Beware of Disinformation That Puts Democracy on the Line
As Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spins disinformation in his attempts to reduce the budget and mandate of the country’s Instituto Nacional Electoral—one of the world’s most respected election management bodies—it’s not hard to turn to Mexico’s neighbors to see a similar pattern of disinformation pointed at the election institutions and processes themselves.
To the north, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in 2021. Two years later, to the south, it was Brazil’s government buildings. The riots ensued after the incumbent presidents lost and spread disinformation about the integrity of the elections. In both cases, narratives aimed at fomenting doubt in the system had been planted well in advance of the election as a hedge against a potential loss.
As a growing collection of similar episodes worldwide illustrate, election integrity disinformation can be seeded long before election day and repurposed once election results are released or seized on by policymakers between elections as an excuse for anti-competitive reforms to the election process. By undermining load-bearing elements of the electoral architecture, such false narratives and their narrators risk destabilizing democracy itself...
This article was originally published by Foreign Policy Magazine. Read the full article.