything he has been doing to keep our democracy safe – or at least about his great plan to thwart the Russians.

But, given our president’s long business history of cheating his contractors, his congenital inability to tell the truth, and his monumental ego, it’s reasonable to assume that holding a fair elections is not at the top of his to-do list.

So here we have the world’s greatest democracy headed by a man who is no democrat in any sense of the word. What are the chances that he’s kept up nights worrying about the Russian intervention and subverting the bedrock of our nation’s governance – fair and honest elections.

And yet, Mr. Trump and his Republican allies have actually gone to great lengths to safeguard the integrity of our electoral process. Why else would they pass stringent laws requiring that voters show government-issued photo IDs? Or cull hundreds of thousands of names from the voting rolls every year, simply because these folks didn’t vote in the last election or failed to respond to a mailing. Or bar former convicts from ever voting?

You would think that a man who had sworn to protect us and uphold our laws would be mad as hell that a foreign power had attacked our nation. But our president, a man who has spent his entire life putting himself first, is not lifting a finger to defend us. But hey: his loyal followers still love him! After all, he’s just Trump being Trump.

About the Author

Steve Slavin
Steve Slavin has a Ph.D. in economics from NYU, and has written twenty math and economics books, including “The Great American Economy: How Inefficiency Broke It, and What We Can Do to Fix it.” The 12th edition of his introductory economics text came out in September.