United States: what if the 2024 presidential election saw American democracy collapse?

American academics fear another attempt by Republicans to subvert the presidential election in three years. With this time more efficiency.

Can the 2024 presidential election turn into a disaster scenario? This is the concern that has been hovering in academic circles across the Atlantic in recent weeks. In a lengthy editorial published in the Washington Post at the end of September, neoconservative historian Robert Kagan describes in great detail how the American political system could be derailed. 

"The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War with, over the next three to four years, a credible prospect of mass violence, a breakdown in federal authority, and a division of government. country in republican and democratic enclaves ", anticipates the researcher. 

According to him, two main threats are on the horizon. First of all, barring health concerns, "Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential candidate in 2024". Then, the ex-president "and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by all necessary means". The bed of a potential new electoral "chaos". 

Trump's return

In a post published a week earlier, University of California Irvine electoral law professor Richard Hasen expressed similar concerns. "The United States is at serious risk that the 2024 presidential election and other future American elections will not run fairly and that the candidates for the election will not reflect the free choices made by voters," he said. he wrote, quoted in particular in the New York Times . 

“Truth be told, I have never been more worried about the health of America's democracy than I am now. The Trumpist wing of the Republican Party has sought to steal the presidential election in 2020, and there is it all. reason to believe that it will be even better placed to do so in 2024, "says Richard Hasen, interviewed by L'Express. 

In any case, Donald Trump's desire to return hardly seems to be in doubt. "We are not yet supposed to talk about it (...) but I think that you will be happy", he had launched to a journalist questioning him on this possibility on September 11th. Donald Trump continues to crush all competition within the Grand Old Party (GOP). According to an Emerson poll released in early September, 67% of Republican voters would support him in the event of a primary, far ahead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (10%) and former Vice President Mike Pence (6%). 

What arouse fears, while the scars of the last presidential election are far from having been erased. According to an SSRS poll for CNN published in mid-September, 56% of Americans consider their democracy to be under attack. Even more worrying, 78% of Republican voters believe that Joe Biden did not win legitimately in 2020. “By questioning the results of the vote in the last presidential election, Donald Trump and his teams have undermined public confidence. Today there is great mistrust of the electoral process within the Republican Party, "notes Pippa Norris, political scientist at Harvard University. 

Pressure on votes

As proof, since the start of the year, 19 Republican-controlled states have passed no less than 33 laws aimed at restricting access to the polls, according to the Brennan Center for Justice . If these measures are presented as having to guarantee the integrity of the ballot, in fact, they often aim to limit the possibility for minorities, historically favorable to Democrats, to exercise their right to vote. 

In Georgia, it is now forbidden to distribute water or snacks to voters queuing in front of polling stations. A new rule denounced by Democrats as specifically targeting the African-American community: queues are more frequent in areas where the black population is important, in particular due to a lower number of polling stations. 

Likewise, in Texas, election officials now also face criminal prosecution if they encourage voters to vote by mail (a voting system popular with Democrats). "These measures should not be underestimated, because a few percentages more or less in some states can have a decisive impact on the end result," said Omar Wasow, assistant professor in the policy department at Pomona College. In Georgia, Joe Biden had won in 2020 by only 12,000 votes. 

The fears also concern the good conduct of the ballot itself. In question, the replacement of the local secretaries of state - responsible among other things for certifying the results of the elections - by faithful of Donald Trump. According to Reuters , which interviewed 15 Republican candidates for this post in 2022, 10 of them question the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. in Georgia, accused of disloyalty for refusing to "find" 12,000 ballots in the name of Donald Trump in the previous election. 

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