Russia’s rigged elections look nothing like the US election – they have immediate, unquestioned results there

12 Nov 2020

(Conversation) The 2020 election, in which Joe Biden is the projected winner, is not what a rigged election looks like. Rigged elections are organized. Vote counts certainly don’t play out in front of the country on television screens. When it’s a decentralized, sprawling affair that is broadcast for many days and nights, you can be pretty sure it’s democracy.

If you want to know what stolen elections look like, look at Russia, where we have studied elections and the media for decades.

The early heyday of Russian democracy was very messy. Just after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Kremlin poured money and resources into a Western-looking pro-market party called Russia’s Choice. Despite the money and help it got, the party failed spectacularly in the 1993 election. Meanwhile, nationalists and Communists, parties with strong connections to voters and their beliefs, won their way into power through the elections. But outcomes were unpredictable and the campaigns were chaotic. [...]

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Co-author: Sarah Oates