comscore Election questions leave U.S. distrustful, like other nations | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Election questions leave U.S. distrustful, like other nations


    Hillary Clinton is blaming Russian interference for her defeat in the presidential race, casting her campaign as fodder in a long-running effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to discredit the fundamental tenants of American government.

WASHINGTON >> Americans’ enduring confidence that their elections are unimpeachably fair is teetering. Welcome to what much of the world calls reality, especially Russia’s neighbors.

While the United States cites its popular votes and peaceful transitions of power as examples of its democratic vigor, elections results elsewhere can entail a hint or heavy dose of suspicion. Ballots are rigged regularly, level playing fields are rare and bigger powers often meddle in the sovereign political processes of smaller nations.

Russia, accused by the CIA of helping Donald Trump in last month’s presidential election, is no stranger to accusations of interference with other countries’ elections. Nor is the United States.

Whether the full extent of the accusations of Russian interference turns out to be true, they already are damaging the legitimacy of the U.S. democratic process. When many citizens distrust their government, the media and other institutions of American life, doubts about the freeness and fairness of the elections cause consternation.

The outgoing Obama administration is reviewing the evidence of Russian hacking of emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta, and if such activity was designed to tilt the outcome toward Trump. Republican-led investigations are taking place in Congress.

Trump has denounced the claims as partisanship. “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!” he tweeted this past week.

The broader, systemic fear for the U.S. is that what was an anomaly in 2000 could start becoming the norm: elections that don’t produce presidents recognized by one and all.

Sixteen years ago, it was the disputed recount and incredibly close contest in Florida between Republican George W. Bush, the eventual winner, and Democrat Al Gore. Now, it is the question of whether Trump, who like Bush didn’t receive the majority of votes nationwide, would have prevailed in a race that didn’t include daily email revelations from the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

Trump may have contributed to the distrust. Before the Nov. 8 vote, he repeatedly suggested the election was “rigged” against him. A Pew Research Center survey shortly before Election Day showed 56 percent of Trump supporters having little to no trust in the fairness of the process. Only 11 percent of Clinton backers felt that way.

While the numbers may appear an anomaly in America, elections are hardly beyond reproach in much of the world.

Most of the world’s governments include some form of voting on national leaders. But most nations don’t qualify as “free,” according to the nongovernmental organization Freedom House.

The State Department also chronicles the shortcomings of countries in its annual reports, detailing which governments and leaders restrict freedom of expression, the press and open dissent before and during elections. Africa, Asia and the Middle East score particularly poorly, and the world’s most populous nation, China, remains a one-party state. Yet even some of Europe’s established democracies are appearing increasingly flawed.

Some fault may reside in foreign interference. In France, Germany and the Netherlands, officials are preoccupied with what they see as Russian moves to influence their elections through support for nationalist and populist parties, and efforts to delegitimize governments that haven’t done Moscow’s bidding.

German officials charge Russia with engineering hacks of Germany’s parliament. Elsewhere, the perceived meddling has come in the form of false news stories designed to sway voter sentiments. It was only 12 years ago that Ukraine’s eventual president became disfigured after he mysteriously ingested a lethal poison while campaigning against a pro-Moscow candidate.

Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe live with the memories of Soviet-manipulated votes ushering in communist dictatorships.

For them, cyberattacks may only be the newest weapon.

Russia denies that it interferes or plays favorites in foreign elections.

The United States has a dodgy record itself.

Its Cold War history includes cases when it ensured the victory of pro-capitalist and pro-democracy parties against communists, as in Italy after World War II. In other instances, Washington’s response to unfavorable results was coup d’etat, as in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s or Chile two decades later.

These days, the U.S. stresses level playing fields in foreign elections, a message that less-than-free governments often conflate with interference.

Washington says it remains strictly impartial as other nations make their democratic choices.

Yet top U.S. officials still play favorites, meeting opposition figures in some countries but not others. In rare cases they even take sides, as when President Barack Obama publicly urged Britain’s voters not to leave the European Union. He failed.

