CNN: GOP’s inaction on Russian interference makes virtual caucuses impossible for 2020
By Denis McDonough
2016, our democracy was attacked. The Russian government launched an
unprecedented series of cyberattacks to disrupt our electoral process
that included targeting the people, institutions and vendors that
administer our elections.
As President Obama’s chief of staff, I
saw several people at the time — including Congressional Republican
leaders — dispute these facts. President Trump and many of his allies
still dispute them today even after several investigations have made
Russia’s actions plainly clear. And Russian President Vladimir Putin,
who also denies Russia’s interference, has yet to be held accountable.
have been warned by special counsel Robert Mueller and former Director
of National Intelligence Dan Coats that the people who attacked our
democracy in 2016 will be back in 2020. Their tactics will be more
sophisticated and ruthless than before. And we have to be ready.
so far, despite bipartisan and widespread concern among intelligence
and cyber experts, we have seen nothing but inaction from President
Trump and Senate Republicans, increasing the risk of continued attacks
on the integrity of our elections.
why I support the DNC’s decision to reject a “virtual caucus” plan put
forward by the Iowa and Nevada state parties. The goal of the Iowa and
Nevada plans — to make caucuses more inclusive and increase
participation — is laudable and in keeping with our party’s intense
focus on guaranteeing every eligible voter’s access to the ballot. And
we should continue to explore options that ensure and expand the most
fundamental constitutional right: the right to vote.
the “virtual caucus” proposal comes with serious cybersecurity risks.
Security experts agree that the technology, as it exists now, is too
vulnerable and could easily fall victim to hacking by outside actors,
including foreign adversaries such as Russia. Given the scale and
imminence of the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, Democrats simply cannot take
I applaud the seriousness with which the DNC is
handling this issue. This decision could not have been easy or
expedient, but it was necessary. The DNC, which suffered Russian
cyberattacks in 2016, is learning from the past and rightly exercising
caution by putting the security of our democracy first.
DNC’s prudence stands in stark contrast to the Republican Party’s
recklessness. Despite the warnings of our intelligence community and the
recommendations of cybersecurity experts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell has blocked efforts to pass critical election security
Securing our elections should not be a partisan issue.
As DNC Chair Tom Perez said earlier this year, “This is not about red
and blue. It’s about red, white and blue.”
We cannot ignore the
lessons of 2016. The threats to our democracy are real, and the
integrity of our elections is paramount. That’s why every American
should call on our nation’s leaders to take action on this issue
immediately and ensure that voters’ voices are heard at the ballot box.
we need to elect a president and a Senate that treat the issue of
cybersecurity with the seriousness it deserves. Until then, the DNC is
making the right decision. And I’m confident that Iowa and Nevada
Democrats will still be able to hold successful — and secure —
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