“That there is a gap that is widening between the magnitude of the threat and the intensity of the response… Someone needs to be calling out [this] genuine, five-alarm threat to democracy.”
It’s “the most serious threat to the core underlying principles of American democracy since at least the Civil War.” And Joe Biden is barely doing a thing to stop it.
“We are seeing a threat to the integrity of the 2022 and 2024 elections—and the ability of Americans to cast a vote—that is unfolding across multiple dimensions,” The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein tells Molly Jong-Fast on the latest episode of The New Abnormal. “Amid all of this, you've heard very, very little from Biden presenting this as a threat to democracy.”
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“I went out and talked to the heads of a lot of the civil rights and voting rights groups that are working on these issues. And they are worried on two fronts. They’re worried about the magnitude of what's unfolding in the red states,” where new and proposed laws are being designed to roll back access to the ballot, Brownstein continues. “And they are worried about the way that the Biden White House and the Senate Democratic leadership are responding to it. That there is a gap that is widening between the magnitude of the threat and the intensity of the response.”
If you can even call the Democrats’ occasional limp admonition a response. Meanwhile, Republican senators won’t even vote to investigate the mob that broke into their own workplace; Republican congressmen are embracing authoritarian nutjobs like Marjorie Taylor Greene; and local Republican lawmakers are working overtime to undermine the authority of election overseers.
“There are provisions in many of these laws that are increasing the authority of statewide officials—Republicans—to override decisions by local officials, primarily Democrats, about access to the ballot, or even potentially counting of the ballots,” Brownstein says. “There are bills in these states that would restrict the ability of state courts even to oversee and intervene.”
Now, Team Biden, “they don't really see it that way. They argue—and this is an exact quote from a very senior official—that the best chance to prevent Republicans from undermining the 2024 election is to hold the House and the Senate. And the best way to hold the House and the Senate is for Biden to deliver what he ran on. And part of what he ran on is lowering the temperature in politics and working with Republicans wherever possible to get his agenda passed. And it’s more important to do that than to call out what’s happening in stark terms,” Brownstein notes.
Of course, there’s next-to-no-evidence Republicans are interested in cooperating in any way or on any issue. They’re too busy trying to make sure you can’t vote.
Brownstein says, “There is a strong belief among the civil rights and voting rights groups—although not universal, I’ll say—that Biden, or at least someone else with a big platform in the administration, the vice president or the attorney general, needs to be calling out what's happening in the states as a genuine, five-alarm threat to democracy, because that's how you create the public pressure to do something, to defend the democracy.”