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President Donald Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showed that Trump urged Zelensky to investigate Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

As Trump's Republican allies desperately tried to spin the damning contents of the rough transcript of the call, released by the White House itself, they kept asserting there was no "quid pro quo," meaning Trump hadn't stated explicitly that military aid to Ukraine would be contingent on whether or not Zelensky facilitated an investigation into Biden.

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Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images; National Archives

Congresswoman and clapback expert Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made short work of President Donald Trump after his campaign criticized "crazy AOC" in a text to supporters, threatening that the freshman congresswoman wants to abolish the Electoral College.

There's just one problem with the Trump campaign's assertion: Trump himself referred to the Electoral College as a "disaster for democracy" in a 2012 tweet. Ocasio-Cortez quickly retweeted it, writing, "I'm so glad the President and I agree that the Electoral College has got to go."

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 21: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov attends a state commission on innovations and modernisation session at a biotechnology laboratory in the Generium Science Center , Vladimir region, on March, 21, 2012 in Volginsky, Russia. Medvedev is on a one day trip to the region. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

Though some have been slow to acknowledge it, Russian operatives hacked voter rolls and political campaign correspondence in addition to using targeted digital propaganda and fake news in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

Now, Vladislav Surkov—a key advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin—has bragged in an op-ed about the viability of Russia's Democratic model, while decrying the "illusion of choice" presented by American democracy.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: U.S. President Donald Trump makes remarks as he hosts a naturalization ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on January 19, 2019. Looking on at right is Vice President Mike Pence. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

"Nobody has ever done so much in the first two years of a presidency as this administration," Donald Trump said at a Mississippi rally last year. Now we know that's true, but probably not in the way that he imagined. A report by Freedom House—a government funded democracy research organization—says "no president in living memory has shown less respect for its tenets, norms, and principles."

Trump has assailed essential institutions and traditions, including the separation of powers, a free press, an independent judiciary, the impartial delivery of justice, safeguards against corruption and most disturbingly, the legitimacy of elections.

The annual Freedom In The World report has called Trump out for, among other things, assailing the word of law, demonizing the press, and threatening American ideals abroad.

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One of the buzzwords in the American psyche since the election of Donald Trump has been “fake news.” Pretty much any report that contains facts that paint Trump and his administration in an unflattering light is later tweeted out by POTUS as “fake,” a convenient way to discredit journalists and take media scrutiny off himself.

But what exactly is fake news? According to a group of scientists who published their thoughts in response to a new study in the journal Science, it is “fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent.” They add that fake news outlets often lack editorial processes that safeguard accuracy and credibility.

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If you have a good understanding of cartography and politics, you could easily have found work in any of the US state capitals over the last decade. The refined art of gerrymandering, defined as the practice of dividing an area into political units to give one party an electoral majority, is becoming ever more sophisticated in the era of supercomputers, algorithms and partisan politics.

Gerrymandering has a long and ignoble history. The term was coined in 1812 when Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry carved a salamander-shaped district in his state to aid the Democratic-Republican Party originally founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

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For ten consecutive years, analysts at the non-profit Freedom House have measured a decline in global freedom and democratic governance.

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