UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden implores voters to save democracy from lies, violence

Nov 2, 2022, 11:15 AM | Updated: Nov 3, 2022, 9:17 am
President Joe Biden speaks about threats to democracy ahead of next week's midterm elections, Wedne...

President Joe Biden speaks about threats to democracy ahead of next week's midterm elections, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, at the Columbus Club in Union Station, near the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Warning that democracy itself is in peril, President Joe Biden called on Americans Wednesday night to use their ballots in next week’s midterm elections to stand up against lies, violence and dangerous “ultra MAGA” election disruptors who are trying to “succeed where they failed” in subverting the 2020 elections.

This is no time to stand aside, he declared. “Silence is complicity.”

After weeks of reassuring talk about America’s economy and inflation, Biden turned to a darker, more urgent message, declaring in the final days of midterm election voting that the nation’s system of governance is under threat from former President Donald Trump’s election-denying lies and the violence Biden said they inspire.

The president singled out “ultra MAGA” Republicans — a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan — calling them a minority but “driving force” of the Republican Party.

Pointing in particular to last Friday’s attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Biden said that Trump’s false claims about a stolen election have “fueled the dangerous rise of political violence and voter intimidation over the past two years.”

“There’s an alarming rise in the number of people in this country condoning political violence or simply remaining silent,” Biden added. “In our bones we know democracy is at risk, but we also know this: It’s in our power to preserve our democracy.”

The president’s speech — focused squarely on the rite of voting and the counting of that vote — amounted to a plea for Americans to step back from the inflamed rhetoric that has heightened fears of political violence and challenges to the integrity of the elections. Biden was straddling two roles, speaking as both a president defending the pillars of democracy and a Democrat trying to boost his party’s prospects against Republicans.

He called out the hundreds of candidates who have denied the 2020 election result and now refuse to commit to accepting the results of the upcoming midterms.

“This driving force is trying to succeed where they failed in 2020 to suppress the rights of voters and subvert the electoral system itself,” Biden said.

“That is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s unlawful. And it is un-American.”

The speech came days after a man seeking to kidnap House Speaker Pelosi severely injured her husband, Paul Pelosi, in their San Francisco home in the worst recent example of the political violence that burst forth with the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol and has continued with alarming, though less-spectacular incidents.

Election workers nationwide have questioned whether to go back to work following increased intimidation and harassment ahead of Election Day. At least five people have been charged with federal crimes for harassing workers as early voting has gotten underway.

Reports of people watching ballot boxes in Arizona, sometimes armed or wearing ballistic vests, have raised serious concerns about voter intimidation. Election officials nationwide are bracing for confrontations at polling sites. A flood of conspiracy theorists have signed up to work as partisan poll watchers.

Emphasizing that it is the first federal election since the Capitol riot and Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Biden called on voters to reject candidates who have denied the results of the vote, which even Trump’s own administration declared to be free of any widespread fraud or interference.

Biden asked voters to “think long and hard about the moment we are in.”

“In a typical year, we are not often faced with the question of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy or put it at risk,” he said. “But we are this year.”

“I hope you’ll make the future of our democracy an important part of your decision to vote and how you vote,” Biden added, asking Americans to consider whether the candidates they are supporting would respect the will of the people and accept the outcome of their election.

“The answer to that question is vital and in my opinion it should be decisive,” he said.

Biden also aimed to get ahead of conspiracy theories about the ongoing vote, saying Americans were voting early, by mail and by absentee ballot and it would take time to tally them “in a legal and orderly manner.” Major changes in voting in 2020 because of the pandemic prompted more early voting and mail-in voting and saw record turnout. It took five days before the results of the 2020 presidential election were final.

“It is important for citizens to be patient,” Biden said.

Some Republicans sharply criticized Biden’s remarks. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who stands to be speaker of the House if the GOP retakes control of the chamber, tweeted, “President Biden is trying to divide and deflect at a time when America needs to unite–because he can’t talk about his policies that have driven up the cost of living. The American people aren’t buying it.”

Biden delivered his remarks from Washington’s Union Station, blocks from the U.S. Capitol, just six days before polls close on Nov. 8 and as more than 27 million Americans have already cast their ballots.

Before the speech, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said he’s reviewed the attack on Pelosi’s husband and believes today’s political climate calls for more resources and better security for members of Congress after a massive increase in threats to lawmakers following the Capitol riot. He also made a rare call to stop the rancorous conspiracy talk that has swirled around the attack.

“Our brave men and women are working around the clock to meet this urgent mission during this divisive time,” he said in a statement. “In the meantime, a significant change that will have an immediate impact will be for people across our country to lower the temperature on political rhetoric before it’s too late.”

Biden last delivered a prime-time speech on what he called the “continued battle for the soul of the nation” on Sept. 1 outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, in which he condemned the “MAGA forces” of Trump and his adherents as a threat to America’s system of government.

The new remarks come as hundreds of candidates who have falsely denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election are on ballots across the country, with many poised to be elected to critical roles overseeing elections.

In contrast to the September remarks, which drew criticism from some corners for being paid for by taxpayers, Biden’s Wednesday night speech was hosted by the Democratic National Committee.

Many Americans remain pessimistic about the state of U.S. democracy. An October poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that just 9% of adults think democracy is working “extremely” or “very well,” while 52% say it’s not working well.

___

AP writer Seung Min Kim contributed.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2022 midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

United States News

This image released by Marvel Studios shows a scene from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." (Marvel ...
Associated Press

‘Wakanda Forever’ is No. 1 for 4th straight weekend

NEW YORK (AP) — “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” kept the box-office crown for the fourth straight weekend, and the comic holiday thriller “Violent Night” debuted with $13.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. But the biggest talking point on the weekend was a movie conspicuously absent from theaters. Had Netflix kept Rian Johnson’s whodunit sequel […]
21 hours ago
FILE - San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds hits a single against the Chicago Cubs during the third in...
Associated Press

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question. Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.” A Hall of Fame committee delivered its […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Capital murder defendant and former U.S. Border Patrol Juan David Ortiz looks around the cou...
Associated Press

Jurors hear ex-Border Patrol agent’s confession in killings

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jurors in the capital murder trial of a former U.S. Border Patrol agent have heard a taped interview in which he confesses to the 2018 killings of four sex workers in South Texas. If convicted of capital murder, Juan David Ortiz, 39, faces life in prison without parole because prosecutors are […]
21 hours ago
FILE - A Twitter logo hangs outside the company's San Francisco offices on Nov. 1, 2022. A top Euro...
Associated Press

As Musk is learning, content moderation is a messy job

Now that he’s back on Twitter, neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin wants somebody to explain the rules. Anglin, the founder of an infamous neo-Nazi website, was reinstated Thursday, one of many previously banned users to benefit from an amnesty granted by Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk. The next day, Musk banished Ye, the rapper formerly known as […]
21 hours ago
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the J Street National Conference at the Omni Shoreham H...
Associated Press

Blinken vows US support for Israel despite unease over gov’t

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the U.S. will not shrink from its unwavering support for Israel despite stark differences with Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu and concerns the Biden administration may have about potential members of his incoming right-wing government. Speaking to a left-leaning group that some on the right accuse […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Farmer: Georgia dog injured saving sheep from coyote attack

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia sheepdog is recovering at home two days after killing a pack of coyotes that attacked his owner’s flock of sheep, farmer John Wierwiller said. Casper, a 20-month old Great Pyrenees from Decatur, fought off a pack of coyotes who were threatening Wierwiller’s sheep farm, he said. The fight lasted […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Biden implores voters to save democracy from lies, violence