The 2016 Trump campaign was unlike any other campaign that America has ever seen. The highly publicized, and infamous candidate was anything but a politician. Rumors of Russian interference in the election, sex scandals, and controversial statements surrounded Trump as he neared his election day, and many were shocked when he still got elected. After his election a special council, led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, was created to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Up to current date, this counsel has gotten guilty pleas, or indicted 3 companies and 34 individuals.
The 2016 presidential election displayed a large amount of Democratic erosion and backsliding. As a group, we have discussed how there are a few occurrences that can help identify when democratic erosion is occurring. One of those things is manipulation of elections. During the 2016 presidential election, there are large pieces of evidence that point towards an interreference by Russia. The FBI began picking up signals that computers within the Democratic National Database were transmitting information to Russia. These incidences became more and more common as time went on. On July 22, 2016 Wikileaks published 20,000 emails obtained from the Democratic National Convention. These emails included personal information for many members of the democratic party, including their phone numbers, and personal email addresses. Homeland Security later put out a statement saying that they were certain that the Russian Government was responsible. These attacks were a direct manipulation of the United States presidential election. This leads to the conclusion that from early in 2015, until either the presidential election (or to current date); the American democracy was under attack.
Going beyond the Russian meddling into the actual election, the hackers used popular forms of social media, such as Facebook, in an attempt to influence constituents’ ideals, and beliefs. According to the New York Times, Russian Influence reached to as many as 126 million American citizens. In total “inflammatory posts that reached 126 million users on Facebook, published more than 131,000 messages on Twitter and uploaded over 1,000 videos to Google’s YouTube service.” The tactic was to drive the American people apart by using social media to spread news, often “fake news,” on LGBTQ issues, gun rights, race, and religion. These came in the form of ads, purchased from a Russian internet research company, fake accounts, and false Facebook pages. This created a split within our country that can easily contribute to the erosion of our democracy. This led to polarization that still currently affects our country.
This social media targeting was also a form of manipulating the election, because even though indirectly, it still affected how individuals voted on election day. Though our current president seems to be unbothered by the current investigation against him, it is more than possible that he was involved. Russian Collusion between the current United States president, and the Russian government is a serious threat to not only our national security, and the constitutional right to a free and fair election; but also the American democracy as we know it. �U0