by Lowman S. Henry | February 27, 2024

President Joe Biden has made “democracy at risk” a key theme of his re-election campaign. The Left has seized upon the riot that occurred at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021 as the tip of a much larger spear aimed at the very foundations of our republic.

Polling shows Democrats, Republicans and Independents are in fact concerned about the nation’s political future, albeit for very different reasons. The Left fixates on the reprehensible violence of January 6th while the Right is worried about the integrity of our electoral system.

In 2020 Biden campaigned as a unifier but has governed as a divider. He has engaged in harsh rhetoric attacking his fellow Americans who support Donald Trump in the most vitriolic of terms and has made “democracy at risk” at key theme in most of his speeches. This is actually a ploy to divert voter attention from the many glaring failures of his administration.

His effort to recast “Bidenomics” as a positive term failed because at the kitchen table many American households are struggling with nearly 20% cumulative inflation while wage growth has not kept pace. Despite his efforts at Orwellian doublespeak folks are just not buying it. Bad as the economy is, the crisis at the nation’s southern border has in many polls displaced it as voters’ top concern.

Foreign affairs are often an embattled president’s last refuge. Here too the Biden Administration has no bragging rights. The disaster that was the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan marked the turning point in Joe Biden’s job approval numbers which continue to languish below 40%. That weakness emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. Israel’s war against Hamas has hurt Biden on both sides of the domestic political divide.

What many of the polls fail to do is drill down into why so many Americans think democracy is at risk. The mainstream media of course parrots the Biden version. But, many voters on the Right also see democracy at risk, but for very different reasons.

There is ample evidence that the Biden Administration has weaponized the federal government against its political adversaries. The multiple indictments of former President Donald Trump, while Hillary Clinton and Biden himself are not indicted for crimes they clearly committed, reveal a two-tiered system of justice.

Efforts by supporters of former President Donald Trump to arrive at an accurate vote count in the 2020 Presidential election are seen by the Left as trying to overturn the election results. The Left’s fight against any effort to verify that vote count stoked suspicion and seriously damaged the integrity of our electoral system.

While President Biden vilifies those who challenged the 2020 Presidential election and Donald Trump fends off indictment for his role in challenging that count, Democrats are already preparing to challenge results of the 2024 Presidential election if Donald Trump wins in November.

The Atlantic reports that several “senior Democrats” in congress are preparing to not certify results of the 2024 election if the U.S. Supreme Court does not clearly rule on Donald Trump’s eligibility to occupy the oval office. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, told the Atlantic that Trump is “clearly ineligible” and suggested she might be among the lawmakers seeking to disqualify him.

There is nothing more antithetical to democracy than removing a candidate from the ballot and violating the right of we the voters to decide who we will elect. State efforts to disqualify Donald Trump based on the 14th amendment’s insurrection clause, and nascent congressional maneuvering to challenge results of an election that has not yet taken place, are indeed placing democracy at risk.

Historically speaking, however, the nation has periodically endured periods of political risk. For example the Presidential election of 1876 between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes took months to resolve including the anomaly of an Electoral Commission being established to negotiate the election outcome and issues related to the end of the reconstruction era.

The 1824 Presidential election was inconclusive with three candidates splitting the electoral vote and John Quincy Adams finally prevailing in the U.S. House of Representatives. Most recently, the 2000 election between Al Gore and George H. W. Bush was resolved weeks after the votes were cast by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Is democracy at risk? Yes, it is perpetually so. Which is why, as Thomas Jefferson cautioned “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly American Radio Journal and Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is [email protected].)

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