What will happen if the Republicans win power in Congress? 2:05
(WABNEWS) — President Joe Biden issued a stark warning Wednesday about the future of democracy in the country, saying it could hinge on next week’s midterm elections. It was an urgent call that comes six days before the final votes are cast in a race the president framed in almost existential terms.
“We can no longer take democracy for granted,” said the president from Union Station in Washington. A place located a few blocks from the United States Capitol, where on January 6, 2021 a crowd tried to interrupt the certification of the 2020 elections.RELATED
It was a clear message to Americans considering sitting out next week’s congressional elections: The future of the country is at stake. Biden suggested that the preponderance of candidates who have supported the idea of voter fraud in the presidential race two years ago is a warning sign for the nation.
“As I stand here today, there are candidates running for office at every level in the United States — for Governor, Congress, Attorney General, Secretary of State — who will not commit to accepting the results of the election they are running for,” Biden pointed out. “This is the path to chaos in the United States. It is unprecedented. It is illegal and un-American,” he insisted.
Biden’s speech blamed the country’s dire situation squarely on his predecessor, Donald Trump, accusing him of cultivating a lie that has metastasized into a web of conspiracies that has already resulted in occasional violent attacks.
“This intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans, and nonpartisan officials who are just doing their jobs, is the result of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over to create a cycle of anger. , hate, virulence, and even violence,” Biden added. “Right now, we have to confront those lies with the truth, the very future of our nation depends on it.”
“American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president of the United States … refuses to accept the will of the people,” he said.
The speech — a political event organized by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and not the White House — emphasized something Biden has insisted on since his speech in Philadelphia. However, he departed from the Democrats’ central message by the end of the midterm elections, which has been a more optimistic portrayal of the economic recovery.
Biden’s words on Wednesday were anything but optimistic, even as he hoped Americans would push back against the threatening forces he described. Aides said Biden was prompted to deliver the speech after last week’s attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband by a man who, according to his social media, wallowed in conspiracies of the right, including electoral fraud.
Biden made sure to point out that most Americans, and even most Republicans, would not resort to violence. But he said those would have outsized influence.
“I think the voices that excuse or call for violence and intimidation are in a clear minority in America,” Biden said. “But they talk tough and they are determined.”
Aides to the president told WABNEWS that Biden and his team had contemplated a speech on the issue of democracy for some time, but that the decision in recent days was shaped by what they have seen as a groundswell of anti-democratic rhetoric and threats of violence. The attack on Paul Pelosi deeply alarmed Biden and his top advisers. The scandalous home intrusion and attack on Pelosi landed the 82-year-old in the hospital for surgery and he has since been recovering from a fractured skull, among other injuries.
Aides said before the speech that Biden felt it would be important for him to directly condemn such threats and acts of violence.
The theme of protecting the soul of the nation, and the pillars of the country’s democratic system, were central to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Since then, the president has spoken on these issues throughout his presidency, but the speech this Wednesday marked an effort to emphatically underline what is at stake ahead of the midterm elections.
“Democracy is on the ballot this year”
The president also urged Americans to make the idea of voter fraud a deciding factor when they cast their ballots for the midterm elections.
“This year, I hope that the future of our democracy will be an important part of your decision to vote and how you vote,” Biden said. “Will that person accept the election result, win or lose?”
Taking a more optimistic tone near the end, Biden said: “You have the power. It’s your choice. It’s your decision, the destiny of the nation, the destiny of the soul of America, it lies where it always is: with the people. your hands, on your heart, on your ballot. Fellow Americans, we will meet right now.”