President Joe Biden warned that the country’s democracy was dangerously close to crumbling in a speech Wednesday, painting the closing stretch of the midterm elections in stark terms.

“In our bones,” the president declared at one point, “we know democracy is at risk.” “We’re often not faced with questions of whether the vote we cast will preserve democracy,” he said at another point. “But this year we are.”

Biden’s speech was a closing argument for Democrats, who face an uphill battle in the election next week: While the race for the Senate remains a toss-up, the House is forecast to flip in favor of Republicans.

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