Campaign Slogans Aren’t ‘Saving Democracy’

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Wednesday afternoon’s White House Press Secretary, gave an overview of how the administration views the midterms next week.

Biden has been “clear” democracyJean-Pierre said that “the system of government is at risk and we must not pretend otherwise.” Tuesday night’s speech comes just two months after Biden made a similar, poorly-reviewed, address in Philadelphia.

Biden won’t likely be shining the spotlight on himself or fellow Democrats, like Stacey Abrams or his own press secretary. In fact, Jean Pierre’s name will be on the list of individuals who have committed the crime of attacking democracy and denying “the verified truth about election results.”

You would find it more than one time.

Biden’s names would also appear there. The president appeared to doubt the legitimacy of midterm elections in January when he said that the “prospect of” [it]Illegitimacy is directly proportional to our inability to pass the Democrats’ electoral reform bill. Later, the White House clarified that Biden wasn’t “absolutely not predicating that 2022 would be illegal,” even though it was clear what he meant.

This bill did not pass. Is that a sign Biden thinks next week’s elections will not be legitimate? Jean-Pierre was questioned about this question at the close of Wednesday’s briefing. She quickly dismissed it. She said, “Ofcourse” that the election would be valid.

Biden only spoke this way to try and get a bill through. This is the truth about the January incident.

Biden’s speech tonight is likely to reveal a more political truth (if past history is any indication). That’s unfortunate, because there does seem to be a very real anti-democratic sentiment—wrapped heavily in conspiracy theorizing and soaked deeply in a nihilistic stew of too-online right-wing politics—that is sweeping one of America’s two major parties. Biden only harms the cause he is trying to protect by making serious political talk about democracy a campaign speech.

One thing is certain. There should not be any debate that Republicans are responsible for more damage to recent elections’ legitimacy. And it’s not particularly close—thanks in large part to January 6, 2021, but also due to the “birther” conspiracies and several cycles of right-wing fears about voter fraud that have never materialized into anything substantive. I don’t need to run through all the specifics—if you’ve been keeping score at home, you’re well aware that the Democrats are far behind in this ugly little game.

Here’s the problem. It is possible to question the legitimacy of elections, which is just as harmful as Jean-Pierre and Biden claim. no excusefor questioning the legitimacy and validity of elections. None.

Not being less evil than someone else is enough. Yes, there’s a difference between tweeting about stolen elections and storming the Capitol to reverse the outcome of one—but Biden isn’t condemning only those who did the latter. He’s condemning all of it—but only when it’s politically convenient.

In our absurd zero-sum politics of the moment, it doesn’t matter if you are less evil than someone else.