From the Left



By the Way, This Time Democracy Itself is On the Ballot

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

In his highly publicized speech on the perils facing American democracy this midterm Election Day President Joe Biden was largely preaching to the choir. The sermon needs to be preached, but is anybody listening?

Democracy matters. Free and fair elections are what American democracy is all about or, at least, are supposed to be.

But, unfortunately as a sitting president struggling to hold onto his Democratic Party’s narrow edge in Congress, Biden makes a less-than-perfect advocate.

Speaking at Union Station, just blocks from where a mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to disrupt the transfer of power, the embattled president was too easy for Republicans and persuadable independents to dismiss, even on the critical issue of the survival of democracy.

Of course, a president can’t choose the time when urgent issues must be addressed and these are urgent times.

Threats against members of Congress and their families have risen more than tenfold since Trump’s election in 2016, according to the U.S. Capitol Police, which registered more than 9,625 such threats last year alone.


Before the speech, on the same day that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked in the couple’s San Francisco home, a bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and other agencies warned of a heightened threat from domestic violent extremists and potential attacks on political candidates, election officials and election workers.

Worse, election denialism is rampant, particularly on the Republican side. More than 370 Republican candidates have questioned and, at times, outright denied the results of the 2020 election despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, according to a monthslong New York Times investigation.

All of this mayhem — and feared mayhem to come — is based, as Biden said, on “a lie that fueled a dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years.”

“In this moment, we have to confront those lies with the truth,” Biden said. “The very future of our nation depends on it.”


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