Twenty-one months after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, American democracy faces a crisis even more dire than the 1,200 angry rioters who breached the Rotunda and sought to prevent the constitutional certification of a duly elected president. One measure of that crisis is public opinion: In a national Quinnipiac University poll in August, 67 percent of adults surveyed said that US democracy was “in danger of collapse.”

For two years, former President Donald Trump, the de facto leader of the Republican Party, has denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election and President Joe Biden’s victory while denigrating the officials who administer state elections. Trump has amplified this campaign by endorsing a nationwide slate of election denier candidates who seek control over state election machinery. Among 550+ Republican nominees running for office this year, 200 “fully denied” the legitimacy of the 2020 election and “either clearly stated that the election was stolen from Trump or took legal action to overturn the results,” according to FiveThirtyEight. This includes 139 Republican members of the US House who voted against certifying Biden’s election last year.

Meanwhile, state legislatures controlled by Republicans have passed dozens of new laws to make voting more difficult, especially in majority communities of color. Now we are seeing grassroots campaigns across the country to disqualify tens of thousands of registered voters, intimidate those who use ballot drop boxes, and challenge election counts in thousands of precincts and counties. All of this combines to undermine voter confidence and almost guarantee election-related disputes and lawsuits in 2022.

How can democratic institutions and public faith survive when one of our two major parties attacks both the legitimacy and the machinery of the electoral process?

Read the full article about protecting democracy by Lukas Haynes at Stanford Social Innovation Review.