I want to be careful not to over-read this part of Biden’s speech, but there was one passage that jumped out for what it might mean about the 2022 and 2024 elections.
It came in the bottom third of the speech, after he had warned of political violence and explicitly blamed Trump and MAGA. It suggests Biden won’t stand idly by as MAGA targets elections and election infrastructure.
What does that mean for 2022 and 2024? Not sure. Here’s the passage:
I will not stand by and watch — I will not — the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories and baseless evidence-free claims of fraud. I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost. I will not stand by and watch the most fundamental freedom in this country, the freedom to vote and have your vote counted, and be taken from you and the American people.
Look, as your president, I will defend our democracy with every fiber of my being, and I’m asking every American to join me.
If Biden is embracing his role as a custodian of democracy, then like Lincoln, or maybe more like Eisenhower sending troops into Little Rock, it may require federal intervention to protect the franchise and those trying to administer elections.
Biden is asking all Americans to join him in the fight, but he is uniquely positioned to lead the fight. Whether that’s his Justice Department prosecuting Jan. 6 rioters, or pursuing higher ups for the 2020 election subversion, or chasing down classified material at Mar-a-Lago, Biden has already undertaken to thwart some of the most immediate threats.
But I’m curious: What are the plans for protecting voters and voting in 2022 and 2024? What steps can and should the feds take to protect ballots and the ballot-counting process? What protections can the feds offer to elected officials overseeing the vote, election workers tabulating ballots, and polling places that come under threat?
These are real and pressing questions which that passage from the speech suggests Biden is already aware of and considering. Stay tuned.