Threatening democracy

August 11, 2020

The current denizen of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue crossed inviolable bounds by suggesting that we delay the November 3rd Presidential Election based on his conspiracy theories that allowing people to vote by mail is not secure. Trump himself votes absentee. Several states vote completely by mail. There is simply no truth in saying voting this way is not secure.
 
Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and other parties that preceded us, have debated the full array of issues for many decades. We have contested elections vigorously, then disagreed fiercely over policy once elected, and compromised to pass legislation. This process is sometimes messy and inefficient, but it is deeply honorable. Welcome to democracy.
 
Throughout all the emotion, commotion and self-promotion of our democracy, Republicans and Democrats have historically worked together to protect the basic norms that have allowed it to last 230 years (with very important disputes about who may vote and how easily). Non-partisan election administration. Holding all votes as scheduled. Peaceful transfers of power.
 
We are in the middle of a pandemic. Trump’s unwillingness to heed ample early warnings beginning in his daily intelligence briefings in January; invoke the full powers of the Defense Production Act to procure or produce everything we need for testing, treatment and personal protection; create a national public health response and plan; show compassion for the nearly 160,000 Americans already dead and the millions unemployed and suffering; and basically lead in any way amounts to the greatest failure of executive function in the modern history of the presidency.
 
Now that his poll numbers remain miserable week after week, he seeks a way out, democracy be damned.  Well, we will not let our democracy be damned.
 
The Congress set the date for our federal election as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November by statute in 1845. Only Congress can change this.  The American people participated in one truly national referendum in 2018, and that was the election of all 435 members of the House of Representatives. They sent the most diverse and dynamic group of citizens to represent them in our history. This Congress will not let any person threaten our democracy.
 

Andy Levin
U.S. House of Representatives
9th District (Bloomfield Township)

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