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Across the U.S., a return to democratic order. Will it last?

21 Comments
By STEVE PEOPLES
Election 2022 Democracy
FILE - The Capitol is seen in Washington, Nov. 11, 2022. The post-election narrative has been focused on each party’s electoral fate: Republicans were disappointed that a red wave did not materialize, while Democrats braced for the likelihood of a House Republican takeover. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

There was no violence. Many candidates who denied the legitimacy of previous elections lost and quietly conceded. And few listened when former President Donald Trump tried to stoke baseless allegations of electoral fraud.

For a moment, at least, there's a sense of normalcy in the U.S. The extremism that has consumed political discourse for much of the last two years has been replaced by something resembling traditional democratic order.

The post-election narrative was instead focused on each party's electoral fate: Republicans were disappointed that sweeping victories didn't materialize, while relieved Democrats braced for the possibility of a slim House GOP majority. At least for now, the serious threats that loomed over democracy heading into Election Day — domestic extremist violence, voter intimidation and Republican refusal to respect election outcomes — did not materialize in any pervasive way.

“It was a good day, I think, for democracy,” President Joe Biden said, even as he acknowledged his party might lose one chamber of Congress.

New Hampshire Gov Chris Sununu, a Republican, said midterm voters were concerned about Biden’s leadership but that they had a more urgent message: “Fix policy later, fix crazy now,” he told CNN.

Yet the “crazy” that consumed Sununu's party this fall still looms.

Even as many GOP leaders blame Trump for elevating weak and extreme candidates who struggled, the former president sought to undermine the midterm results from his low-profile social media platform. Trump posted no fewer than 20 messages since Tuesday afternoon raising the false prospect of electoral fraud in the 2022 election, increasingly focusing on Nevada and Arizona as vote counting there continued into the weekend.

His expected announcement on Tuesday of a third presidential campaign could give Trump another high-profile platform to advance lies about the election.

Of the high-profile candidates on the 2022 ballot, only Arizona's Republican candidate for governor, Kari Lake, has been aggressive in promoting Trump's unfounded concerns about the extended vote-counting process, which is typical in some states. Lake is locked in a tight race against Democrat Katie Hobbs that hasn’t been called.

In Pennsylvania, the Trump-backed candidate for governor, Doug Mastriano, was soundly defeated. Mastriano's senior legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, a former Trump aide, stated unequivocally there was no sign of serious voting irregularity.

“There isn’t this kind of concern like we had in 2020," Ellis said on her podcast. "We can’t just say, ‘Oh, my gosh, everything was stolen.’ I mean, that’s ridiculous for this election.”

And in Michigan, Trump-backed Republican Tudor Dixon, a leading 2020 election denier, quickly conceded to Michigan Gov Gretchen Whitmer after The Associated Press called the race.

A leading progressive, Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders, who has raised concerns about far-right threats to democracy since before his own 2020 presidential bid, suggested that the GOP has begun to act more rationally.

“I think that a number of Republicans now understand that Trump’s desire to undermine American democracy is not only wrong, but it is bad politics,” Sanders told the AP. "For all of those people who want to maintain the lies that Trump actually won in 2020, Tuesday was a bad day for them and a good day for the rest of the American people.”

Indeed, across the country, so-called election deniers lost some of the nation's most important races.

Just one of 14 self-described “America First” secretary of state candidates, Indiana's Diego Morales, won his race. The group of would-be chief election officials, which included candidates in swing states Arizona, Michigan and Nevada, was defined by Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Candidates who embraced such beliefs also lost races for governor in the Midwestern battlegrounds of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and in the Northeastern battleground of Pennsylvania.

Republicans who denied the legitimacy of the last election did prevail in Senate contests in North Carolina and Ohio. In Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp won reelection outright after fighting Trump's conspiracy theories, but Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who has promoted lies about the last election, proceeded to a runoff election in December.

Before Election Day, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said he was “extremely concerned” that Black people would be disenfranchised by voter intimidation or other voter suppression tactics — especially as hundreds of pro-Trump activists signed up to serve as GOP election watchers across the country.

U.S. intelligence agencies issued a bulletin less than two weeks before the election warning of a heightened threat of domestic violent extremism that might target elected officials, election workers or voting places.

But days after polls closed, Johnson said the voting process largely went well. He noted, however, that it's impossible to know whether the threat of intimidation or violence may have had a “chilling effect” on voter participation.

“It was frustrating that we have to operate in our democracy from a fear posture,” Johnson said. “We should be making it easier to vote.”

Meanwhile, world leaders noted the relatively smooth election in discussions with Biden during a weekend summit in southeast Asia. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the outcome established “a strong position for him on the international stage.”

“I would say one theme that emerged over the course of the two days was the theme about the strength of American democracy and what this election said about American democracy,” Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One. “So, the president feels very good about — obviously, about the results.”

