Wednesday, November 25, 2020-5:50 AM
Last Thursday, Trump’s campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani insisted on a widespread voting plot involving Venezuela, Cuba and China.
Another lawyer, Sydney Powell, claims that Donald Trump has won the landslide, overturning the entire Swing State election, and Congress needs to confirm that the elector is elected President of the United States.
The Republican National Committee joined in support of her false claim that Mr. Trump had a landslide victory, but Michigan election authorities tried to suspend the vote.
It is unlikely that their efforts will prevent him from becoming President of Joe Biden. But for shocking reasons, they can still do permanent damage to American democracy. The move comes from a trusted insider.
Since the 2016 Russian Disinformation Campaign, the vulnerability of American democracy to disinformation has been very news. I am concerned that outsiders, whether foreign or domestic, may undermine the system by influencing public opinion and election results.
This is half correct. Democracy in the United States is an information system, and information is a citizen’s belief, not a bit or a part-time job. If people’s trust in the democracy is undermined, democracy will fail.
However, as information security experts know, attacks by outsiders are difficult. The Russian troll, who didn’t really understand how American politics worked, had a hard time actually destroying it.
What you really need to worry about is when insiders get worse. And that’s exactly what happened in the 2020 presidential election. In traditional information systems, insiders are people who have both in-depth knowledge and a high level of access, and can circumvent security measures and destroy the system more effectively.
In democracy, insiders are not only the officials who control voting, but also the politicians who shape what people believe in politics. Mr. Trump has been trying to dismantle our common belief in democracy for four years. And now his fellow Republicans are helping him.
Democracy works when all of us expect the votes to be counted fairly and the defeated candidate resigns. As democracy theorist Adam Przeworski puts it, democracy is a “system in which political parties lose elections.” These beliefs can collapse when political insiders make false claims about common fraud and try to stick to power when elections oppose them.
It is clear how these types of claims undermine Republican voters’ commitment to democracy. They consider elections to be fraudulent by the other side and do not accept voters’ judgment if they violate their priority candidates. Their belief that the Biden administration is illegal would justify all sorts of measures to prevent it from working.
It is not very clear that these strategies also affect democratic voters’ confidence in democracy. The Democratic Party is paying attention to Republican efforts to prevent votes from Democratic voters, especially black Democratic voters, from being counted. They too are likely to lose confidence in future elections, and for good reason. They would expect Republicans to attempt to tamper with the system against them. Mr. Trump has been struggling to win unfairly because he has been defeated in several states. But what if Mr. Biden’s winning margin depends on only one state? What if that happens in the next election?
Confusion and destruction
The real fear is that this leads to a spiral of distrust and destruction. Republicans, who are increasingly committed to the idea that Democrats are committing widespread fraud, will do everything they can to win and, if they can, stick to it. Democrats look at what Republicans are doing and, in turn, try to settle themselves. They suspect that if the Republicans really win power, they will never return it. Republican claims such as Utah senator Mike Leigh that the United States is not really democracy may be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
More likely, this spiral will not directly lead to the death of American democracy. The US federal government system is complex and difficult for a single party or coalition to have full control. But it may turn American democracy into an infeasible conflict between two hostile camps that do not want to give in to their adversaries.
We know how to make the voting itself more open and secure. Literature is full of important and important suggestions. The more difficult question is this: how do you change the collective belief among Republicans that elections are fraudulent?
Political science suggests that partisans are likely to be persuaded by fellow partisans such as Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Lafenceparger, who said election fraud is not a major issue. There is. But this is only effective if other well-known Republicans support him.
Alternatively, public anger can retreat authorities, such as when people flocked to blame the Michigan Republican election authorities for denying proof of their vote.
But the fundamental problem is Republican insiders who are convinced that in order to maintain and retain power, they need to abandon the common beliefs that connect American democracy.
They may have long-term concerns about the consequences, but in the short term, unless they force voters, wealthy donors, or others on which they depend to pay short-term costs. Do nothing about those concerns. NYTIMES