Theory of foreign interference reflects intensifying political divisions in US: experts
Published: Dec 19, 2023 09:06 PM Updated: Dec 19, 2023 11:50 PM
The US Capitol building is seen in Washington, DC Nov 10, 2022. The balance of power in the next US Congress is still undecided as of late Thursday night, two days after the 2022 midterm elections. Photo:Xinhua

The US Capitol building is seen in Washington, DC Nov 10, 2022. Photo:Xinhua

A US government report on Monday found no evidence that foreign governments compromised the vote during the 2022 midterms, but experts said the investigation itself shows the intensifying political divisions in the US have led American politicians to eagerly promote the topic of foreign interference in elections to smear their competitors and win votes. 

"There is no evidence that this activity prevented voting, changed votes, or disrupted the ability to tally votes or to transmit election results in a timely manner; altered any technical aspect of the voting process; or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information or any ballots cast during the 2022 federal elections," the report issued by the US Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security concluded, Reuters reported.

The report represents a declassified overview of the US government's assessment of election security in 2023, according to the AP.

US politicians have a "habit" of describing its external environment as being threatened, so they can constantly create rumors in this regard, while also using these rumors to vilify their so-called competitors, experts pointed out. 

When they spread rumors about foreign interference in elections, they usually point fingers at China or Russia, depending on the preferences of different political parties. They completely fabricate a story based on their own competitive situation, and once it becomes a focal point of public opinion, relevant departments will claim to investigate, but the result is always without evidence, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

This kind of sensationalism is not uncommon, and in recent years, due to intensified partisan struggles, these American politicians are even more eager to tarnish each other by accusing their main rivals of receiving support from foreign governments, in order to gain votes from the electorate, experts said.

However, experts believe that the release of such reports still carry a strong partisan bias to some extent. 

"It is an attempt to shift the blame for their failure of governance onto China and Russia. In the 2024 US election, the narrative of foreign interference, especially Chinese and Russian interference, is unlikely to disappear. On the contrary, it will be hyped up by certain political factions or media outlets in the US because this topic can attract wide attention and increase viewership. Therefore, from the perspective of narrow political self-interest and expanding media influence, such a narrative will continue to proliferate in the US, which actually reflects the extremely unhealthy political and public opinion atmosphere in the US," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.