Tuesday, February 4, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He helped spread conspiracy theories about American elections.

Democrats in Iowa were embarrassed by a faulty app that has delayed the reporting of results of last night's caucuses. Predictably, Trump had a little fun at their expense—but he, his family, and his campaign moved quickly into promoting false conspiracy theories. The central theme was that shadowy forces are conspiring to rig elections in America, and that Democratic voters are being attacked by their own party.

It's all pretty familiar territory for Trump. In 2016, when he lost the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz, Trump spent weeks complaining without any evidence that they'd been rigged. When he lost the popular vote in the 2016 general election, he created a commission to find evidence of the "millions" of imaginary non-citizen voters who he said had illegally voted for Hillary Clinton. 

Trump's electoral college victory in 2016 was helped by pro-Trump Russian government propaganda and disinformation campaigns aimed at American citizens. It included a cyberattack that stole Democratic National Committee e-mails and used them to try to drive a wedge between supporters of Clinton and her closest rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders. The Russian effort was aided by extremely detailed voter data it was given by Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm paid by the Trump administration. Trump's closest political advisor, Steve Bannon, was its vice-president.

Trump publicly refused to abide by the results of the 2016 election unless he won, and has "joked" about staying in office no matter what many times since.

So what?

  • The only reason to attack democracy is if you think you wouldn't win a fair election.