In an impassioned speech at George Washington University on Thursday, Senator Sanders argued that President Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power is a threat to American democracy.
Sanders said " in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be discussing…. 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."
Sanders noted that “We are living in an unprecedented and dangerous moment — extremely dangerous moment — in American history whether or not the United States of America will continue to be a democracy and a nation ruled by law and our Constitution.”
"This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy – and democracy must win," Sanders said. He referred to Trump as a "pathological liar" with "strong authoritarian tendencies," and accused him of being "prepared to undermine American democracy in order to stay in power."
"My main focus is to prevent Donald Trump from staying in office if he loses the election, to prevent him from delegitimizing the election results, to make sure that every vote cast is counted, to make sure that voters are not intimidated," he said.
On Wednesday evening, Trump declined to commit to a peaceful transition of power if Biden wins the election in November. Sanders also quoted Trump's remarks at the Republican National Convention in which he declared that "the only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election."
"I think it is terribly important that we actually listen to, and take seriously, what Donald Trump is saying," Sanders said.
"There is nothing in our Constitution or in our laws that give Donald Trump the privilege of deciding whether or not he will step aside if he loses. In the United States, the president does not determine who can or cannot vote and what ballots will be counted," Sanders declared.
The former presidential hopeful who is now stomping for the Democratic challenger Joe Biden, said he has spoken with several election experts and Democratic strategists in Washington about how the party should handle a series of events that could lead to the incumbent refusing to concede.
“If you are starting from zero on election night, and you’ve got hundreds of thousands or millions of absentee ballots, how long is that going to take you to count?” Sanders said. “It will take a very long time. And that will allow the fomenting of conspiracy theories and so-called fraud and everything else.”
Trump has cast doubt on the integrity of vote-by-mail systems, claiming without evidence that such a process would be wrought with widespread fraud.
Sanders criticized Donald Trump for continuing "to be obsessed with the belief that there is massive voter fraud in this country," even though instances of voter fraud are extremely rare.
The US president has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud, even as he urges supporters to vote by mail in critical swing states like Florida.
"The fraud and abuse will be an embarrassment to our Country," Trump tweeted last month.
Sanders said he is lobbying his colleagues in the Senate to prepare for hearings in the Republican-controlled upper chamber with secretaries of state and law enforcement and election officials if such a scene plays out.
“The American people have got to be prepared for this,” Sanders said. “It is absolutely essential that they are.”
- Countries: United_States
- CUBA | US Sanctions cost the Cuban people US$5.6 billion last year
- JAMAICA| Jamaica assumes Chair of OAS Permanent Council; Marks says fight against COVID-19 is priority
- JAMAICA | More Cuban doctors not less in the struggle against Covid-19 pandemic
- GUYANA | APNU/AFC warns: Don't be used as political pawns by any super-power
- GUYANA | Pompeo gives Guyana US$5-mil to help Venezuelan Refugees