My New One at Slate: “Democrats Sure Aren’t Acting as if Trump Beating Biden Is an Existential Threat to Democracy”

I have written this piece for Slate. Some snippets:

But more recently, Democrats have not done nearly enough to deal with the ongoing risks to democracy that they themselves repeatedly raise. They have supported election deniers running in Republican primaries in an attempt to ease the path for Democratic candidates in general elections. They have not made it a legislative priority to change or repeal the Insurrection Act, a law that could be a major tool in a second Trump administration to send federal troops into U.S. cities in what would surely be an invitation for violent clashes. They have sought to promote Trump’s dangerous rhetoric from 2020 opposing mail-in voting in the cynical, antidemocratic hope of tamping down Republican turnout….

recent CBS poll showed that only 27 percent of people think Biden has the mental and cognitive health to serve as president, compared to 72 percent who think he does not. (A month ago, before the debate, the numbers were 35/65.) In swing-state polls, Biden is losing, and polls are moving in the wrong direction. Careful election analyst Dave Wasserman wrote on X: “The notion that the presidential is a Toss Up was a stretch even before the debate. Today, Trump has a clear advantage over Biden and a much more plausible path to 270 Electoral votes.” Dave Weigel notes that this is the first time in 24 years that a Republican is leading in polling averages after July 4. In July 2020, Biden was leading by 9 points. He ended up winning that race by exactly half that margin—a feat that raises further questions about his ability to overcome Trump’s growing lead…..

Instead, most Democrats are silent or have expressed their support for Biden’s run. Yet, behind the scenes, according to numerous reports, Democrats expect a shellacking, one that could not only take down Biden but also ensure that Trumpist Republicans control the House and the Senate. That situation of unified Republican political control, combined with a compliant Supreme Court, is powerful and volatile. Yet Biden seems to be taking this in stride too, telling interviewer George Stephanopoulos, when asked how he would feel next January if he stayed in the race and lost to Trump, “I’ll feel, as long as I gave it my all and I did the good as job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about.”

If it’s really true, though, that a second Trump term would be the kind of “five-alarm fire” that Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson warned about in her dissent in the Supreme Court’s immunity case, and if Democrats really believe that a Biden loss is inevitable, then their failure to speak up now and intervene with Biden cannot be squared with their rhetoric of the Trump apocalypse of a second term…

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