These efforts, however, differ from what Russia is accused of doing because they are out in the open. They do not involve claims of ballot tampering, illegal funding for parties or cyberhacking.

Comments (50)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

    This kind of fiasco never happens when the GOP loses.
    Attribute this DEM/LIB fisaco to Barack huINSANE Obama’s devisive racist ideology.
    This idiocy will end on…
    January 20, 2017 #MAGA

    • Boring, hypocrite! Just love you phony conservatives always accusing democrats of being sore losers when it wasn’t that long ago when you declared that Bill Clinton’s election was not legitimate because he did not receive a majority of the vote. Just remember that the Donald didn’t even receive a plurality.

      But what will be your reaction when the Donald plunges us into another recession, like GW did? Oh, I know Obama made him do it. lol

      • lol eh boots!
        No worries all your bs & hopeful innuendo will not happen!
        You LOST we WON…move on….get over it!
        Your immediate concern is to fix your party which is in complete & total DISARRAY! Keith Ellison & nan pelosi SERIOUSLY??!! lol

        January 20, 2017 #MAGA

        • The paranoia began with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump calling the election rigged. It was downhill from there.

        • IRT Rite80: Short term memory loss…You are right, Winners rewrite history and you donkeys are actually doing a good job at that…anti-Trumpers are like Police Officers, they have rules to follow in their arguements, Trumpers are like criminals, they have no rules…It’s why Trumpers have the advantage…anti-Trumpers you LOSE, just wait for Trump to screw up and laugh at him and call him names, like how the Trumpers do with Obama…#MAGA

        • @ Vector
          Is dat all ya got???!!
          BTW puuleeeeeease esplain to yo prez who & what Bergdahl is!!! 5 TERRORISTS is not an equal trade…unless yo prez wanted to use Bowe as an excuse to free his bros.
          EAT CROW! lol

          January 20, 2017 # MAGA

      • #soreloser.
        Boots opining from Australia again. There you go again failing to mention The Housing Bubble for the “Recession”,authored by The Dynamic..Dodds and Franks. Your Super Heros,Democrats.
        “Boring Hypocrite” indeed Boots,indeed.

        • Moilee, and you forgot to mention the disasters that occurred during Republican George Bush’s presidency. 911, the lie about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the invasion and destruction in Iraq, the stock market crash, mortgage and financial meltdown, the housing crisis, the 13% unemployment rate, and the Great Recession

        • Moilee, you also forgot to mention the wonderful presidency of Republican Tricky Dickinson Nixon, who gave us Watergate, the looting of the Democratic National Committee Offices, all the lies, coverups, and hypocrisy. A lot like what is happening now, except they are hacking and spreading fake news and conspiracy theories instead.

      • Boots, come Monday Trump will have a plurality in electoral votes which is what counts in America. Not the 3rd world Country you must come from. Stop talking through your stink toe jams. Must be Hauna. Don’t try and change the rules after the election. They call that cheating, sore loser etc. Why don’t you join nanakuliboss. He’s standing front and center on Farrington Hwy waiting for Obama’s motorcade.

      • Then why do some of the leading Republican senators and congressmen want an investigation? I’m sure they wouldn’t want to waste their time if there was no proof.

        • IRT ElBurroSabio, do you mean Sen’s McCain and Graham? And, that the CIA sent the House a letter that they will not send anyone to testify relating to Russia hacking the DNC and Posesta. This issue is turning into a “Fake News” issue.

      • Kuroiwaj, Brenan, Director of the CIA, Carter, Director of National Intelligence, and Comey, head od the FBI, are all in agreement, that Russia was the source of the hacks. All US 16 intelligence agencies are in agreement that Putin’s KGB and cyber warfare groups were involved and did influence the outcome of the election. Trump has been Putin’s man. With the US and European sanctions placed on Russia, after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, Russia’s oil and gas exports were reduced significantly causing their currency to lose half of its value, and their economy to go into recession. With Trump in the White House, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, Trump’s appointment to Secretary of State, and given and “Award of Friendship” from Putin, Putin and Exxon Mobil’s gas and oil business will again export oil and gas from Russia. The main reason Trump wants to lift the sanctions on Russia, and is now cozying up to Putin and Assad.

