In a divisive closing pitch to voters before the midterm elections, President Biden urged Americans to affirm “democracy” by rejecting so-called “election deniers” in the Republican party. But Biden failed to note that he sowed doubts about election legitimacy as recently as this year.
With speculation of a red wave building, Biden’s claim in January that the midterms might be “illegitimate” could turn out to be a preview of an argument Democrats will be making once the results are in.
Flashback: Biden warned midterms could be illegitimate
In his closing pitch Wednesday night, Biden reiterated his claim that the 2020 presidential election was the most secure in America’s entire history, while blasting believers in the “Big Lie” that it was stolen.
“Make no mistake — democracy is on the ballot for us all,” he said.
But Biden’s views on so-called “election denial” have evolved over time. At a press conference in January, Biden refused to resolutely say that the midterm elections would be on the level, saying he could not know unless his party succeeded in transforming the nation’s election laws.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be legit,” Biden said at the time. “The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”
Who are the real election deniers?
Biden’s press secretary was confronted Wednesday on Biden’s conflicting statements about the midterms, with reporter Phil Wegmann noting that Biden’s election reforms have not passed.
Wegmann asked whether Americans should trust the results of the midterm elections, prompting press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to dance around the issue before blurting out, “Yes.”
She didn’t explain what made Biden change his mind. Then again, Democrats have never acknowledged rejecting President Trump’s legitimacy on the basis of the false claim that he stole the 2016 election with help from Russia. Biden endorsed this bogus narrative on the campaign trail in 2019, saying he “absolutely agree[d]” with a woman who called Trump “illegitimate.”
As the midterms approach, Biden’s sweeping, hypocritical moral argument about “democracy” does not seem to be making an impact with voters, who are mostly worried about the economy. Polls show a swell in GOP momentum, with Republicans expected to reclaim the House and possibly the Senate.
While it seems likely that Democrats will once again embrace some form of election denial in the near future, they may have other plans. Biden left voters with an ominous warning Wednesday night, saying it could take “days” before the outcome of the election is clear.
“It takes time to count all legitimate ballots in a legal and orderly manner,” he said.