Zeynep Tufekci for The New York Times:
Creating or allowing the loss of trust in democratic institutions is a great facilitator of authoritarianism. It works though a vicious cycle: The more that you can convince people that democratic institutions aren’t working, the less that people will fight to protect and improve them — and the less that people fight to protect and improve democratic institutions, the worse they will perform…. Paradoxically, the crumbling, mismatched and patchwork nature of our electoral infrastructure makes it unlikely that we will see large-scale computerized hacking that alters the political landscape. The failure to vote because of cynicism and mistrust is the bigger threat to the integrity of our elections.
I share many of Tufekci’s concerns, but the incredibly robust early voting numbers suggest that we have avoided the worst of the cynicism which she fears – or perhaps rather the effects of cynicism and distrust don’t necessarily generate a negative feedback loop with decreasing turnout.