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Republicans are putting America's democracy in mortal danger, more than 100 scholars warn

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From left: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Donald Trump, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Erin Schaff/Getty Images
  • Over 100 democracy scholars warned that the GOP is putting US democracy in mortal danger.

  • The scholars excoriated Republicans for rejecting the 2020 election results.

  • They also criticized GOP-led efforts across the country to restrict voting access.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Republican efforts to restrict voting across the US are posing an existential threat to democracy in the US, over 100 scholars of democracy warned in a new statement released by the New America think tank on Tuesday.

"We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of US elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm," the statement said. "Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election."

The scholars said that the GOP-led initiatives "are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections."

"Our entire democracy is now at risk," the scholars said. "History will judge what we do at this moment."

The professors, deans, and other scholars who signed the statement come from a range of universities and institutions across the US, including Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Duke, and Stanford.

Over the past few years, and particularly since the fatal insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, top scholars have repeatedly said that the GOP has morphed into a fundamentally antidemocratic party determined to win elections by any means.

Republican efforts to whitewash the events of January 6 and shield former President Donald Trump from blame for the riot have increased alarm in this regard. Trump provoked the deadly insurrection and was impeached as a result, but Republican leaders have continued to kowtow to the former president.

"Elected Republican leaders have had numerous opportunities to repudiate Trump and his 'Stop the Steal' crusade, which led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6," the scholars said in the new statement. "Each time, they have sidestepped the truth and enabled the lie to spread."

Top Republicans across the US have refused to accept the results of the 2020 election, perpetuating the false notion that President Joe Biden did not legitimately win. There's no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, and voter fraud is extraordinarily rare in the US more generally.

Meanwhile, Republican-led legislatures nationwide have taken steps to make it harder to vote. At least 14 states enacted 22 new laws that restrict access to the vote between January 1 and mid-May, a tracker from Brennan Center for Justice showed.

The democracy scholars in the new statement on Tuesday condemned Republicans for rejecting the 2020 election results and for continuing to push for antidemocratic laws.

"These actions call into question whether the United States will remain a democracy," they said, referring to these recent actions as "a betrayal of our precious democratic heritage."

The scholars urged Congress to suspend the filibuster - and do whatever else is necessary - to pass national voting and election-administration standards that would guarantee "the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want."

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