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Juan Williams: Democracy hangs in the balance in the midterms

I don’t get it.

Turn on the TV news, open a paper, and the stories are all about the midterm polls, debates and the political horse race between Republicans and Democrats.

Am I missing something?

How is it possible for any reporter to pretend this is just another election when 71 percent of voters in a recent New York Times poll said democracy is at risk?

Here is another mystery to me.

Voters say inflation, not the threat to democracy, is their first concern.

How can anyone close their eyes to the big picture — a threat to our nation’s political stability, the cornerstone of American democracy?

A stable democracy is the basis of our economic future.

But the country took another lurch toward instability in the early hours of Friday, when an intruder at the San Francisco home of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attacked her husband Paul with a hammer.

An incredible 67 percent of Americans fear “extremists will commit acts of violence after the election,” according to a recent Reuters-Ipsos poll.

Blind to this alarming reality, reporters are busy constantly pushing voters into traps of distraction created by Republicans peddling baseless conspiracies about election fraud. Why not pull the mask off their scary ads about crime and immigration, full of racist winks and anti-Semitic vibes? 

How do reporters miss the alarm sounding when 10 candidates for secretary of state are running on a platform of casting doubt upon the proven outcome of the last election? In total, there are around 300 Republican candidates echoing the lie.

What about the threat to democracy when, according to the Pew Trusts, “in North Carolina and other states, far-right activists have gone door to door, asking residents to sign legal documents attesting they are registered to vote at their address”?

How is it possible for reporters to miss that 41 percent of Republicans, in a New York Times poll, say they have “little to no faith in the accuracy of this year’s midterm elections”?

A Monmouth University poll from September found 61 percent of Republicans believe that voter fraud was responsible for Biden’s victory in 2020.

In the Times poll, 84 percent of those Democrats who believe U.S. democracy in general is under threat said former President Trump posed a “major threat” to its survival.

That’s not a matter of opinion. It is a conclusion based on the reality of delusional thinking dominating one party. 

The damaged state of the GOP should be at the top of every newscast, every front page, every voter’s mind, every day before the election.

The nation is facing a threat to its constitutional form of government. That history is the basis of global corporate trust in our legal system and the root of America’s economic strength. 

All of that is at risk. 

If America’s political stability breaks so, too, does our military strength at a time when Russian and Chinese authoritarian leaders are a threat to world peace.

How can reporters act as if the House Select Committee on January 6th never documented, with sworn testimony from some Republicans, that the former president plotted a violent attempt to overturn the last presidential election?

He failed because there were enough Republicans of integrity in positions of power who refused to go along with the plot. 

These midterm elections are a continuation of that coup attempt as Trump tries to replace Republicans who believe in democracy with those who are only about political loyalty to him.

What happens in 2024 if Trump is on the ballot and more officials agree to back up his bogus charges of a stolen election?

When Trump famously called up the Republican secretary of State in Georgia and asked him to “find” enough votes to tip the state to him, Brad Raffensperger refused.

In 2024, if Trump makes a similar call to the new Republican secretaries of State in Nevada, Arizona and other states, will they comply? 

Jim Marchant, the GOP nominee for secretary of State in Nevada, is a fervent election-denier who has accused a shadowy “cabal” of rigging the results.

This is subversion of democracy by a witches’ brew of lies, tribalism and misinformation. 

So many Republicans swallowed the “Big Lie,” it is now easy for them to embrace smaller lies as a show of belonging to the tribe. 

Why wouldn’t they? They see that Republican elected officials who lie with impunity are rewarded while those who tell the truth, like Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are punished.

If you believe the 2020 election was a fraud, then why not nod along when a talking head lies about a historic crime wave sweeping over Democrat-run states and cities?

Trump fans don’t want to hear that the murder rate in New York State, for example, is lower than in 19 of the 25 states that Trump won. 

There is a threat to America from Republicans loyal to Trump and his lies. His loyalists see no problem with blaming the press for accurately reporting there was no fraud in 2020.

That is the real story of the 2022 midterms.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

Tags 2022 midterm elections Democracy election denial misinformation Nancy Pelosi

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