Is Biden right we are facing ‘the most significant threat to our democracy since the Civil War?’


Fact Box

  • On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, President Biden spoke from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia condemning the recent Republican voting laws as “an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote […] We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War.”
  • Biden referenced President Trump’s response to the 2020 election, the January 6 Capitol Insurrection, and Republican voting laws requiring IDs to vote and changing the rules of voting access in his defense. 
  • Both Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Greg Abbott criticized Biden’s remarks as “misinformation” and “ignoring the facts” as they believe voting reform will “uphold integrity” in future elections. 
  • The American Civil War (1861-1865) was a 4-year battle between the Northern States and the eleven Southern States that formed the Confederate States of America over the differences of slavery.

Andrew (Yes)

In his Philadelphia speech, President Biden rightly named the largely Republican-led efforts to increase barriers to voting as well as the 'big lie,' propagated by former President Trump as the 'most significant threat to our democracy since the civil war.' Biden highlighted how Democrats view Republican efforts to shore up 'election security' as making it more difficult for the working poor, minorities, and others who traditionally don't vote for the GOP to cast their ballots. Increasing election security would be fine if it weren't totally unnecessary. Observers regarded the 2020 election as the most secure in history. In the battleground state of Ohio, Secretary of State LaRose identified only 13 possible cases of non-citizens voting out of approximately six million votes. Clearly, this isn't an issue, and making ballot access more difficult for millions of people because of a handful of criminal actions makes no sense. The only logical explanation for the new bills is voter suppression.

The second and perhaps larger threat to our democracy is that former President trump and his supporters simply don't recognize facts. With massive followings of people who have become deluded through an intentionally steady stream of lies, these individuals are openly challenging our democratic institutions and even calling for violence in some cases. As we saw with the Capitol insurrection, this can have deadly consequences. The fact is, our elections are free, fair, and transparent; unfortunately, many Republicans are working to undermine trust in them, and Democrats will continue to fight for all of society to access the ballot box.

Ethan (No)

Since the beginning, US democracy has been a core value and how we exercise our God-given inalienable rights. The GOP voting bills strengthen the US democracy by making voting and election processes more trustworthy and transparent. These bills eliminate the likelihood of voter fraud by giving citizens one clear way to vote: you show up to your voting site and cast your vote at the poll. By doing away with the overused mail-in voting procedures—temporary procedures enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic—Americans are reassured that every vote cast is valid and counted once, protecting our elections and our democracy from fraud. 

Biden’s inaccurate claims downplay every major threatening historical event faced by the US since The Civil War: 9/11, the Cold War, Pearl Harbor, and before that, racist Democrat-enacted anti-voting laws existed during the Jim Crow era in the South. These seem to be pretty obvious threats to democracy. More recently, BLM violence of summer 2020 proved to be a massive threat to our society as rioters destroyed private property and federal and state buildings, and many civilians and law enforcement officers lost their lives, and their loved ones, in the chaos. 

No country can survive without law and order. Election reform bills provide the stability Americans need, ensuring nothing will tarnish the US election process. Perhaps the real threat to democracy is coming from the same party who aggressively disputed the results of the 2016 election and who outright lie about these bills now while simultaneously trying to enact a wholescale federal takeover of elections (via the For the People Act, which goes directly contrary to the Constitution). It's simple: if you're not preserving democracy by protecting election integrity, you're threatening it.

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