Across the US, a return to democratic order. Will it last?

There was no violence. Many candidates who denied the legitimacy of previous elections lost and quietly caved. And few listened when former President Donald Trump tried to fuel baseless allegations of voter fraud.

For a moment, at least, there is a sense of normalcy in the United States. The extremism that has consumed political discourse for much of the past two years has been replaced by something resembling the traditional democratic order.

The post-election narrative instead focused on each party’s electoral fate: Republicans were disappointed that broad victories had not materialized, while relieved Democrats braced for the possibility of a narrow GOP majority in the House. . At least for now, the serious threats that loomed over democracy as Election Day approached — domestic extremist violence, voter intimidation and Republican refusal to respect election results — have not materialized in a widespread way.

“It was a good day, I think, for democracy,” President Joe Biden said, even as he acknowledged his party could lose a chamber of Congress.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, said midterm voters were concerned about Biden’s leadership, but had a more urgent message: “Fix the politics later, fix the madness now. “, he told CNN.

Still, the “madman” who consumed Sununu’s party this fall is still looming.

Even as many GOP leaders blame Trump for elevating weak and extreme struggling candidates, the former president has sought to undermine midterm results on his low-key social media platform. Trump has posted no less than 20 messages since Tuesday afternoon, raising the false prospect of voter fraud in the 2022 election, focusing increasingly on Nevada and Arizona as the vote count escalates. continued there throughout the weekend.

His expected Tuesday announcement of a third presidential campaign could give Trump another high profile platform to advance lies about the election.

Of the top contenders in the 2022 ballot, only Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake has been aggressive in promoting Trump’s unfounded concerns about the extended recount process, which is typical in some states. Lake is locked in a close race against Democrat Katie Hobbs who was not called.

In Pennsylvania, Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano was soundly beaten. Mastriano’s senior legal counsel, Jenna Ellis, a former Trump aide, said unequivocally that there were no signs of serious voting irregularity.

“There’s not that kind of concern like we had in 2020,” Ellis said on his podcast. “We can’t just say, ‘Oh my God, it’s all been stolen. I mean, it’s ridiculous for this election.

And in Michigan, Trump-backed Republican Tudor Dixon, a leading 2020 election denier, quickly conceded to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after the Associated Press called the race.

Leading progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has raised concerns about far-right threats to democracy since before his own 2020 presidential bid, has suggested the GOP has begun to act more rationally.

“I think a number of Republicans now understand that Trump’s desire to undermine American democracy is not just bad, it’s bad politics,” Sanders told the AP. “For all those people who want to maintain the lies that Trump actually won in 2020, Tuesday was a bad day for them and a good day for the rest of the American people.”

Indeed, across the country, so-called election deniers have lost some of the most important races in the country.

Only one of the 14 self-described “America First” candidates for secretary of state, Diego Morales of Indiana, won his race. The group of future election officials, which included candidates in the swing states of Arizona, Michigan and Nevada, were defined by Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Candidates who embraced such beliefs also lost gubernatorial races in the Midwestern battlegrounds of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and in the Northeastern battleground of Pennsylvania.

Republicans who denied the legitimacy of the last election prevailed in Senate contests in North Carolina and Ohio. In Georgia, Republican Brian Kemp won re-election after battling Trump conspiracy theories, but Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who promoted lies about the last election, ran for office in December.

Ahead of Election Day, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said he was “extremely concerned” that black people would be disenfranchised through voter intimidation or other suppression tactics. voters — especially since hundreds of pro-Trump activists have signed up to serve as GOP election observers across the country.

US intelligence agencies released a bulletin less than two weeks before the election warning of a heightened threat of domestic violent extremism that could target elected officials, election workers or polling stations.

But days after the polls closed, Johnson said the voting process had largely gone smoothly. He noted, however, that it is impossible to know whether the threat of intimidation or violence may have had a “chilling effect” on voter turnout.

“It was frustrating to have to operate in our democracy from a posture of fear,” Johnson said. “We should make it easier to vote.”

Meanwhile, world leaders noted the relatively smooth election during talks with Biden at a weekend summit in Southeast Asia. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the result established “a strong position for him on the international stage”.

“I would say a theme that emerged over the two days was the theme of the strength of American democracy and what this election said about American democracy,” Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One. . “So the president feels very good about – obviously, results.”

On Election Day, Trump tried unsuccessfully to stir up disorder in several states – especially in areas with large minority populations.

Trump posted a social media message on Tuesday afternoon falsely claiming voters were being denied the right to vote in Detroit. “Protest, protest, protest!” wrote the former president.

The message sparked no protest or even visible tension outside the Detroit convention center where the votes were being counted. Four years earlier, dozens of Trump supporters shouted and beat on the glass during the tabulation process.

At Milwaukee’s Central Counting Center, several election observers heckled election commission members as about 250 workers tabulated the city’s mail-in ballots Tuesday night. Republican Commissioner Doug Haag, who witnessed as USB drives containing vote totals were sealed in envelopes, was among those who reprimanded the hecklers. They calmed down after receiving a final warning and were allowed to stay for the remainder of the process.

In central Maricopa County, Arizona, far-right groups called early, including some known to attract the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other extremists, for protests outside the building where ballots were counted to require a manual count of the vote. The police responded with a heavy presence on Election Day, bringing in mounted officers and helicopters. But not even a handful of protesters showed up. Four years earlier, a large group of armed demonstrators had gathered in front of the same tabulation center.

And in Nevada, local officials were prepared for the mayhem, but bad weather more than voter intimidation marked Election Day.

In populous Clark County, a Democratic stronghold, a man walked into a polling place and raised his voice against poll workers, claiming the machines were rigged, according to the Clark County School District Police Department. Poll workers told him to be quiet before walking out, where he tried to pull down the “vote here” sign.

In the Reno, Nevada, area where voters braved snow and ice on Election Day, Washoe County Acting Registrar Jamie Rodriguez said there was only one cases of voter intimidation. Two men threatened poll workers and were “aggressive” towards voters, before a polling official escorted them away. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office said it was investigating.

“There were a lot of comments about them not being patriotic, not doing the right thing,” Rodriguez said.


Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Washington, Harm Venhuizen in Milwaukee, Corey Williams in Detroit and Seung Min Kim in Nusa Dua, Indonesia contributed to this report.

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