Former president Jimmy Carter warns U.S. democracy teetering on 'widening abyss'

'Americans,' Carter said, 'must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.'

Former president Jimmy Carter warns U.S. democracy teetering on 'widening abyss'
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Former Democrat President Jimmy Carter who served as the 39th President from 1977–1981 has cautioned that “our great nation now teeters on a widening abyss.”

Carter’s remarks echo that of many Democrat and liberal political pundits who are using the events of January 6 to justify a reshaping of the American political landscape to disenfranchise conservatives and put in place new laws, regulations, and restrictions prohibiting free speech, freedom of movement, and political activity.

In a New York Times op-ed published on the eve of the anniversary of the January 6 riot, which liberal news outlets have termed an “insurrection,” Carter charged that “without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy.”

“Americans,” Carter said, “must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.”

Last year, Carter joined the three other living former presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, to condemn the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 while Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden.

In the op-ed, Carter wrote that “promoters of the lie that the election was stolen have taken over one political party and stoked distrust in our electoral systems,” effectively condemning the entire Republican Party as nothing more than a group of violent insurrectionists who need to be dealt with.

Carter expressed hopes that the attack on the Capitol which claimed the life of Ashli Babbitt and several other rioters “would shock the nation into addressing the toxic polarization that threatens our democracy.”

Politicians, he insisted, “have leveraged the distrust they have created to enact laws that empower partisan legislatures to intervene in election processes” and “seek to win by any means, and many Americans are being persuaded to think and act likewise, threatening to collapse the foundations of our security and democracy with breathtaking speed.”

“I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally — the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power — has become dangerously fragile at home,” said Carter.

In the op-ed, Carter offered five points to secure elections in the United States: citizens must agree on constitutional norms and respect each other despite their differences; the country must push for election reforms to ensure access to and confidence in elections; the country must resist polarization; the country must reject violence in politics; and last but not least, disinformation must be dealt with.

“For American democracy to endure, we must demand that our leaders and candidates uphold the ideals of freedom and adhere to high standards of conduct,” he said.

While Carter’s proposals may seem lofty, the former president fails to address what “disinformation” exactly refers to, or what kind of election reforms need to take place to supposedly ensure access and confidence in elections.

Republicans would suggest implementing voter ID to boost confidence in elections and ensure that every counted vote is a legal one; meanwhile, Democrats, who oppose voter ID, have called for increased voting access — including to non-citizens such as illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.

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