Each day, we learn more about how foreign sources use our own campaign finance laws and social media opportunities to try to influence U.S. elections.
We only have ourselves to blame if we don’t demand accountability from candidates, political action committees and Congress. We must require them all to face up to this ugly truth. A core principle of American democracy, free and fair elections, is under attack. None of us can stay on the sidelines as bad actors attempt to tamper with the outcome of presidential elections and foment doubt about our democratic processes.
Shining a public spotlight on these connections is the best way to unmask the threat. Ruth May, a business professor at the University of Dallas and an expert on the economies of Russia and Ukraine, wrote a compelling connect-the-dots commentary for The Dallas Morning News on this very point. After scouring publicly available campaign finance reports, she spotted troubling connections between wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their legal political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders.
May is not the only one to document the assault and the depths of this danger. Washington Post reporters recently detailed how at least two administrations saw signs but failed to act. Former President Barack Obama naively dismissed early warnings of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and President Donald Trump has gone to great lengths to push back against mounting evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to build a disinformation campaign. Denial and inaction aren’t in this nation’s best interest.
We better get a lot smarter and faster. This includes rethinking how our campaign finance laws and social media bots are being used against us. In a nation that cherishes freedom, that’s easier said than done. Nonetheless, we must have this conversation and be prepared to defend ourselves.
It’s time to develop a comprehensive strategy to protect the integrity of our elections. If we don’t, Russia and other bad actors will double down, and that cannot be tolerated.
This editorial was written by the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or Aim Media, owner of The Lima News.