America is on the ballot

How to vote for, or against, the continuity of our republic

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I’ve been at work on Ukraine, and a number of you have asked me to speak about the U.S. midterms. For years I have been trying to make clear that the American republic is in a perilous position, and since fall 2020 I have been trying to explain the scenario for its downfall. I was right back then that Trump would lose the election and try a coup, and right to worry as the coup unfolded that the lies he told were a greater danger than the man himself.

Two years on, the situation now is perilous, since the lie that Trump told about his electoral defeat has become part of the American system. Should that process continue, should his lie penetrate further into state and national institutions, we are asking for a repeat of January 6 2021 in 2025 or 2029 — but this time with far greater consequences. In these midterm campaigns, the atmospherics are distracting us from the weightiness of the vote. For different reasons, Republicans and Democrats hasten to speak now about other issues than democracy and about the continuity of the United States. So we have reached an odd moment where what is most essential is hardly being discussed at all.

This is about what I think is most essential: taking responsibility with our votes for keeping the country going, and creating a chance for a better democracy in the future. (November 6 2022).

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