2020 election is a test America can't afford to failRoundup
tags: politics, 2020 Election
Nicole Hemmer is the author of "Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics." She hosts the history podcast "Past Present" and created the podcast "A12."
If after four years, the American system re-elects a president who openly scoffs at democracy, who encourages political violence and election interference, who revels in corruption and ignorance, then something is deeply wrong with either our system or ourselves.
Following a week of racist statements by the President and racist chants from his supporters, it has become increasingly obvious that the 2020 presidential election will have higher stakes than most. While every presidential election matters — from setting the policy agenda to shaping the Supreme Court — some have consequences that determine whether the nation will be fundamentally altered, and whether its commitments to democratic government will survive.
In less than 18 months, we'll be facing one such election. The stakes are, in a way, even higher than they were in 2016. If Donald Trump loses, then 2016 can be written off as a fluke (even if it shouldn't be). If he wins, with or without the popular vote, any excuses for 2016 fall by the wayside.
There will still be policy debates. There were debates about tariffs and funding the transcontinental railroad during the 1860 election, but that's not what anyone remembers about that race. Nor will 2020 be a verdict on policy. It will be a verdict on the resilience of American democracy.
The stakes are so high in part because of Trump himself. The bill of particulars against the President, from racist policies like the travel ban and vicious Twitter attacks on citizens to calls for violence and suggestions of retaining office after his term expires, is at least as long and varied as that in the Declaration of Independence against King George III.
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