Real Cases of Election Interference

By Tyler Bauer

For the past two years, we have heard time and time again about how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. We still haven’t seen any legitimate proof, tough (click here and here for more on that). This morning, I figured I’d take a look at actual cases of election interference by foreign governments.

But first, let’s clarify something about foreign governments interfering in elections. It is extremely common. In fact, it’s a way of life for governments. If you don’t believe me, just look at this list. (This list doesn’t involve foreign-supported coups or revolts, by the way. This is purely election interference.) Clearly, most – if not all – countries have attempted to interfere in another country’s elections, so let’s not act like Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election is the end of the world. If election interference was the end of the world, the world would’ve ended a long time ago.

Which country do you think has interfered in the most elections? Maybe Russia and the Soviet Union, our Cold War enemy? No. How about the United Kingdom, which has been a great power for centuries? Neither of these countries even come close to being the lead source of election interference. The worst perpetrator of election interference is, by far, the United States of America.

By our own government’s admission, the United States interfered in eighty-one foreign elections between 1946 and 2000. Only one-third of that interference was done out in the open – the remaining two-thirds was done covertly. During that same time span, the Soviet Union interfered in thirty-six elections. This isn’t a small number by any means, but it’s less than half as many elections as we interfered in. If fingers should be pointed at any country, I think they should be pointed at us.

I’m not writing this in an attempt to defend Russia or justify countries interfering in foreign elections. First, we don’t even know if Russia interfered in our election. Second, even if Russia did interfere in our election, we’re the far bigger problem in this area. If we want to talk about the sanctity of democracy and the importance of free and fair elections, we should start to act like it. Election interference has been a common practice of ours, and protecting democracy starts with us. If we are actually serious about promoting democracy, we can be the change we want to see in the world. Until we stop interfering in other country’s elections, we shouldn’t be so critical of countries that allegedly interfere in our elections.

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