[Commentary] For the better part of 20 years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has engaged in a relentless assault against democratic institutions abroad, universal values and the rule of law.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has systematically attacked democratic institutions across Europe and in his own country for two decades in efforts to undermine elections and other governments, Senate Democrats charged. Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued a 206-page report that said President Trump’s failure to recognize the danger or to challenge Putin means Russia is likely to interfere in the next US presidential race in a repeat of the 2016 campaign.
As the political world looks to apply the lessons of Donald Trump’s victory to future campaigns, one of the few clear conclusions is that Facebook played an outsized role in propelling the candidate to his improbable win.
The company’s ability to affordably target hyper-specific audiences with little to no transparency gives it a distinct advantage over other forms of media, researchers and political operatives believe. Political ads on Facebook have fueled controversy. They spread Russian propaganda and reportedly helped the Trump team suppress black support for Hillary Clinton and aided a conservative political action committee in targeting swing voters with scaremongering anti-refugee ads. Yet the backlash is unlikely to dissuade future campaigns from deploying one of Facebook’s most potent tools. Even the threat of new regulation governing the disclosure rules for political ads on social media can’t stunt the company’s stock price, which continues to reach new heights. If anything, the controversies appear to be functioning like a giant advertisement for the effectiveness of Facebook’s political advertising business.
“I don’t lose sleep over Facebook’s business. I lose sleep over the future of democracy,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia.
New financial disclosures President Donald Trump’s re-election committee filed Oct 15 with the Federal Election Commission tell a story of two Trump campaigns. On one end, Trump, both by choice and circumstance, remains tethered to his 2016 presidential election effort. A federal investigation is probing whether he or his political aides colluded with Russians, and Trump himself frequently skewers his Democratic foil, Hillary Clinton, as if he didn’t defeat her in November.
Trump’s campaign committee this summer spent more than $1 million on legal bills, disclosures show — much ostensibly stemming from the Russia controversy. All the while, Trump is racing forward with unprecedented haste to win re-election in 2020. He’s conducting campaign rallies and raising millions of dollars in cash despite no one of stature — save, perhaps, for Rep John Delaney (D-MD)— yet running against him.
Right now, the Census Bureau is attempting to gather the addresses of every person living in America in preparation for Census 2020. Without proper funding, some outreach will get cut. On top of that, another bad hacking incident like what happened with Equifax could scare people into not responding, especially online.
If a lot of people aren’t responding, the Census Bureau will likely have to rely on “Plan C” to use data to fill in the blanks for people the bureau couldn’t reach in person. It’s a largely untested tactic. Indivar Dutta-Gupta, a data expert and co-director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, is especially worried about a scenario where the government starts relying on commercial data collected from firms such as Experian, which typically undercount low-income people. “To know someone is between 25 and 40 is all commercial databases care about. That’s not good enough for the census,” said Dutta-Gupta.
President Donald Trump is methodically building a 2020 reelection campaign machine, shunting aside doubts about his viability for a second term as controversy consumes the early months of his administration. President Trump is mapping out a fall fundraising tour that is expected to fill his campaign bank account with tens of millions of dollars. His team has tracked dozens of potential Democratic rivals, a list of names that ranges from Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. And his administration has received political advice from a top campaign pollster from his 2016 campaign, who has urged the president to keep up his attacks on the mainstream media.
[Commentary] The American people are far greater than the sum of our political parties. It is time for us to rise above our broken politics and renew the spirit that enabled us to achieve the seemingly impossible. This is why I am running for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
Our government is hamstrung by excessive partisanship. We are letting critical opportunities to improve the country pass us by. And we are not even talking about the most important thing: the future. The victims of this leadership failure are the good people we are sworn to serve, and we are leaving our country ill-prepared for dramatic changes ahead. The current administration is making us less prosperous and less secure. I’m running because I have an original approach to governing and economic policy that can put us on a different course.
On June 28, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity issued a letter requesting that states provide publicly available voter data as permitted under their state laws. At present, 20 states have agreed to provide the publicly available information requested by the Commission and another 16 states are reviewing which information can be released under their state laws. In all, 36 states have either agreed or are considering participating with the Commission's work to ensure the integrity of the American electoral system. While there are news reports that 44 states have "refused" to provide voter information to the Commission, these reports are patently false, more "fake news". At present, only 14 states and the District of Columbia have refused the Commission's request for publicly available voter information. Despite media distortions and obstruction by a handful of state politicians, this bipartisan commission on election integrity will continue its work to gather the facts through public records requests to ensure the integrity of each American's vote because the public has a right to know.
[Kris Kobach (R-KS) is Kansas Secretary of State and Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity]
Officials in nearly every state say they cannot or will not turn over all of the voter data President Trump’s voting commission is seeking, dealing what could be a serious blow to Trump’s attempts to bolster his claims that widespread fraud cost him the popular vote in November.
The commission’s request for a massive amount of state-level data last week included asking for all publicly available information about voter rolls in the states, such as names of all registrants, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers and other data. It immediately encountered criticism and opposition, with some saying it could lead to an invasion of privacy and others worrying about voter suppression. The states that won’t provide all of their voter data grew to a group of at least 44 by Wednesday, including some, such as California and Virginia, that said they would provide nothing to the commission. Others said they are hindered by state laws governing what voter information can be made public but will provide what they can.