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A Message from Juan Cartagena: Damaging Democracy Robs Our Gente of Burgeoning Power

We are at a crisis point in the country. The current President continues to lie about his electoral victory. His party’s leaders cannot cross him lest they face the wrath of his angry mob. Every Republican elected official will be seemingly tested based on the loyalty they bestow to the President right now. Death threats to election administrators of either party and their families are increasing.

The Republican party in Arizona has literally asked its followers if they are willing to die to overturn the President’s loss to President-Elect Biden. It is mob rule. Zealous fanaticism. Unprecedented, yet real, like an autogolpe – a demand to stay in power illegitimately after clearly losing the election. And Republicans are failing the country either because they are complicit or because they hope it, and he, will simply go away.

Like Jonestown, they are all lining up for the Kool Aid.

The danger is now. But the harm to our democracy will take years to undo.

And in the crosshairs of this extreme march towards destruction are the millions of Latino voters who are increasingly becoming a force in American politics. In 2020 Latinos became the largest racial or ethnic minority in a U.S. presidential election – over 32 million eligible to vote and increasing by approximately one million per year. Along with an energized electorate in people of color communities the results of this election show – no matter how many Latinos voted for the incumbent President – an inexorable path towards a new voting landscape. A landscape that will hopefully adopt sane policies about the economy, health care, student debt, the climate, immigration, education, and criminal justice.

The President lies about his alleged victory, not just to feed his ego and his pocket, but also to ensure that he remains a fixture in the Republican party. More Republicans need to stop this madness. It is not enough that the judicial branch of government gives short shrift to these fantastical claims – claims which make a mockery of the lawyers who advance them. It is not enough that election administration officials vouch for the legitimacy of the election they administered – at the risk of their safety.

We need to hear the alarm. It is not enough to let this ride out, i.e. because the margin of victory in this election yielded more than enough Electoral College votes and a net gain of over 8 million in the popular vote. This President is attempting to steal an election. We can mock him and his lawyers but he is writing the script for the next challenge to our democracy, one with better lawyering, a closer margin of victory and an American public primed for conspiracy theories.

What we need is bold leadership that will stand up for the sake of future elections. Elected official of all parties must yell ENOUGH! For the sake of democracy. And for the sake of the country’s burgeoning electoral power.

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