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Beware of the American Political Snake Oil Salesmen

Beware of the American Political Snake Oil Salesmen

Beware of the American Political Snake Oil Salesmen

The election engineering merchants of George Soros and other “one-size-fits-all” democracy templates may have been vanquished in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Myanmar, but they are, by no means, down and out. International non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have simply borrowed a page from international consultancies and gone quasi-private, racking up lucrative contracts as political advisers to pro-capitalist candidates around the world.

With the US Foreign Service largely neutered under President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, there is virtually no one left at various US embassies in far-flung diplomatic posts to warn host governments about the modern version of American “snake oil salesmen” pitching their election assistance wares to unsuspecting candidates for office.

Take Vanguard Africa, a Washington, DC-based election campaign consultancy that seeks public contributions under the aegis of the Democratic Party’s fundraising organization, ActBlue. During a time when there are complaints in the United States of foreign interference in American elections, why is an outfit like Vanguard America involved in elections in The Gambia and Niger? What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

If someone donates to ActBlue to elect more Democrats to the US Congress, state legislatures, and mayors’ offices, why is ActBlue, working with Vanguard Africa, involved in helping to elect in January 2017, Adama Barrow as president of The Gambia in West Africa? Vanguard Africa’s US leadership includes Joe Trippi, former Vermont Democratic Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign chairman, and former Democratic US Representative Al Wynn of Maryland.

Vanguard Africa unabashedly admits on its website that it mixes election engineering with lobbying in Washington: “Access to Influential Leaders – Opening lines of communication and building trusted, long-term relationships with key pro-democracy groups, civic leaders, elected officials and policymakers – in Washington, DC and internationally.”

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