Rigged | David Shimer

Summary of: Rigged: America, Russia, and One Hundred Years of Covert Electoral Interference
By: David Shimer


Dive into the captivating world of covert electoral interference, as Rigged by David Shimer provides a comprehensive overview of the history of Russian and American meddling in democratic elections over the past century. This meticulously researched account offers an understanding of international politics, while illustrating how social media has dramatically influenced the landscape of electoral interference. Discover how both the United States and Russia have employed covert tactics to shape elections, how the political rivalry developed, and the lasting impact that meddling has had on the global stage. Get ready for an eye-opening experience that will change the way you view democracy and the integrity of elections.

The Threat of Election Meddling

In “Rigged,” David Shimer examines how Russia and the United States have interfered in democratic elections for the past century. Shimer reveals that while the US knew about Russia’s plans to interfere with the 2016 US election, they failed to anticipate the impact of social media on election meddling. According to Shimer, the digital age has given Russia new and potent tools for furthering their objectives, which are to promote discord and help their preferred candidate. Shimer argues that this history serves as a crucial reminder of the need for democracies to safeguard the integrity of their elections. This timely book has garnered endorsements from journalists and politicians alike, including Hillary Clinton, who calls it an “astonishing book” that will help rescue democracy. “Rigged” is a well-researched, clear, and unbiased account of election meddling that provides a broader context and an extraordinary and enthralling reading experience.

Lenin’s Covert Electoral Meddling

The United States withdrew from interference in foreign affairs, and Lenin’s Communist International (Comintern) secretly influenced voters. Although the Comintern did not succeed in its aim for world revolution, it damaged democratic institutions by sowing division. The process of democratic succession practically invited interference and offered chances to redirect nations, which Moscow utilized. Shimer exposes Lenin’s system of electoral manipulation, highlighting its detrimental effect on democracies.

US Interference in Italian Elections

Following World War II, a rivalry emerged between the Soviet Union and the US, and Western European democracies. In 1948, fearing a potential Communist takeover in Italy’s general election, the US unleashed the CIA in Italy. The CIA used fear-based tactics, stating that a vote for the Communist candidate would lead to the loss of Marshall Plan money and the option of immigrating to America. The strategy met with success, leading to the US’s continuing interference in Italian elections. This book sheds light on the US’s involvement in international politics.

The CIA’s Influence on Chilean Politics

In the book, Shimer discusses the CIA’s role in manipulating Chilean elections. He points out that their interference was both cost-effective and successful in securing their desired outcome. Shimer describes how the CIA intervened in the 1964 election by bribing women’s groups and student organizations to support Allende’s opponent. Allende, a Marxist, posed a threat to the United States as he supported Fidel Castro and had the backing of Soviet intelligence. Shimer also highlights Allende’s previous attempts at becoming president in 1952 and 1958, ultimately shedding light on the United State’s involvement in Chilean politics.

KGB’s Political Interference

The KGB, during the 60s-80s, identified US presidential candidates against its interests and subverted their campaigns. Richard Nixon was opposed, while Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy were promoted by the Soviets during the 1960s elections.

United States and Foreign Elections

The book highlights the United States’ support for legitimate elections throughout its history. It discusses the challenges faced in promoting democracy in the post-Soviet world, emphasizing the overt nature of its influence. The author also reveals America’s attempt to prevent the reelection of Slobodan Milošević in Serbia, which went against the US post-Cold War approach.

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