On Election Day, Trump tried and failed to sow disorder in multiple states — especially in regions with large minority populations.

Trump posted a message on social media Tuesday afternoon falsely claiming that voters were being refused the right to vote in Detroit. “Protest, Protest, Protest!” the former president wrote.

The message inspired no protests or even visible tension outside the Detroit convention center where votes were being counted. Four years earlier, scores of Trump supporters screamed and beat on the glass during the tabulation process.

At Milwaukee’s central count facility, several election observers heckled election commission members as roughly 250 workers tabulated the city’s absentee ballots Tuesday evening. Republican Commissioner Doug Haag, who stood witness as the flash drives with vote totals were sealed in envelopes, was among those who scolded the hecklers. They quieted down after receiving a final warning and were allowed to stay for the remainder of the process.

In Arizona's pivotal Maricopa County, there were calls early on from far-right groups, including some known to attract Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other extremists, for protests in front of the building where the ballots were being counted to demand a hand count of the vote. Police responded with a heavy presence on Election Day, bringing in mounted officers and helicopters. But not even a handful of protesters showed up. Four years earlier, a large group of armed protesters gathered outside the same tabulation center.

And in Nevada, local officials were prepared for disorder, but bad weather more than voter intimidation marked Election Day.

In populous Clark County, a Democratic stronghold, one man walked into a polling place and raised his voice at poll workers, saying the machines were rigged, according to the Clark County School District Police Department. Poll workers told him to quiet down before he walked outside, where he tried to pull down the “vote here” sign.

In the Reno, Nevada, area, where voters braved snow and ice on Election Day, Washoe County interim registrar Jamie Rodriguez said there was only one case of voter intimidation. Two men threatened poll workers and were “aggressive” toward voters, before a poll manager escorted them out. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said it was investigating.

“It was a lot of comments about them not being patriots, not doing the right thing,” Rodriguez said.

Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington, Harm Venhuizen in Milwaukee, Corey Williams in Detroit and Seung Min Kim in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


21 Comments
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A leading progressive, Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders, who has raised concerns about far-right threats to democracy since before his own 2020 presidential bid, suggested that the GOP has begun to act more rationally.

A voice of prescience, reason, rationality and compassion, Bernie Sanders is a National Treasure as a voice for the people like Steinbeck or Woody Guthrie.

If there were a hundred of him in Congress....

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

“midterm voters were concerned about Biden’s leadership but that they had a more urgent message: “Fix policy later, fix crazy now”

I hope kari lake got the message. She tweeted “Arizonans know BS when they see it”

They sure do, 3rd time in a row now.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

not worth to read all at all.just some mix of euphenisms.

US elections are just a comedy for masses and never brought any positive change for them.and never will.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

There was no violence.

The rioters from the Summer of 2020 stayed home thankfully.

Many candidates who denied the legitimacy of previous elections lost and quietly conceded. 

Stacey Abrams rightfully refrained from making a fool of herself again.

The extremism that has consumed political discourse for much of the last two years has been replaced by something resembling traditional democratic order.

In other words, the Democrats finally quieted down with their conspiracy theories, and the inevitable rejection of their candidates.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Across the U.S., a return to democratic order. Will it last?

Not if the GOP has anything to do with it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The predicted Big Red Wave turned into a bottle of ketchup. The Republicans couldn't take the Senate but take the House with a handful of seats. More like any other Midterms.

Days of Trump are still to come. He doesn't care much about democracy.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

wallaceToday  10:03 am JST

The predicted Big Red Wave turned into a bottle of ketchup. The Republicans couldn't take the Senate but take the House with a handful of seats. More like any other Midterms.

Days of Trump are still to come. He doesn't care much about democracy.

It was a beautiful red wave, which registered American voters were able to participate in.

What a great victory in Florida too, which was awash in a sea of Red.

Voters and property owners in Florida reap the benefits of a Republican-led state.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Ms Lake however, struck a more combative tone on social media, tweeting that "Arizonans know BS when they see it".

Yes, yes apparently they do!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The GOP is a divided party.

Trump is ready to make his ketchup speech.

My Florida condo is just 20 miles from Trump's club.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Voters and property owners in Florida reap the benefits of a Republican-led state.

The latter are far more important than the former in Republican calculations.

Their whole strategy is benefiting the rentier and going back to the early 19th Century with only property owners having any say in politics.

Thanks for saying the quiet part out loud.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

CA Republican gives GOP 218 House seats.

Great campaigns run by those leaders.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A voice of prescience, reason, rationality and compassion, Bernie Sanders is a National Treasure as a voice for the people like Steinbeck or Woody Guthrie. 

Yes, but he’s just going to be remembered as what he has always been, a man that promises former Soviet style socialist outdated ideas that just look good on paper, nothing more.

