Sanders sounds alarm on possible Trump threat
WASHINGTON – Calling the November election a “struggle to preserve American democracy,” Bernie Sanders warned Americans on Thursday to prepare for a doomsday scenario in which President Donald Trump could try to declare victory prematurely by seeking to discredit absentee ballots counted after Election Day.
Striking a somber and urgent tone, the Vermont senator and former Democratic presidential candidate steered clear of his bread-and-butter progressive causes in a speech from an empty auditorium at George Washington University. He instead addressed a fundamental principle of a democracy.
“What I am going to talk about is something that, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be discussing,” Sanders said. “And that is the need to make certain that the president of the United States, if he loses this election, will abide by the will of the voters and leave office peacefully.”
The remarks kicked off a new sixweek campaign for the self-described Democratic socialist, a supporter of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, to highlight the “unique threats to democracy” he said Trump poses. His message also sought to give young progressive voters who backed him in the primary – some not enthused about Biden – another reason to vote.
“This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Sanders said. “This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy – and democracy must win.”
Sanders’ speech came one day after Trump declined to say when asked by a reporter whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose. Trump said “get rid of the ballots” and “there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.” The president’s position was strongly rebuked by members of both parties.