America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference
Historian and foreign policy analyst graduated from Yale and has written for the New York Times, the New Yorker and Foreign Affairs. In Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference Shimer covers a hundred years of election meddling by the US and Russia. He focused primarily on the post World War II era where the Soviet Union manipulates the elections in Eastern Europe to install puppet regimes and the US intervenes in the Italian elections to prevent the ascendancy of the Italian Communist Party. He also lays bare US meddling in Latin America culminating in the overthrow of Chile's Allende. Russian US election meddling dates from the end of World War II and grows in intensity and scale under Putin. Shimer describes why Putin considers the US a threat and why he will try to destabilize the country by any means at his disposal. Shimer details the level of disgust Putin has for Hillary Clinton. His dislike is up close and personal and is fueled by her gender, her intelligence and her actions as Secretary of State. Shimer gives a lot of detail on what wasn't done by the Obama administration and others regarding Russian meddling leading up to the election of Trump. He paints Obama as gutless and unwilling to face a confrontation with Putin over election meddling. Obama's post election sanctions amounted to a weak slap on Putin's wrist. Shimer criticizes the Obama administration for not providing enough information to the public. Shimer paints an even less attractive portrait of Mitch McConnell. He hammers the US intelligence community for not seeing and understanding the level of Russian systematic manipulation on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that allowed Russian to convert these into effective weapons of election manipulation. These efforts focused on depressing the black vote and firing up the Trump base by exacerbating racial tensions. Shimer's report on the degree of the manipulation and the sophistication of the Russian effort is chilling. He estimates that the Russians reached over 100 million American voters. Shimer argues that democracies are only corrupted when they have leaders that allow it and he calls for new leadership. He does not delve into why we have leadership that ignores the threats to democracy and allow the corruption of democracy to continue unabated. Shimer's analysis provides levels of detail about election rigging not found in many other places but his analysis falls short for not getting into the underlying inequities that fuel election rigging in this country. Despite these criticisms, this is a good and an important book for understanding the extent of election medling in the US.
Buy David Shimer Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference from Amazon.com