The attempt by President Donald Trump and his allies to discredit elections in Wisconsin and other battleground states poses a threat to our democracy.

President Trump called Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger an “enemy of the people” for simply carrying out his duties as Georgia’s election chief. This term was too extreme even for former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who feared it could lead to political violence.

And to maintain fealty to Trump, Georgia GOP Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, without evidence or even specific allegations, called on Raffensperger to resign. Not surprisingly, Raffensperger and his wife have received death threats.

In her dismissal of former Trump attorney Sidney Powell’s election lawsuit in Michigan, U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker concluded:

“(T)his lawsuit seems to be less about achieving the relief plaintiffs seek—as much of that relief is beyond the power of this court—and more about the impact of their allegations on people’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government.”

By claiming that any election loss for him would be fraudulent, joking about killing journalists, firing inspectors general, etc., Trump has acted to sow mistrust in our democratic institutions, rather than working to strengthen them. In its 2018 report, Democracy in Retreat, the democracy watchdog organization Freedom House warned:

“Trump has assailed essential institutions and traditions including the separation of powers, a free press, an independent judiciary, the impartial delivery of justice, safeguards against corruption, and most disturbingly, the legitimacy of elections.”

A letter, signed by more than 100 GOP former national security officials, calls on “Republican leaders ... to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.” Their statement concludes: “President Trump’s continued efforts to cast doubt on the validity of the election and to interfere in state electoral processes undermine our democracy and risk long-term damage to our institutions.”

It’s crucial for Republican members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation and state legislature to step forward and defend the integrity of the 2020 election.

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