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Says democracy is under attack

To the editor:

Chuck Peterson wrote to the Messenger Dec. 9, 2020, “Thanks Webster County and the state of Iowa for voting to re-elect Trump.” He then describes what he believes are Trump accomplishments. That debate will continue.

What Mr. Peterson does not mention is the impact Trump has had on his voters. What does this mean for the future of our democracy? Donald Trump operates as an authoritarian figure. He has said that as president he can do whatever he wants, including giving himself a pardon. He is a known cheat and liar. Obviously, that didn’t make any difference to over 74 million voters. If he has a moral compass, he keeps it well hidden.

His decision-making is simple — what will benefit Donald Trump? And now, he refuses to admit that he has lost the election. He continues to press state election officials to overturn certified election results and to file frivolous lawsuits, even though Attorney General William Barr, said the Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread fraud.

How have most Republican leaders responded to his outrageous behavior? They have remained silent, or worse yet, they have joined him in trying to thwart the will of the voters. Unbelievable. How can 17 Republican attorneys general, sworn to uphold the constitution of the United States, back a Texas lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate president-elect Joe Biden’s victory despite the fact that the president and his allies have lost over 50 times in courts and have no evidence of widespread fraud. Now we have more than 120 of the 196 Republican members of the House of Representatives who have signed their names to an amicus brief in support of the Texas lawsuit, including our own Steve King. What do our two senators think about all this? I may have missed it, but I have not heard of, or read any response from Senators Grassley and Ernst regarding attempts of President Trump and his followers to have this election over turned. As a result of continuous attacks on the election, about half of all Republicans believe President Donald Trump “rightfully won” the U.S. election but that it was stolen from him by widespread voter fraud.

Thank goodness there are still elected officials, including Republicans, who have taken their oath of office seriously and have certified election results as required by law. Thank goodness our courts have made it clear that the legal challenges to the election have no validity.

But make no mistake, Trump has shown that our country is now susceptible to the call of the authoritarian. As Mr. Peterson noted, there are over 74 million American citizens who are willing to let their president ignore the law and do whatever he or she decides is best. And that includes taking up arms if things aren’t going your way. When they are supported by members of Congress, it’s just that much easier. The next authoritarian could be a Democrat, or someone who doesn’t even identify with a particular party. All they need to do is follow the Trump playbook and have enough people to follow them when they prey on voters resentments and denigrate the “other” while promising to give their followers what they deserve.

Our democracy is under serious attack.

Larry Franks

Fort Dodge

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