Americans Are Officially Giving Up on Democracy

Americans Are Officially Giving Up on Democracy

U.S. President Donald Trump has consistently attacked the integrity of the upcoming presidential election. He has called mail-in voting a “big scam” and has suggested that he may not transfer power if he loses. These are exceptional and unprecedented threats to American democracy. But they mask an equally dangerous fact that we have recently uncovered: A significant portion of the American population agrees with him. This is the tinder for an impending constitutional crisis along with a host of other indicators that scholars are calling to the public’s attention.

Trump has long cast doubt on the validity of American elections. For years he has claimed, without evidence, that millions of ballots were cast fraudulently in the 2016 election and that he should have won by a wider margin. He also claimed that key midterm elections in 2018 were rigged against Republicans.

The crescendo of vitriol and misinformation about elections is currently at fever pitch. Some prominent Republicans, such as Sens. Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell, and Mitt Romney have publicly stated that the election will be conducted fairly and that the outcome will be respected. But most Republicans have remained silent. And the rush to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is in part motivated by hope that the outcome of next month’s election, if legally contested, would be litigated in favor of the Republican nominee.