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The Unhackable Election

What It Takes to Defend Democracy

Defender of Democracy? Zuckerberg on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 2008 J. Scott Applewhite / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014 marked a sharp break with the past: the post–Cold War interlude, a time when peace and democracy spread across the globe, was over, and a new, more aggressive era, had begun. Since then, Western governments have had to relearn the forgotten art of deterring attacks and protecting their countries’ borders. They have failed to see, however, that the attacks can also be aimed at their democratic institutions. Liberal democracy may remain the world’s preferred model of governance, but it is under debilitating pressure from threats both internal and external. 

A poll released by Dalia Research in 2018 highlighted just how much citizens of democracies have lost faith in their governments. Sixty-four percent of respondents living in democracies said their governments rarely or never act in the public interest, whereas only 41 percent of those in autocracies said the same. Politicians in democracies are partly

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