Russia meddled in U.S. elections and colluded with Donald Trump to rig the 2016 presidential race. The charge is made incessantly by the mainstream media. Yet despite the uproar, is this the first time a foreign government has attempted to influence a U.S. election? The Daily Signal’s Fred Lucas has extensively researched this issue, determining that France first attempted to interfere in our election process by colluding with Thomas Jefferson to defeat John Adams in the 1796 U.S. presidential campaign. And such activity hasn’t stopped since.
Dick Morris, a former advisor to Bill Clinton, has said, “Foreign intervention in elections is the norm, not the exception.” He could have been talking about the United States itself, which throughout history has attempted to influence elections in places as disparate as Vietnam, Iran, Guatamala, Serbia, Nicaragua, Chile, Iraq, Afghanistan and Italy; sometimes resorting to assassination to gain the desired outcome. More recently, the Obama administration even sent top political advisers to Israel in the hope of preventing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election in 2015.
But what about the Russians? Paul Kengor, political science professor at Grove City College, claims Russia inserted itself into America’s elections as far back as 1948. Democrats didn’t care then because their own Harry Truman occupied the White House. Today, they’re still melting down over Hillary’s defeat.
Kengor goes further. During the 1948 presidential race, the Soviets directly supported the American Progressive Party, whose presidential candidate was former VP Henry Wallace. President Truman’s anti-Russian policy and subsequent firing of Wallace as secretary of commerce ultimately led Wallace to disavow the Democrat party.
Unbeknownst to Wallace, both the Progressive Party and his campaign organization were infiltrated by Russian operatives. He would eventually finish fourth behind Truman, winning just 2% of the popular vote.
Later, following the 1960 U.S. presidential campaign, Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev boasted of influencing the victory of JFK by deciding against the release of captured U.S. pilot Gary Powers to the Eisenhower administration. And though some doubted its impact, the Russians weren’t among them.
Then, in what some would consider outright attempts at real collusion, Senator Ted Kennedy secretly reached out to the Russians during his 1980 and 1984 presidential runs. According to Kengor, in 1980 Kennedy dispatched former California Senator John Tunney to tell Russian officials of his support for the policies of Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and of his concern about political tensions created by President Jimmy Carter.
Again in 1983, Kennedy made positive overtures to Russian President Yuri Andropov, via the prospect of U.S. television interviews directed at American voters, in an attempt to derail the re-election of President Reagan.
Should one choose to go further down the path of influencing elections, Carnegie Mellon scholar Dov Levin found that between 1946 and 2000, the U.S. made 81 attempts to affect foreign elections, while the Russians made a minimum of 36.
Ironically, according to Scott Shane of the New York Times, one of the U.S. election interventions occurred during the 1996 Russian presidential election. The Clinton administration, fearing that Boris Yeltsin would be defeated for re-election by a hard-line Communist, actively pushed the International Monetary Fund to issue a $10 billion loan to Russia leading up to the vote and supplied him with a team of hotshot political consultants. In the end, Yeltsin was victorious. Today, American taxpayer-funded groups continue to provide millions of dollars in cash grants to opponents of Vladimir Putin, the man Americans have come to associate with influencing U.S. elections.
As if we haven’t heard enough about Russia’s role in our own election process, literally no one mentions the Chinese threat. This despite the fact that the China was linked to untold millions in contributions to the 1996 Clinton re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Again, although this action failed to ultimately swing the election, it did assist the Chinese in obtaining U.S. computer, missile and satellite technologies.
As for clownish ringmaster Robert Mueller’s ongoing circus tour masquerading as a Trump collusion investigation, the fact remains that the Russians at worst spread lots of money and misinformation around to undercut our 2016 election. Meanwhile, no proof exists whatsoever that any votes were changed.
History makes clear that election manipulation has been around forever. And today, the “deep state” feels so threatened it doesn’t even attempt to conceal its pursuit of the ultimate election fix: removing a legally elected U.S. president from office just because it thinks it can.
Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a firstname.lastname@example.org.