Stacey Abrams Challenges the Pro-Democracy Left

Stacey Abrams. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage/Getty Images.)

When should a candidate be disqualified from public office? I don’t mean as a legal matter, but as a matter of character. I don’t pretend the answer is easy. I definitely have my own lines—lines that Donald Trump clearly crossed, as did Roy Moore, and now Herschel Walker. If there’s strong evidence you’ve committed acts of domestic violence, abused or harassed women, or paid for an abortion, you’re not getting my vote. This is a low bar. It’s not too much to ask that American politics be cleansed of abusers and harassers.

Here’s another low bar. American politics should be purged of election deniers. If we learned anything on January 6, we learned that there is a cohort of Americans for whom stolen election claims are no game. They’ll believe that democracy itself is under attack, and they’ll take action. To this day I shudder to think what would have happened if Mike Pence had said yes to Donald Trump. That simple action could have precipitated the greatest constitutional and political crisis since 1861.

So I’ve added to my list. I won’t vote for or support abusers, harassers, or election deniers. I don’t care who they’re running against. I’ll sit out the election. I’ll write in. 

When it comes to Donald Trump and his allies, my friends on the left (and a few on the right) cheer this stance. Democracy is at stake, they argue, and I agree completely. Election challenges could break America, they fear, and I share their concerns.

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