Livestream Tonight, 5:00 p.m. ET: "The Fix is In"
Going through some difficult material on the effort to fix next year's ballot, including some things I had to leave out of today's article
On Racket today I published two articles: a long piece titled “Is the Electoral Fix Already In?” and a companion essay about the campaign to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot, titled, “The Anti-Democratic Movement Targeted Ralph Nader First. We Should Have Paid More Attention.”
I had to leave a lot out of these articles, for space reasons, so I’m scheduling a livestream for 5:00 p.m. ET tonight to talk about some of the missing material, while also going over a couple of the key documents.
Click here to watch on Rumble:
Click here to watch on YouTube:
Also, I’ll be on Newsmax tonight in the 7 ET hour to talk about the piece.
Humorously, the impetus for these articles was a Russia flashback. When the topic of the Transition Integrity Project came up, I found an article from February 4, 2021 by Molly Ball at Time, titled, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Molly had written another feature in June of 2020 called, “Trench Lawfare: Inside the Battles to Save Democracy From the Trump Administration” that lovingly profiled Protect Democracy, one of the groups reported to have organized the TIP. It felt like the second article was crediting either TIP or some other “secret” group or groups for saving the Biden campaign.
The “Secret History” article is a wild read. It described “a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes,” an “extraordinary shadow effort” and yet another “loosely organized coalition of operatives” who got together to rescue democracy from the abyss:
They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks…
A powerful feeling of déjà vu came with this text. I realized I’d read this exact article as a 26-year-old, when I was living in Moscow and witnessed an all-time political comeback. Boris Yeltsin, who scored as low as 5% nationally in official polls in February of 1996, somehow surged from fifth place to victory in less than six months.
It later turned out the United States was determined to prevent a Yeltsin loss to communist Gennady Zyuganov and flooded his campaign with cash and other forms of support through a variety of “democracy promotion” organizations. In truth Yeltsin had access to whole teams of American advisors, but a few in particular were so excited by Yeltsin’s win, they decided to blab to an American magazine, leading to one of the all-time covers: Borya holding an American flag, over the headline, “Yanks to the Rescue – the secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win.”
The 1996 and 2021 Time stories were virtually identical:
Moscow in the nineties was packed with party-hardy American consultants who threw so much money around that Scandanavian brothels and mob-owned strip joints tripped over themselves to pay obscene ads rates for my English-language club guide, the eXile. At first I only dimly understood what they did, but later came to understand that many of our “consultants” were in — to put it euphemistically — the election-influencing business.
A fair portion were contractors either for USAID or the National Endowment of Democracy, about whom David Ignatius — yes, the same David Ignatius of the Washington Post who in 2017 published the game-changing pre-inauguration leak about Michael Flynn talking to a Russian ambassador — had written way back in 1991, “They have been doing in public what the CIA used to do in private.” Eventually, a lot would be written about the role of the NED and associated organizations like the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in assisting and funding so-called “color revolutions.”
It’s fair to note that most of that literature has been written by scholars from unfriendly nations, particularly China, but when Vladimir Putin kicked USAID, the NDI, and the IRI out of Russia (this was often framed as us “pulling out”), nobody complained much. That the U.S. meddles in elections abroad is no longer particularly controversial, and those of us who’ve seen how these “democracy promotion” mechanisms work up close know that we’ve become expert at it, even attaching brand names to various regime-change efforts. My favorite was the failed “jeans revolution” in Belarus, the subject of more than a few jokes among Russian journalists, since “selling jeans” is a slang term in Russian media for writing political articles for money — selling out.
In any case, though the TIP organizers scoff at the idea (and they may very well be doing so sincerely), the current propaganda about “saving democracy” in America sounds too exactly like the messaging around foreign regime change operations to be a coincidence. That this messaging also emanates in many cases from the same people who’ve repeatedly popped up in the middle of color revolutions abroad (Victoria Nuland, who was in Moscow at the same time as me, comes to mind) is also malodorous. It’s no longer possible to avoid the idea that America might be fixing its own elections.
In any case, the articles published today attempt to use the “Transition Integrity Project” episode as a framework to show the gradual progression of different types of electioneering abuses, from before the 2016 election through the present. The TIP, as noted, unwittingly provided a road map of uniparty thinking about the toolkit of dirty tricks available to them, though the authors presented the material as a list of possible Trump abuses. Even just on this front, I was forced for space reasons to leave a lot of things out. So, in the livestream tonight, I’ll go through the report, as well as the shocking No Labels DOJ letter, and also answer any questions people might have (please list in the comments below, or during the stream).
Thanks again, and see you all tonight.