In case you haven’t heard, there is an election on Nov. 8. Most elections are about the current candidates, who are seeking a variety of offices all over America. This one, however, will be the equivalent of two elections, because its results may determine whether the 2024 election will be the end of democracy as we know it. Some of you may think this is overdramatic, but there are good reasons to view this one as a political twofer.
Many of us New Yorkers are oblivious to what is taking place all over the country. One sage veteran of the partisan wars once told me that “America begins west of the Hudson River.” Nothing could be more accurate. Our local contests for Congress are dominated by such issues as abortion, inflation and crime, with scant mention of stolen elections and threats to the Constitution, even though a few of the Republican candidates are election deniers or members of the Trump cult.
But if you lived in Michigan or Arizona, you would understand why their elections will decide whether democracy lives or dies in 2024. As of now, there are almost 300 Republican candidates nationwide who maintain that Joe Biden was never legitimately elected president. They believe the lie about the stolen 2020 election, but there is much more happening that we should all worry about.
There are two positions in a state that have the power to throw out a public vote. One is governor, and the other is secretary of state. There are a number of Republicans running for governor who also deny Biden’s election. They have publicly stated that if elected they will “fix” the system by taking power away from local election boards. Doug Mastriano, the GOP candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, has pledged flat out that if former President Donald Trump runs again and loses Pennsylvania, Mastriano will reverse the final results.
It is widely accepted that most of the incumbent secretaries of state around the country are independent and fair-minded. Not one of them has challenged the 2020 results, and they have staunchly defended their process from partisan attacks. But sadly, many of them have either retired, are planning to or have lost their jobs in primary contests, won by the election crazies. If the deniers win in six of the key states, they will have the power to potentially reverse the national election tally two years from now.
Jerry Kremer was a state assemblyman for 23 years, and chaired the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee for 12 years. He now heads Empire Government Strategies, a business development and legislative strategy firm. Comments about this column? JKremer@liherald.com.