The day voters defended democracy in the United States | US Elections
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“It’s democracy, stupid.” That could have been the slogan of Joe Biden’s campaign for the mid-term elections, paraphrasing the phrase of James Carville, the campaign strategist who led Bill Clinton to win the 1992 presidential election, then with the economy as the protagonist. The axis of the campaign of the president of the United States consisted of warning of the threat to democracy posed by a resounding victory of the Republican Party on the back of a Donald Trump who still does not recognize his defeat in 2020. The ardent defense of the Democrat of the institutions It has caught on more with voters than Trump’s electoral denialism and his apocalyptic messages.
Biden’s play has had a preface and three acts. Biden, a moderate politician, who was elected senator at the age of 29 and who was used to that less polarized country where votes in the Capitol could unite Republican and Democratic congressmen, gave the first announcement the same day he entered the campaign, on August 25 in Maryland, outside of Washington: “What we are seeing now is the beginning or the death sentence of an extreme MAGA philosophy”, in reference to the initials of the Make America Great Again (make America great again), the slogan that Trump and his ilk proclaim with pride and Biden with contempt. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the whole philosophy behind the… I’ll say something, it’s like semi-fascism. This is not the Republican Party of your parents. This is a different matter,” he added.
After that preface, Biden traveled to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) to give a presidential speech in prime time. That is something that in the United States is not done lightly. By choosing the format of the great occasions, he risked that the democracy of the United States would succumb at the hands of Donald Trump at the height of historical occasions such as the Gulf War, the fall of Saddam Hussein, the attacks of September 11, the Hurricane Katrina, the coronavirus pandemic and the financial crisis.
Act One: The Trump Threat
“For a long time, we have convinced ourselves that American democracy is guaranteed. But it isn’t. We have to defend it. Protect her. defend her. Each and every one of us,” he solemnly proclaimed in front of a blue and red-lit Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776; and in 1787, the United States Constitution. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
Despite the relevance that Biden wanted to give it, the big networks — with the exception of CNN — saw no reason to broadcast the speech. NBC broadcast Law & Order; CBS, Little Sheldon and ABC, a contest. Outside the venue, the Trumpists chanted the slogan they use as a coarse covert insult: “Let’s go Brandon” (Come on, Brandon) or directly, the original version: “Fuck Joe Biden” (Fuck you, Joe Biden.) The president cut off the boos from those attending his act: “They have the right to be outraged. This is a democracy.”
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After that first act, Biden continued to campaign in defense of democracy, but mixing those messages with the defense of his policies, legislative achievements, his proposals to ban assault weapons and to pass a new abortion law. The polls said that voters saw democracy at risk, but what really worried them was the price of gasoline and the shopping cart: inflation. The president did not give up his efforts and the second act came less than a week before the elections.
Second act: political violence
The president chose a private club near the Capitol, seat of Congress, for its symbolism. He stressed that the November 8 elections were the first since a mob inflamed by Trump’s lies and incendiary messages stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to prevent the certification of his victory in the presidential elections of the previous year. . He also began by recalling the attack on the husband of Nancy Pelosi, president of the House of Representatives and third authority in the country.
Biden blamed Trump’s “big lie” that the election had been stolen from him for “fueling the dangerous surge in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years.” He denounced “the lies told by power and profit, the lies of conspiracy and malice, the lies repeated over and over again to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol and even violence.” “Right now, we have to confront those lies with the truth,” he requested.
The president called for mobilization: “Democracy itself is at stake,” he said emphatically. “We are in a fight for democracy. The fight for decency and dignity, the fight for prosperity and progress. The fight for the very soul of America.” And he evoked the first words of the Constitution, We the People: “We the people must decide if we will have free and fair elections and if every vote counts. We, the people, must decide if we are going to sustain a republic where reality is accepted, the law is obeyed and your vote is truly sacred. We the people must decide if the rule of law prevails or if dark forces with a thirst for power are allowed to get ahead of the principles that have guided us for a long time.”
He ended with a message of optimism: “We know that democracy is in danger. We also know this: it is in our power, in that of each and every one of us, to preserve our democracy. And I think we will. I think I know this country. I know we will.”
Third act: an effective message
The third act began with the opening of the polls on Tuesday. Biden’s messages — and Trump’s own overexposure with his apocalyptic, anti-establishment speech — resonated with voters. According to the VoteCast survey conducted by the National Center for Opinion Studies (NORC) at the University of Chicago for AP, which interviews more than 94,000 voters at the exit of the polls, the future of democracy was the main consideration for voting for 44% of voters, only slightly behind inflation. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of Democrats declared that they voted to show their opposition to Trump.
The day passed normally. There were minor incidents, and Trump and some of his ilk again cast unfounded suspicions of fraud. The turnout at the polls was around 48%, according to provisional data, very high for a midterm election (although somewhat lower than that of 2018), especially in some decisive states, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Hampshire, where the clash against Trumpism it was more obvious. There were no notable episodes of violence or intimidation. “And all those election deniers,” Biden would later say, “so far, as far as I know, when they lost, they said, ‘We lost.’ That is a great event.” The president was speaking before the Democratic victory was declared in Arizona, where Republicans have unfoundedly questioned the process.
Many electoral deniers, who do not recognize the 2020 results, have been elected to Congress, but the vast majority of them in Republican fiefdoms. None have won in Democratic-leaning districts, and the vast majority have also lost in competitive districts.
In other elections, they have also suffered resounding defeats. Doug Mastriano, who chartered buses to go to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, lost the battle for governor of Pennsylvania by more than 14 points. Tudor Nixon, another staunch Trump supporter, fell by more than 10 points in Michigan. Negative candidates for secretary of state and attorney general—key positions in election oversight—from Nevada and Michigan have also lost, as has Mark Finchem, the extremist candidate for secretary of state from Arizona, where others from his sane as the candidate for governor, Kari Lake, and attorney general, Abraham Hamadeh.
Instead, fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, who as Georgia Secretary of State refused to “find” the votes Trump needed to win when the then president asked him to, has been re-elected, after winning the primaries with the opposition of Trump. Voters defended democracy.
The failures of numerous candidates endorsed by the former president, including several for the Senate such as Blake Masters (Arizona) or Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania), have put Trump under friendly fire. The Democrats have held on, maintain control of the Senate and have not yet lost all options in the House of Representatives. Trump’s “giant red wave” did not exist. Although he has grassroots support, many Republicans see re-elected Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a more promising option for 2024, which has drawn his ire. Trump plans to announce his presidential candidacy on Tuesday.
That rejection of Trumpism has allowed Democrats to achieve the best result of a party in power in a mid-term election since 2002, when the country closed ranks with George W. Bush after the attacks of September 11, 2021. Biden showed his gratitude to the Democratic volunteers after the elections: “You believed in the system. You believed in institutions. You fought like crazy. (…) It was the first national election since January 6, and there were many doubts about whether democracy would pass the test. He did it “.
The third act ended with Biden’s press conference at the White House the day after the election: “It’s been a good day for democracy and a good day for the United States.”
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