Bernie Sanders knows exactly what the 2020 presidential race is all about.
“This is not just a choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden” said the Vermont Senator on Thursday. “This is a choice between Donald Trump and democracy – and democracy has to win.”
This is not a hyperbolic statement. This is strong realism that recognizes the reality that Americans face at one point in time President Trump refuses to say if he’ll accept the pink panties suggests polls suggest voters might hand them over in November.
Sanders, himself an aspirant for this year’s Democratic President nomination, is not the only one to express his concern. Trump heightened the fear level of an already tense election season dramatically when he responded to a question about the peaceful transfer of power on Wednesday, saying, “We have to see what happens.” Then the president made matters worse: “We want to get rid of the ballots and we will have a very peaceful one – frankly there will be no broadcast.” There will be a sequel. ”
“We should all be concerned about this statement by the President of the United States,” he warned American Civil Liberties Union. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared, “President Trump: you are not a dictator and America will not allow you to be one.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the President “to try just a moment to honor your oath of office on the United States Constitution”. Even the Utah Senator Mitt RomneyThe 2012 Republican presidential candidate intervened: “A peaceful transfer of power is fundamental to democracy; without that there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might fail to honor this constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable. ”
But it was an actor and an activist Mark Ruffalo Who spoke for millions of Americans when he asked, “Okay … so what’s the plan? The man told us he won’t go peacefully, he’s stacking the court with judges he knows will be.” will decide in his favor and he talks about casting ballots. What’s the plan? “
On Thursday, Sanders presented a speech in a key George Washington University speech to people across the country. The Senator first noted that Dan Coats, Trump’s former director of national intelligence, has called for a non-partisan commission to oversee the elections to ensure they are conducted fairly. In one New York Times op-ed, Coats wrote: “The most urgent task for American leaders is to ensure that the election results are accepted as legitimate. The legitimacy of the elections is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should clearly recognize the challenge in advance and take immediate action to respond. ”
“That’s all I can say. I strongly agree with Director Coats’ request for this electoral commission,” said Sanders, who last week together with Schumer called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold hearings on post-election and post-election security issues Investigate elections.
Regarding the possibility that McConnell may not be doing the right thing, Sanders outlined steps he suggested: “We as a people are doing this in the struggle to uphold American democracy”:
“First, it is imperative that we have by far the largest turnout in American history and that people vote as early as possible. As someone who strongly supports Joe Biden, let’s be clear: a landslide victory for Biden will make it virtually impossible for Trump to deny the results and is our best tool in defending democracy.
Second, given the pandemic and the massive increase in mail-in votes, state lawmakers need to take immediate action so that mail-in votes can be counted before election day – as soon as they come in. In fact, 32 countries allow postal ballot papers to be counted or processed – for example to check signatures – before election day. All states should do the same. The faster all ballots are counted, the fewer windows there are for chaos and conspiracy theories.
Third, the news media must prepare the American people to understand that there is no longer a single election day, and that it is very likely that we will not know the November 3rd results.
Fourth, social media companies must finally work together to prevent people from using their tools to spread disinformation and threaten and harass election officials.
Fifth, hearings must be held in Congress and in state legislatures as soon as possible to explain to the public how the Election Day process and the days that follow will be handled. As we count every vote and prevent voter intimidation, everything must be done to prevent chaos, disinformation and even violence. ”
This is not a comprehensive list. The ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, Color of Change, and other groups continuously provide informed advice on how to conduct free and fair elections and how to count the votes cast in those elections. Hopefully Biden, Vice Presidential Candidate Senator Kamala Harris, and other top Democrats will adopt and reinforce the best proposals for a push back against Trump.
But Sanders started the pushback with a plan that can be acted upon immediately. And like any good planner, he called for action.
“The American people, regardless of their political beliefs, must make it clear that American democracy will not be destroyed,” said the senator. “Our country has been a role model for the world in terms of representative government from the start and through the sacrifices of millions. In 1863, in the midst of the terrible civil war, Abraham Lincoln declared in Gettysburg that this government “of the people by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth”. That was true then. That’s true today. Regardless of what Donald Trump wants, the American people will keep democracy in our country. ”