Days before the 2022 midterm elections come to a close, President Joe Biden issued a stark warning to those who have yet to cast their ballots, saying that U.S. democracy itself is on the line.
Biden spoke on Wednesday night at Union Station in Washington D.C. during a political event hosted by the Democratic National Committee. In his speech, he told Americans they cannot “take democracy for granted any longer,” and tied the protection of democratic rights to voting against candidates who have not committed to accepting the election results.
The president spoke about the rise of incendiary rhetoric and violence among the right, which puts politicians, poll workers and everyday citizens at risk.
“This intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans, and nonpartisan officials just doing their jobs is the consequences of lies, told for power and profit,” Biden said.
Biden also referred directly to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, tying his refusal to accept the 2020 presidential election results to attacks on democracy in the U.S.
“American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president of the United States refused to accept the results of the 2020 election…He refuses to accept the fact that he lost,” Biden said.
Although only a minority of voters buy into Trump’s claims of election fraud and refuse to acknowledge Biden’s win, their beliefs have far-reaching consequences, the president explained.
“I believe the voices excusing or calling for violence and intimidation are a distinct minority in America. But they’re loud and they are determined,” he said.
There are candidates running for every level of office in America — for governor, for Congress, for attorney general, for secretary of state — who won’t commit to accepting the results of the elections they’re in. That is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s unlawful. And it is un-American.
Biden also referenced the attack last week on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) husband, Paul Pelosi, who was severely injured with a hammer during a home invasion. The intruder reportedly believed many of the false conspiracy theories being pushed by Trump and others on the far right, and repeatedly asked “Where’s Nancy?” during the attack.
“We don’t settle our differences in America with a riot, a mob, or a bullet or a hammer. We settle them peacefully at the ballot box,” Biden said.
Biden asked the American people to consider the consequences of electing far right Republicans with anti-democratic views to positions of power. Those Republicans will “succeed where they failed in 2020” if they win this year’s midterms, Biden warned, “suppress[ing] the right of voters and subvert[ing] the electoral system itself” once in power.
The president also criticized conservative politicians and media for not doing enough to dispel disinformation. “Silence is complicity,” Biden said.