During a recent, virtual fundraising event, former President Barack Obama offered stark criticism for ex-President Donald Trump’s repeated affronts against the democratic process in the United States. Trump, of course, has spent months lying that last year’s presidential election was somehow rigged for Joe Biden, and accompanying this foundational allegation has been the claim that the electoral system as it currently exists in the United States does not provide for the government that supposedly should be in place. This rhetoric fosters distrust and open animosity towards what amount to the basic tenets of democracy.
As Obama pointedly put it, discussing Trump:
‘What we saw was my successor, the former president, violate that core tenet that you count the votes and then declare a winner – and fabricate and make up a whole bunch of hooey.’
Discussing recent efforts by Republicans in positions of state-level authority to enact suppressive new voting and election restrictions — with many of these restrictions operating under the pretense of Trump’s lies about election integrity — Obama also said as follows:
‘If we don’t stop these kinds of efforts now, [what] we are going to see is more and more contested elections — contested not in the sense of healthy competition but contested in terms of who wins, who loses… We are going to see a further delegitimizing of our democracy. And not only are we going to see more unfairness in terms of results and who is represented and who isn’t, but we are going to see a breakdown of the basic agreement that has held this magnificent democratic experiment together.’
America already, of course, witnessed a serious threat to the security of democracy in the United States when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and attacked Congress in January, threatening the lives of members of Congress and others. Beyond the problem of Trump continuing to spread the lie about last year’s election that inspired the violence, leaders in the Republican Party are allowing space for that damaging lie to the point that almost all House Republicans recently voted against forming a select committee to investigate the riot. Are they concerned about their own party’s culpability in the violence coming to light?