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Biden urges Americans to take a stand against political violence: ‘We are facing a defining moment’ | 2022 US Midterm Elections


Joe Biden has sounded a rallying cry for the preservation of democracy and a grim warning that America could face political violence as it races towards next week’s midterm elections.

The US president used a primetime address on Wednesday to claim his predecessor Donald Trump’s ‘big lie’ about stealing the 2020 election has become an ‘article of faith’ in the party’s far wing republican.

Biden delivered his speech to supporters under a painted ceiling in an ornate room in Washington’s Union Station, which is within sight of the US Capitol which was stormed on January 6 last year by an angry mob of Trump supporters.

Behind him were eight American flags and a blue curtain – a less dramatic backdrop than the red and blue lights of his “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” speech at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall two months ago, where he talked about similar themes.

But just as that address was framed by Republicans as an attack on their constituents, his final remarks found little unity. Conservative Fox News ran captions such as “Biden ignoring crime and inflation to talk ‘threat to democracy'” and “Chief Divider.”

Its effect 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 likely Democratic voters say a functioning democracy is a bigger concern than a strong economy, but 70% of Republican voters say the opposite.

Biden acknowledged there’s a lot at stake in the midterm elections, just six days away, but insisted, “Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us.”

Attendees watch Joe Biden speak about threats to democracy and political violence on Wednesday.
Attendees watch Joe Biden speak about threats to democracy and political violence on Wednesday. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

He began his remarks, organized by the Democratic National Committee, by citing last week’s attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their San Francisco home. He noted that the hammer-wielding assailant asked “Where’s Nancy?” Where is Nancy? – the same words used by the rioters on January 6.

Trump’s misrepresentations about a stolen election have “fueled the dangerous rise in political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years,” Biden said.

“We are facing a decisive moment. We must speak with one overwhelming, unified voice, as a country, and say that there is no place for voter intimidation or political violence in America.

The midterms will determine control of Congress and mark the first national test of American democracy since Trump lost the White House and his supporters besieged the Capitol. “I wish I could say the assault on our democracy ended that day,” Biden remarked. “But I can not.”

The president warned that more than 300 Holocaust deniers are estimated to be on the ballot across America this year with an impact he described as damaging, corrosive and destructive.

“As I stand here today, there are candidates running for every level of office in America, for governor, for Congress, for attorney general, for secretary of state, who don’t will not commit to accepting the results of the elections in which they stand.

“It’s the way to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s illegal. And it’s not American. Like I said before, you can’t love your country just when you win.

He called on voters to reject candidates who denied voting results that even the Trump administration has declared free of widespread fraud or interference, urging them to “think long and hard about the moment we find ourselves in.”

“This is no ordinary year, so I ask you to think long and hard about where we find ourselves. In a typical year, we are not often faced with the question of whether the vote we are casting will preserve democracy or endanger it.. But this year, we are.

Biden sought to anticipate misinformation and potential unrest on election night, stressing that it takes time to count all legitimate ballots, so voters should be patient. In 2020, Trump falsely claimed that mail-in votes compiled after Election Day were illegitimate.

A gang of police blocks a street in front of Nancy and Paul Pelosi's home in San Francisco.
A gang of police blocks a street in front of Nancy and Paul Pelosi’s home in San Francisco. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

He again identified Trump as the architect of chaos. “He abused his power and put loyalty to himself above loyalty to the constitution. He made the Big Lie an article of faith in the Maga Republican Party.

Biden described “ultra-maga” Republicans — a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan — as a minority but a “driving force” in the Republican Party.

Highlighting growing concerns about political violence as well as threats to America’s long tradition of peaceful and accurate elections, he argued that these Republicans are “trying to succeed where they failed in 2020 to suppress voters’ rights and overthrow the electoral system itself”.

Biden added, “There is an alarming increase in the number of people in this country who are tolerating political violence or simply remaining silent. Silence is complicity.

He described those willing to use violence for political gain as a “distinct minority” in America, “but they are vocal 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 only 9% of adults think democracy works ‘extremely’ or ‘very well’, while 52% say it doesn’t. good.

Republicans condemned Wednesday’s speech. Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, “To Biden, ‘Democracy’ means one thing: Democrats have all the power.”

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said, “Desperate and dishonest. Joe Biden promised unity but instead demonized and smeared Americans, while making life more expensive for everyone.

“While Republicans remain focused on the issues that matter most to voters, Biden and Democrats are struggling in the past few days because they have lost touch with the concerns of families struggling to get by.”

Biden has made the global struggle between democracy and autocracy a defining theme of his presidency. In a heartfelt plea, he asserted that Americans can no longer take democracy for granted. “Deep down we know that democracy is in danger, but we also know this: it is in our power to preserve our democracy.

theguardian Gt

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