GOP attack on 2022 election an ‘existential threat’ to democracy, progressives warn

This story originally appeared in Common dreams on Nov 8, 2021. It is shared here with permission under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Citing “unprecedented and coordinated” Republican efforts to undermine public confidence in the U.S. electoral system, nearly 60 advocacy groups on Monday warned of the need to defend democracy ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, including by adopting the law on free voting.

“We have already seen tragic consequences in the form of a violent insurgency on Capitol Hill on January 6.”

“Our democracy faces an existential threat – the very real possibility that the outcome of an election could be ignored and the will of the people overthrown by hyperpartisan actors”, 58 groups including, Protect Democracy, Public Citizen, SEIU and the Sierra Club affirms in a open letter.

“Since the 2020 election, we have witnessed unprecedented and coordinated efforts to cast doubt on the US electoral system,” the letter said.

“These efforts have taken many forms,” the authors explain, including “widespread disinformation campaigns and baseless allegations of electoral fraud,… manipulation or sabotage, and outright violence.

Noting that “exaggerated and unfounded fears about voter fraud have been a tool for suppressing votes for some time,” the letter argues that “these efforts have taken on a whole new ferocity with the advent of the former president. [Donald] Trump’s ‘big lie’ about the 2020 presidential election. “

“The danger posed by the concerted effort to spread disinformation and undermine confidence in our elections is neither hypothetical nor speculative,” say the authors. “We have already seen tragic consequences in the form of a violent insurgency on Capitol Hill on January 6.”

“Despite the fact that experts from across the political spectrum, including Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, have confirmed that the 2020 election is as free, fair and safe as any in American history, Trump and his supporters did their utmost to cast doubt on the integrity of the process, ”the letter said.

While warning that the GOP could work to overthrow future elections, the signatories assure that “there are steps we can take to prevent this disastrous outcome, but we must take swift action.”

“We must repel dangerous state initiatives that endanger democracy; Congress must enact essential provisions to protect federal elections and election officials from partisan attacks and subversion, such as those included in the Freedom to Vote Act; and legal remedies should be implemented as needed, ”the coalition said.

“In addition, elected officials and officials at all levels must condemn attacks on processes that allow free and fair democratic elections, without partisanship,” add the signatories.

Many groups who signed the letter also support the abolition of Senate filibustering, a procedure historically used to block civil rights legislation.including the Freedom to Vote Act at the end of last month.