What do we have if we don't have real elections?
It is now only a matter of time before a story breaks that completely undermines what's left of the faith that Americans have as regards the integrity of our elections. The continually blithe dismissal of Russian ratfcking on behalf of the president*'s campaign by much of the conservative majorities in Washington is one contributing factor. The relentless campaign to suppress the franchise of certain inconvenient voters all over the country, exemplified best by the fox-in-the-henhouse appointment of Kris Kobach to head the laughingly named Election Integrity Commission, is another.
(The Wichita Eagle recently reported that Kobach got right on the job even before the commission existed, dropping a line to the transition team almost immediately after last November's election.)
So, given all this, if you wanted to reduce the confidence in the system even more, you wouldn't have to monkey with the results. All you'd have to do is show that you could hack into the election infrastructure.
The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the voter registration system in South Carolina was attacked nearly 150,000 times on Election Day last November, mostly by automated bots. You may recall that, earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security reported that the election systems in 21 states were attacked by hackers in the weeks prior to the election. Nobody goes to all this effort aimed this precisely just to steal personal data. It is beyond past time to heed the advice of former DHS secretary Jeh Johnson and declare the election systems of the several states to be a critical part of the national infrastructure. The onus now clearly is on the opposition to this measure to explain why they are so dead set against protecting the most vital element of our politics against intrusion, vandalism, and god alone knows what else. They should be asked why they're rendering our politics into a kind of cheap vaudeville wrestling act.
The country's faith in self-government is being tested at almost every level, and as severely as it has been tested in what is alleged to be peacetime at any time in its history. The self-defense reflexes of American democracy have slowed. The strength of self-government has atrophied. The American experiment stands or falls based on the participation of the people on elections that they perceive to be fair and unratfcked. That is the act of faith in self-government at its most basic. Right now, that faith is cracking at its foundation and teetering dangerously, and too few people seem to care.