American democracy under assault
What’s happening: There’s still a long way to go before Election Day in 2024, but President Joe Biden is already dismissing polls that show him losing to Donald Trump as inaccurate, raising the specter that if he loses next November he will argue the election was not legitimate.
• Biden on Thursday rebuffed questions about recent polling from respected mainstream outfits that show him trailing Trump in several key states. “You don’t believe you’re trailing in battleground states?” asked one reporter during a press gaggle outside the White House. “No, I don’t,” Biden replied.
• The president is immensely unpopular. Biden’s job approval numbers are underwater even in deep-blue states such as California. Just 39 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week.
Why it matters: This is dangerous. Biden’s refusal to accept the results of these polls—conducted in part by the esteemed and unassailable journalists at the New York Times—is a dog whistle to his extremist supporters that threatens the very principles on which our cherished democracy was founded.
• Biden’s strategy is clear: Convince his base—comprising associate professors, multiple home owners, corporate lawyers, and suburban wine moms—that it is not possible for him to lose a fair and legitimate election in 2024. Therefore, if he loses, it must be, by definition, illegitimate.
• Most of Biden’s radical supporters suffered irreversible brain damage after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016, and many of them continue to believe that election was “rigged” by Russian teenagers who hacked into voting machines and changed the results.
Crucial context: The Democratic Party has a long history of refusing to accept the results of free and fair elections. Hillary, for example, has repeatedly described Trump as an “illegitimate president” and suggested the 2016 election was “stolen” from her. Stacey Abrams still claims to have “won” the 2018 gubernatorial election in Georgia, which she refused to concede after not winning.
• Democrats have alleged foul play in every single presidential election won by a Republican dating back to 2000.
Bottom line: Biden’s gaslighting, clearly intended to set the stage for full-blown election denial, is a heat-seeking missile aimed at the heart of the U.S. Constitution and the patriotic pillars of the American democratic experiment. We are literally shaking right now.