        • IRT Vector, please provide us the document or source of the CIA, FBI, and NSA agreed that Russia is the source of the hacks on the DNC and Podesta. No one can currently produce any such agreement.

      • Well, one doesn’t need applications of makeup when there’s nothing to gain. Poor Hillary, she so looked forward to being the first woman President of USA! Probably that’s the major factors that aged her before her time!

      • @MoiLee
        It’s not you. I did notice it too tho.
        All I know is I would not want to be in Bubba’s pants nor in Huma’s …ah…never mind.


        January 20, 2017 #MAGA

    • IRT Jusris, are we donkeys? I always believed we were elephants. Think about it, it’s you and your friends who are voicing DISPLEASURE about the Presidential election results. We, elephants, are pleased and happy about the Presidential election results and the opportunity to “Make America Safe and Great Again”.

    • IRT Jusris, and add to that the 12/15/2016 Detroit News report on the “Stein” recount findings in the Detroit polling problems. The Detroit News reports that 95 Precincts turned their Polling Books in late. 5 Precincts have not yet turned in their Polling Books. 101 Precincts did not have their Polling Books in sealed envelopes, and 17 Precincts did not have their Seal # on the envelopes. 37% of Detroit Precincts registered more Democrat votes than the number of voters signed in the Polling Books. Voting irregularity, all Democrats. What says you Jusris?

    • JohnRice wouldn’t you prefer a clean election with not even a hint of outside interference so there wouldn’t be any questions? I thought there were a few rational bones in your body, am I wrong?

        • I’ll give the guy a chance. Not really optimistic about it but he deserves a chance and preferably without drama.

  • I can’t believe what I am reading here. In no way did Russia ever hack into our voting machines to change the results of what the people selected. As for hacking Democratic emails – those idiots should have made phone calls and not left a paper trail. DUH. In regard to email, nothing is 100% secure and any 1st year IT student knows that….

  • Obama aka “The Great Mistake” attempted to influence the outcome of the Israeli election last year by sending over 300k and some of his former campaign team to Israel in support of Netanyahu’s political opponents. Hypocrite.

  • Democrats in 2012: Ha! Mitt Romney thinks Russia is a threat! Does he not realize the Cold War is over? Democrats in 2016: Russia literally broke American democracy.

  • With all the blaming this and that, why not just have all of those electoral voters revote just to see if they would change their mind? Should be cheaper than the millions spent on the recounts.

  • Obama should be proud of the distrust he and his wife have created. So what if the low and middle class people of this nation suffer. He will be basking on the beaches during his latest vacation will should last as long as he is still President.

    • “The outgoing Obama administration is reviewing the evidence of Russian hacking of emails from the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta”

      While Obama’s at it, maybe he should read some of the material. Still haven’t heard him denounce the corruption of the DNC and how much of a weasel Podesta is. Him and the rest of the DEMS are in total denial. They’re blaming everyone and everything else for losing the election after presenting a horrible candidate with questionable integrity.

  • here’s what makes americans distrustful of democrats running elections:

    michigan conducted a recount and uncovered massive voter fraud and vote tampering, not suspected voter fraud or voter tampering but actual evidence of voter fraud and voter tampering.

    detroit is just one example:
    95% of the precincts in detroit voted for clinton.
    60% of the precincts were disqualified from being recounted due to “irregularities.”
    37% of the precincts reported more voted ballots than registered voters in the precinct.
    one precinct’s ballot box was discovered to have only 50 voted ballots but reported 306 voted ballots in its poll book.

    the widespread systematic violations of voter laws could only be accomplished with government (obama and clinton) knowledge and support.

  • Poorly titled and fully inaccurate this article is a waste of the paper it’s printed on. Yes we had a close scare with the Clinton cartel but they lost, its over, they can now fade off into oblivion.

