But this is also a moment of truth for the Republican Party: The country is on a knife’s edge, with G.O.P. officials from state capitols to Congress choosing between the will of voters and the will of one man. In pushing his false claims to the limits, cowing Republicans into acquiescence or silence, and driving officials like Mr. Shinkle to nervous indecision, Mr. Trump has revealed the fragility of the electoral system — and shaken it.
At this point, the president’s impact is not so much about overturning the election — both parties agree he has no real chance of doing that — but infusing the democratic process with so much mistrust and confusion that it ceases to function as it should….
Civil rights leaders are especially alarmed at Mr. Trump’s efforts, given that most of them have falsely portrayed cities with large Black populations, like Detroit and Philadelphia, as so corrupt that their votes shouldn’t count. The argument that Mr. Trump’s attempt is all for show and will not succeed has done little to allay their concern.
“How is it ‘show’ when you’re basically systematically delegitimizing Black voters by your rhetoric,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which filed suit against Mr. Trump in Michigan on Friday for trying to disenfranchise Black voters (it did so on behalf of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and three residents). “How can that be anything but incredibly dangerous,” she added.
Ms. Ifill marveled at the position of the Republican Party, which was the nation’s first true civil rights party from the time of slavery through the late 1950s, but now, under Mr. Trump’s unchallenged leadership, is effectively taking a stance against voting in entire cities and states.
“Civil rights haven’t moved — one party has moved, and that move has not been toward an embrace of democracy, it’s been away from it,’’ she said.