Joe Biden is issued a rallying cry For the protection of democracy and for a blackout warning that America could face political violence as it barrels toward next week’s midterm elections.
The US president used a primetime address on Wednesday to argue that his predecessor Donald Trump’s stolen “big lie” about the 2020 election has become “an article of faith” in the Republican Party’s extreme wing .
Biden delivered his address to supporters under a painted ceiling in an ornate room in Washington’s Union Station that overlooks the US Capitol, which was blown up by a furious crowd of Trump supporters on January 6 last year.
Behind them were eight American flags and a blue curtain – a less dramatic backdrop than the red and blue lights of his “Speech to Fight for the Soul of the Nation” at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall two months earlier, where he spoke on similar topics. Had it.
But just as that address was framed by Republicans as an attack on their voters, there was little unity in their latest comments. The conservative Fox News Channel ran captions such as “Biden ignores crime and inflation” to talk about “threats to democracy” and “the divider in chief”.
Its impact on an election in which 27 million people have already voted was also uncertain. a CBS News poll late last month found that 63% of potential Democratic voters say a functioning democracy is a bigger concern than a strong economy, but 70% of Republican voters say the opposite.
Biden acknowledged that there was a lot at stake in the midterm election, only six days away, but insisted: “Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us.”
She began her remarks by referring to last week’s attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at his home in San Francisco organized by the Democratic National Committee. He noted that the hammer-wielding attacker had asked “Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?” The same words that the rioters used on January 6.
Biden said Trump’s false claims about a stolen election “have fueled the alarming rise of political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years”.
“We are facing a defining moment. We as a country must speak with a heavy, unified voice and say that there is no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America.”
The midterms will determine Congress’s control and mark the first nationwide test of American democracy as Trump lost the White House and his supporters laid siege to the Capitol. “I wish I could say that the attack on our democracy ended that day,” Biden remarked. “But I can’t.”
The president warned that it is estimated that more than 300 election denials are on the ballot across the US this year, which he describes as harmful, corrosive and destructive.
“As I stand here today, there are candidates of every level in America, for governor, Congress, attorney general, secretary of state, who will not commit to accepting the results of the elections they are running.
“This is a road to anarchy in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s illegal. And it’s un-American. As I’ve said before, you can’t love your country only if you win.”
He called on voters to reject candidates who have denied the results of the vote, even as Trump’s administration declared free of any widespread fraud or interference, urging them to ” Think long and hard about the moment we are in”.
“This is not a normal year so I ask you to think long and hard about the moment we are in. In a normal year, we are not often faced with the question of whether the democracy we voted for is Will preserve or put it at risk.. But this year we are.”
Biden sought to pre-empt potential propaganda and unrest on election night, pointing out that counting all valid ballots takes time so voters need to be patient. In 2020 Trump falsely claimed that mail-in votes tabulated after election day were illegitimate.
He again identified Trump as the architect of anarchy. “They have misused their power and put loyalty to the Constitution above loyalty to themselves. He has turned the big lie into an article of faith in the sought-after Republican Party.
Biden described “ultra-maga” Republicans – in reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan – as a minority but “motivating force” of the Republican Party.
Pointing to growing concerns over political violence, as well as the dangers of America’s long tradition of peaceful and accurate elections, he argued that these Republicans were “trying to succeed where they are in 2020 by suppressing and stifling voter rights.” failed to destroy the electoral system”.
Biden said: “There has been an alarming increase in the number of people in this country who ignore or just keep quiet about political violence. Silence is collusion.”
He described those willing to use violence to achieve political objectives as a “distinct minority” in America, “but they are loud and they are determined”.
Many Americans remain pessimistic about the state of democracy. An October poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that just 9% of adults think democracy is working “extremely” or “very well,” while 52% say it’s working well. not working.
Republicans denounced Wednesday’s speech. Senator Tom Cotton tweeted: “For Biden, ‘democracy’ means one thing: Democrats have absolute power.”
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said: “Desperate and dishonest. Joe Biden promised unity, but instead denigrated Americans and made life more expensive for all.”
“While Republicans are focusing on the issues that matter most to voters, Biden and Democrats are drifting away in the final days as they lose touch with the concerns of families struggling to make ends meet.”
Biden has made the global conflict between democracy and autocracy a defining theme of his presidency. In a heartfelt plea, he claimed that Americans can no longer take democracy lightly. “In our bones we know that democracy is in danger, but we also know: it is in our power to preserve our democracy.”