  • Why did Trump win?. Most of the real voters did not want Hillary and her husband Bill back. They were tired of the politics of Obama and sidekick Michele. Only the media tried to portray a different desire of the voters but failed. At the end the right person for America won and the left side cannot deal with defeat. They need to learn to suck it up and stop being sore losers. When will all the people that said they will leave will finally leave?. So the rest can finally make America Great Again.

  • “US Distrustful”………..let’s see? Hillary Loses in the November 8th Election. She concedes,oh wait! She later changes her mind. Just kidding guys! Sorry! Haaaaaaaaa! Imagine Hillary Laughing!lol.

    OK then! Let’s try”The Recount” thing, via Jill Stein. She loses again and still refuses to concede? Gosh ,how many times will it take?. It’s got to be hard on the mind,to take so many rejections.

    Fast Forward Today…..

    Now Hillary along with the dysfunctional characters of Hollywood.Claiming that the Russians are involved in Hacking the elections! This is Nothing NEW Folks! Russians been Hacking Washington for years! Why the Panic Now!

    Moving along…….At the same time Hollywood’s Martin Sheen ( Tiger Bloods is Strong Arming (Bullying) the Electoral Colleges to Change their Votes,based on “Incompetence”. With Martin Sheen and the Gang saying”We’re Not Asking you to Vote for Hillary”. Boy this one is Really RICH!

    Now let’s recap that one! “Twas The Night Before Christmas of 2008,when all through the House. Not A Creature Was Stirring …….Not Even a Mouse”. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
    Where were these “Nincompoops” when President Obama was running for president back in 08? Where was the revelance of his “Competence”?…. Where were they? The Night Before Christmas. So my last question is when will Hillary Clinton,along with the rest of the disgruntled Hollywood actors, Democrats and yes,even Republicans concede and recognize President Elect Donald J. Trump as our POTUS?
    Why? Because?You’re running out of …..Excuses guys. IMUA!

  • The media BS media is pushing this foreign country meddling in our election because Hillary lost. If she had won it would not even made the papers. Russia being involved in trying to sway our election is no different from the Obama administration sending money to Netanyahu’s opponent in Israel’s election to get him out of office. The mainstream media failed to even mention that fiasco.

  • My message to President Obama –

    Millions of Americans, including myself, had our minds made up not to support your candidate long before Wikileaks released leaked or hacked emails. It had nothing to do with intervention by any foreign government. My personal reasons not to support your candidate for what I consider a 3rd term for you are:

    – Your foreign policy has been unacceptable IMO, especially in the Middle East–Self expanatory
    – You have accumulated more national debit than every other POTUS combined–Totally unacceptable
    – You have lied to the American people; i.e., see: Affordable Care Act AKA “Obamacare”
    – We need better trade deals for our own country; i.e. see: NAFTA–Trade deficit gain every year
    – I feel a successful businessman could do better than a career politician for the economy
    – Your candidate failed to deliver a message & campaign that I could connect with
    – In my personal opinion HRC was a failure as Secretary Of State
    – She has lied to the American people; i.e., see: Benghazi
    – HRC’s private server; evidence destroyed AFTER subpoena issued–A cover-up to obstruct justice
    – The level of integrity for your candidate has been questionable for a very long time–Years
    – The Clinton’s already had 8 years in the WH full of scandal–I had enough of it as do others

    Mr. President, with all due respect, it was your failure to hand pick a better successor to you which resulted in PE Trump’s victory. It had nothing to do with Russia or anything else. Please try to look within.



    PS –

    Was it REALLY necessary for you to spend > 4.5 million of our tax dollars to come here to vacation when you’ll be out of office in a month from now? You know, permanent vacation somewhere on your own dime? smh

  • Let me tell you about Hillary. She put her okele on the line for this country. She almost died to keep it safe. I have little faith in Trump or his Cabinet. Navy SEAL Job was one of her bodyguards. Do you think that man took his own life? I think I will move to England with my family and eat sphahgetti to retire.

    • Hmmm. On the line for our country? Oh, you mean the time in Bosnia when as Secretary of State, she claimed to run from sniper fire as she landed via helicopter? Oops, little mistake. Not sniper fire, only little girls waiting to greet her with flowers. Well, they looked like snipers.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up