Will Foreign Powers Prevail in the U.S. 2020 Elections? Safeguarding the vote from foreign influence

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Will Foreign Powers Prevail in the U.S. 2020 Elections?
Safeguarding the vote from foreign influence

Presented: Wednesday, September 23

  • Will Foreign Powers Prevail in the U.S. 2020 Elections? Safeguarding the vote from foreign influence

    As our nation counts down to one of the most consequential Presidential and Congressional elections in U.S. history, one question looms: Is our democracy under threat from foreign influence?

    In 2016, President Putin sought to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and to help elect Trump. Now, other powers, such as China and Iran, have allegedly entered into the election-meddling game. While foreign actors seek to influence U.S. elections, the extent of this threat and who is doing it has increasingly become ensnared in the polarization and partisan rancor dividing the U.S. Against the government's own intelligence findings, President Trump downplayed Russian inference in the 2016 election, and he continues to minimize Russia’s role in putting the integrity of the 2020 election at risk. On the other side, Bernie Sanders was criticized for being too slow to acknowledge Russian efforts to boost his candidacy. While President Trump claims that China is working to elect Joe Biden; others argue that China prefers another Trump presidency. Dark conspiracies abound on the web. And the intelligence on foreign influence campaigns itself has become a political football, ironically exacerbating societal and political divisions that foreign actors seek to exploit.

    What foreign powers are trying to influence U.S. politics? What are their motives? What tools are they deploying? What impact might they have on the outcome of our elections? What can we do as a society to safeguard our democracy? On Sep. 23, 2020, we hosted a virtual conference with renowned experts for an important and informative discussion to unpack these issues.


    Fiona Hill, The Brookings Institution
    "A conversation with Fiona Hill on democracy and foreign influence in U.S. elections"

    Moderators: Declan Tomlinson (LMU student) and Matt Lamantia (LMU student)

    Presentations and Discussion

    Bilyana Lilly, Rand Corporation
    “Russia and China’s strategic motives: disinformation and cyber operations in context”

    Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post
    “Foreign interference, the press and the balance of threats”

    Alex Stamos, Stanford University
    “Applying Global Lessons in Disinformation to the US 2020 Election”

    Moderators: Wayne Limberg and Veronica Backer-Peral (LMU student)


    Presented by Loyola Marymount University’s Global Policy Institute in conjunction with the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, College of Business Administration, School of Film and Television, Seaver College of Science and Engineering, History Department, Political Science and International Relations Department, International Relations Program, and Journalism Program.

    About Loyola Marymount University

    LMU is a private Catholic university with 6,000 undergraduates, 2,200 graduate students and 1,100 law students from diverse backgrounds and many perspectives. Our seven colleges and schools boast best-in-the-nation programs in film and television, business, education and more. Our stunning campus in West Los Angeles is a sun-soaked oasis overlooking the Pacific coast and a model of sustainability. We're rooted in the heart of Los Angeles, a global capital for arts and entertainment, innovation and technology, business and entrepreneurship. Our mission is grounded in a centuries-old Jesuit educational tradition that produces extraordinary men and women dedicated to service and social justice. We're proud of more than 85,000 LMU alumni whose professional achievements are matched by a deep commitment to improving the lives of others.