If there were a hundred of him in Congress....

Oh, heck No!

With the House under new leadership maybe, just maybe both sides can come together, especially if the Dems want to get something done.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

former Soviet style socialist outdated ideas that just look good on paper, nothing more.

Medicare for all, guaranteed work for a living wage and environmental protection are "Soviet"?

I suppose you did put 'former' there to distinguish it from the current crony capitalist oligarch in Russia, Putin, whose policies most closely resemble the current Republican candidate for President.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

was a beautiful red wave, which registered American voters were able to participate in.

Oh yea, HUUUUGE....a tsunami....a hurricane....a real disaster.....LOL...

https://www.yahoo.com/?err=404&err_url=https%3a%2f%2fsports.yahoo.com%2ffox-news-marc-thiessen-calls-125536371.html

And did anyone check to see of all those illegal immigrant employees at Trump's properties voted? Bet they did....

What a great victory in Florida too, which was awash in a sea of Red.

Indeed....Ketchup from Mar-A-Lago....

Voters and property owners in Florida reap the benefits of a Republican-led state.

And women reap the benefits of having their reproductive rights trampled all over...and asylum seekers from Venezuela get free transportation north...what a deal!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Medicare for all, guaranteed work for a living wage and environmental protection are "Soviet"?

Pie in the sky. Would never work. The ACA is already struggling and the federal government has shown time after time, after time that they can’t even govern properly let alone implement a guaranteed wage. What’s the wage, who gets paid what? You think income redistribution is good? Why? I don’t want to share my money! I worked hard for it, if other people want it so bad then the government should create sustainable jobs and create a competitive wage. Are there any raises? How about incentive bonuses? Why is it that China and India being the largest producers of dirty fossil fuels be allowed to grow and expand their nations, but we can’t? How will the US implement EV and replace them with gas run engine? All 288 million?

I suppose you did put 'former' there to distinguish it from the current crony capitalist oligarch in Russia, Putin,

whose policies most closely resemble the current Republican candidate for President.

Yeah, based on a comment like that is the exact reason why people gave the House back to the Senate. People are a lot smarter than we give credit to.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've got my popcorn ready for the upcoming Republican civil war. Trump supporters are already threatening DeSantos with death.

Schadenfreude. It's like watching the annoying neighbors next door having a brawl with each other in their front yard, after harassing you for the past five years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ivanka Trumps wants no part in their daddy's campaign.

Her choice she doesn't need to, no harm, no foul, her kids should be the first priority.

She is done with politics. Trump's nomination speech lasted for one hour. Staff prevented visitors from leaving.

No, my cousin was there, anyone could have left if they wanted to.

One new poll showed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a one-time Trump acolyte and potential 2024 rival, surging past him in multiple states.

Not quite entirely, he is surging past him by many in the Washington establishment, but other than that the RNC knows that he still holds enormous control over the GOP, it will be interesting to see the challengers (if any) come out to run against him.

Trump insiders had reportedly urged him to delay his announcement.

Now, this is very true, I think he should have waited until after the GA runoff, but Trump decided something else.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bass4, McCarthy better have a majority in his caucus,on Jan 3 or Pelosi will be the Speaker Google What if their is a tie for House Speaker

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The United States of America has been in an undeclared state of emergency ever since Narcissus J. Trumpnocchio, also known as the former Insurrectionist-in-Chief, announced his intention of running for President of The United States (POTUSj in 2015.

Mr. Trump has been the main threat to democracy and the rule of law ever since.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ivanka Trumps wants no part in their daddy's campaign.

Her choice she doesn't need to, no harm, no foul, her kids should be the first priority.

Or in other words, she isn't going back to Crazytown....

She is done with politics. Trump's nomination speech lasted for one hour. Staff prevented visitors from leaving.

No, my cousin was there, anyone could have left if they wanted to.

Herschel Walker was there and said anyone leaving would have to go through him....LOL...

One new poll showed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a one-time Trump acolyte and potential 2024 rival, surging past him in multiple states.

Not quite entirely, he is surging past him by many in the Washington establishment, but other than that the RNC knows that he still holds enormous control over the GOP, it will be interesting to see the challengers (if any) come out to run against him.

Sure, maybe "fat, whiny, phony" Ron DeSanctimonious will announce....which one would you support?

Trump insiders had reportedly urged him to delay his announcement.

Now, this is very true, I think he should have waited until after the GA runoff, but Trump decided something else.

He decided to throw Walker under the bus....ROFL...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The USA has never been a democracy, it was designed to be and will be a plutocracy, ruled by the white wealthy 1%. This is the same for most government around the world. For those in power the general population is there to do their bidding and fight their wars, We the serfs or plebs or whatever, are just faceless statistics, and it will never changed because of the ingrained corruption of any government, in whatever country.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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