Biden warns of political violence ahead of midterm elections: ‘We can no longer take democracy for granted’


President Joe Biden issued a stark warning to Americans on Wednesday that the future of the nation’s democracy may depend on next week’s midterm elections, six days before the president’s final vote in an almost existential form. Urgent appeal.

“We can no longer take democracy for granted,” the president said at Union Station in Washington, a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol where a mob tried to block the certification of the 2020 election.

For Americans considering running in next week’s congressional elections, it’s a poignant message that the country’s future is at stake. Biden said the majority of candidates at all levels of government who denied the results of the last presidential race was a flashing warning sign for the country.

“As I stand here today, there are candidates running for office at every level in America — governor, Congress, attorney general, secretary of state, and they’re not going to commit to accepting the results of the election they’re in,” Biden said. “This is where America is headed. chaotic road. This is unprecedented. This is illegal. It’s not American. ”

Biden’s speech blamed the dire national situation directly on his predecessor, Donald Trump, accusing the former president of fabricating a lie that has been diverted into a conspiracy network that has led to targeted violence.

“This intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans and independent officials is just lies for power and profit, conspiracy and malicious lies, lies repeated over and over to create a cycle of anger, hatred , vitriol and even violence,” Biden said. “At this moment, we must confront those lies with the truth, and the future of our country depends on it.”

“American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president … refused to accept the will of the people,” Biden said.

The speech, a political event hosted by the Democratic National Committee, not the White House, underscored views that Biden has been making in the weeks since his prime-time speech in Philadelphia. However, it deviated from the central focus of the Democrats’ final midterm message, which was a brighter picture of the economic recovery.

Biden’s message Wednesday was anything but optimistic, even if he still hoped that Americans would reject the threatening forces he described. After attacking the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week, Biden was driven to speak by an intruder who, according to his social media, was involved in the right, including election fraud, aides said. conspiracy.

Biden made sure to point out that most Americans, not even most Republicans, would not resort to violence. But he said the ones that would make a huge difference.

“I believe the voices that justify or call for violence and intimidation are a distinct minority in America,” Biden said. “But they are loud and they are firm.”

Biden and his team have been considering speeches on democracy topics for some time, but their decisions in recent days have been swayed by what they see as a surge in anti-democratic rhetoric and threats of violence. But the attack on Paul Pelosi deeply shocked Biden and his top advisers. The shocking home invasion and attack on Pelosi put the 82-year-old in hospital for surgery and has since been recovering from a fractured skull and other injuries.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Paul Pelosi (L) and U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi attend Tony Bennett at the Metropolitan Opera on September 18, 2011 in New York City 85th Birthday Party Benefit to Explore Art.  (Photo by Countess Jemal/Getty Images for Tony Bennett)

Prosecutor: Attacker woke Pelosi, stood by his bed

Advisers said before the speech that Biden felt it was important for him to directly condemn the threats and acts of violence.

The theme of protecting the soul of the nation — and the backbone of the nation’s democratic institutions — is at the heart of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. The president has since talked about those topics throughout his presidency, but Wednesday’s speech marked an effort to stress what’s at stake heading into the midterms.

Defending democracy has been a vivid ideological feature of Biden this political season and is enriched in his off-camera conversations with Democrats. A day before his speech in Washington, Biden warned a group of Democratic donors in Florida that “democracy is on the ballot” this year — and offered some previews of his message a day later.

“How can you say you actually care about democracy when you deny that victory exists? The only way you can win is to win or the other side cheats,” he said at an event in the waterfront backyard of a mansion in Gold Beach, Florida. Say.

“It hasn’t happened since the Civil War. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it hasn’t happened since, as bad as it is now,” he said.

It seems no coincidence that Biden mentioned the Civil War. He was seen this week with a copy of historian Jon Meacham’s new book, “There’s Light: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Struggle,” which explores how America’s 16th president faced division and struggled with democracy. threat.

Meacham was an informal adviser to Biden and helped write some of his most high-profile speeches.

Biden had previously made a bet two months ago to travel to Philadelphia, where he delivered an urgent rebuke to Trump and those who align with his attempts to undermine democracy.

“As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under attack,” Biden said at the time. “We’re not going to pretend we’re not doing ourselves any favors.”

Biden strongly warned at the time of what he called “extremism that threatens the foundations of our republic.”

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