POLITICO Playbook: Who will — and won’t — commit to accepting election results

Sunday morning reading This is a big swing on the precarity of American democracy from NYT’s David Leonhardt, who writes that we face “the most serious challenge to the country’s governing ideals in decades”These are two major threats.

1. “The first threat is acute: a growing movement inside one of the country’s two major parties — the Republican Party — to refuse to accept defeat in an election.”

2. “The second threat to democracy is chronic but also growing: The power to set government policy is becoming increasingly disconnected from public opinion.”

The increasing countermajoritarian structural bent American politics are exemplified through conservative Supreme Court decisions, gerrymandering or GEORGE W. BUSH’s And DONALD TRUMP’s Leonhardt argues that while the Electoral College won, it lost popular vote. He traces these different threats to a variety of underlying causes — some baked into the design of American government, others arising from long-term economic, social, demographic and technological trends.

“Some experts remain hopeful that the growing attention in the United States to democracy’s problems can help avert a constitutional crisis here,” Leonhardt writes. “Still, many experts point out that it is still not clear how the country will escape a larger crisis, such as an overturned election, at some point in the coming decade.”

The dangers of action NYT’s Reid Epstein reportsSix of the most important Senate or Governoral GOP nominees rejected the results this morning. BLAKE MASTERS Arizona J.D. VANCE in Ohio, Rep. TED BUDD North Carolina KELLY TSHIBAKA in Alaska, TUDOR DIXON Michigan GEOFF DIEHL Massachusetts “The candidates and their aides offered an array of explanations. Some blamed Democratic state election officials or made unsubstantiated claims that their opponents would cheat.”

Several others didn’t respond to Epstein’s questions, though some high-profile Republicans — like MEHMET OZ Pennsylvania HERSCHEL WALKER in Georgia — affirmed they will accept the election results. All Democrat he questioned said yes.

“To some degree, the stances by these Republican candidates — which echo Mr. Trump’s comments before the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections — may amount to political posturing,” Epstein writes. “But they do have loud megaphones in a highly polarized media environment, and any unwarranted challenges from the candidates and their allies could fuel anger, confusion and misinformation.”

The Democratic response … or lack thereof: Democrats are “[i]ncreasingly worried that big donors are failing to recognize the scale of the threat to democratic norms,”Heidi Przybyla reports top spenders are going back to spending for the most popular candidates. Dems fail big on state level spending, even in crucial secretary-of-state campaigns that could influence who controls the election machine. This is another example of how Dems fail. MARK FINCHEM Arizona has attracted nearly twice the number of Democrat voters as Arizona. ADRIAN FONTTES who’d raised just $700,000 as of last month.

HOWARD DEAN zinger: “Dean described the party’s tendency to prioritize federal races and political action committees focused on causes such as hunger, gun safety or climate change — instead of state-level candidates and races — as a function of ‘their own fascination with themselves.’”

Related: “President JOE BIDEN is finding it’s easier to call out attacks on democracy than it is to stop them,” AP’s Colleen Long and Zeke Miller reportThis morning.

The rule of law AG MERRICK GARLAND During Saturday’s personal, emotional speech at Ellis Island’s naturalization ceremony, he had big-picture democracy concerns. per Yahoo’s Caitlin Dickson. Garland talked about the danger of the country’s “intense polarization”The importance of the rule of law “We must not allow the fractures between us to fracture our democracy,”He said.

The 235th Year Anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, Garland also celebrated immigrants by relaying his family’s own story of fleeing persecution to come to the U.S. “This message, and the welcoming scene at Ellis Island, stood in stark contrast to those seen this week on Martha’s Vineyard, and outside Vice President KAMALA HARRIS’s residence,”Notes by Dickson

More on the Martha’s Vineyard fallout: “‘Huge mistake’: DeSantis’ migrant transports could undercut support in South Florida,” Gary Fineout, Tallahassee “The move by [Florida Gov. RON] DeSANTIS dominated the radio and television airwaves in South Florida — where large swaths of Hispanic voters live. One Spanish radio host loudly denounced the move and even compared DeSantis’ actions to that of deceased Cuban dictator FIDEL-CASTRO, who in the early years of the 20th century relocated Cubans to America. ‘60s.”

Good Sunday morning. Thank you for reading Playbook. Drop me a line at [email protected]Or, reach out to the rest: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

LATEST POLLING — A This morning, NBC released a new survey finds the parties tied on the generic congressional ballot at 46% apiece (compared to a 2-point GOP advantage last month) and Biden’s Approval rating increases from 42% to 55%


— Senate Judiciary Chair DICK DURBIN (D-Ill.) on whether he’d take over the House Jan. 6 investigation if Democrats lose the House, on NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “If there’s more work to be done and I’m in a position to call for it, you bet I will. … But there’s one key difference. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, in order to issue a subpoena, you need bipartisan agreement to do it. That’s not the case, I understand, in the House. So if the Republicans want to resist this, it’s going to be difficult to continue the investigation. I hope the House gets it done.”

— Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.) on his national 15-week-abortion-ban bill “Fox News Sunday”: “I’m pro-life, even in an election year. And to those whose suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that … To my Republican colleagues: Now’s the time to stand up and be counted. The pro-life movement is counting on you.”

— JOE O’DEA GOP governors bust and land migrants in other places, “Meet the Press”: “Ron DeSantis and Gov. [GREG] ABBOTT were right to bring some visibility to this issue. We’ve got fentanyl killing our kids. People call what he did cruel? You know what’s cruel is ignoring this issue. Democrats are ignoring it, doing nothing, while our kids are dying.”

— NYC Mayor ERIC ADAMS On the migrant arriving in his city, on ABC’s “This Week”: “Let’s coordinate in that fashion like we’ve done with other large communities we have in New York City, where we’re able to coordinate, get sponsors, work with our nongovernmental organizations. That is what crisis calls for — it calls for coordination. There was no coordination at all with Gov. Abbott, and Gov. DeSantis just wanted to use this political ploy instead of understanding these are people, these are families, these are human beings.”

— U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. LINDA THOMAS GREENFIELD On The latest evidence on mass gravesAnd Ukraine: Atrocities are being exposed, On CNN’s “State of the Union”: “The horrific pictures of those grave sites will always be in our minds as we look at what is happening in Ukraine right now, and [Russia] should expect that it will not be business as usual when they arrive in New York tomorrow. They will be isolated. They will be condemned in the Security Council as well as more broadly in the General Assembly.”

— Former President BILL CLINTON On KEN STARR’s death, on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: “Well, I read the obituary, and I realized that his family loved him, and I think that’s something to be grateful for, and when your life is over that’s all there is to say. But I was taught not to talk about people that I — you know. I have nothing to say. Except I’m glad he died with the love of his family.”

TOP-EDS: A roundup of the week’s must-read opinion pieces.

The White House …

The Supreme Court …

All politics … 

Big ideas …

ANNALS OF DIPLOMACY — Biden is currently in London, where he was originally scheduled to meet with the new British PM LIZ TRUSS today. But her office “said Saturday they would skip the weekend hello, opting instead for a meeting in New York at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, though Truss still planned to gather with other world leaders converging on London,” Per the AP.

Source: POLITICO Playbook: Who will — and won’t — commit to accepting election results

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