The Mueller Report Exposes U.S. Election Weaknesses

Paul R. Pillar
Reuters

Paul R. Pillar

Security, Americas

"America First" should translate into defending democracy at home before trying to defend it abroad.

The Mueller Report Exposes U.S. Election Weaknesses

It would be a profound mistake to overlook the Mueller report’s detailed account of a foreign government’s multifaceted efforts to interfere in a U.S. election. Russian efforts extended not only to the already well-known trolling and manipulation of opinion but also to hacking that included attempted intrusions into county election offices and election technology companies, according to special counsel Robert Mueller. Although there is no evidence that the intrusions changed any vote totals, the first lesson about foreign governments and U.S. elections is clear: beware of such governments—and not just Russia—as a possible threat to the independence and integrity of U.S. elections.

Another lesson worth learning involves not what foreign governments do that is threatening but instead the favorable example they set for how the United States could do better—much better—in conducting its own elections. It is easy to find such exemplars among the stable, well-established democracies of, say, Western Europe. But lessons can also be drawn from countries that are less western and where democracy is less well-established. A couple of such countries have been holding elections this month.

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