President Jimmy Carter: Toxic polarization threatens democracy

On the one-year anniversary of Republican Donald Trump’s attempted coup d’etat, President Jimmy Carter warned that misinformation, hyperpartisanship and political violence could destroy the American republic.

“One year ago, a violent mob, guided by unscrupulous politicians, stormed the Capitol and almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power,” the former president wrote in an op-ed article published in The New York Times. “All four of us former presidents condemned their actions and affirmed the legitimacy of the 2020 election.”

“Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss,” said Carter, the 39th president of the United States. “Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.”

In a sweeping rebuke of the events of that day, Carter lamented that hyperpartisanship and lies have undermined faith in the nation’s election system while creating a justification for cheating Americans out of the right to vote.

“However, one year on, promoters of the lie that the election was stolen have taken over one political party and stoked distrust in our electoral systems,” said Carter. “These forces exert power and influence through relentless disinformation, which continues to turn Americans against Americans.”

“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, the oldest former U.S. chief executive ever, quietly marked his 97th birthday in October 2021 keeping a low profile due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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