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Reader's View: ‘Big lie’ candidates setting fire to democracy

When candidates endorse Trump’s lie — either passively or actively — and thereby assist in poisoning people’s minds with the notion that our elections cannot be trusted, they undermine the foundations of our democracy.

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It seems to me that any candidate for public office who promotes, or refuses to denounce, President Donald Trump’s wicked lie that the 2020 election was stolen should be automatically disqualified.

Ill-informed members of the public who have been relentlessly pummeled by the dissembling chorus of election deniers may perhaps be forgiven for falling for Trump’s lie. But those running for office should know better. As people steeped in electoral politics, they are certainly aware that the intense scrutiny of the 2020 presidential election showed overwhelmingly that the election was conducted fairly and the votes were counted accurately. And they also should be aware that Trump lost by many millions of votes. Furthermore, the recent Jan. 6 committee showed that, disgustingly, Trump himself was aware all along he lost.

When candidates endorse Trump’s lie — either passively or actively — and thereby assist in poisoning people’s minds with the notion that our elections cannot be trusted, they undermine the foundations of our democracy. Such candidates knowingly use their public platforms in a way that recklessly risks toppling our democratic institutions.

Promoting pernicious, destructive nonsense should be condemned no matter who is doing it. But if someone actually putting himself or herself forward as a candidate does this — effectively helping to incite a mob that would set fire to American democracy — it seems to me that he or she should be declared unqualified for public office and removed from the ballot.

If such people remain on the ballot, however, I’d think that it should go without saying that no one should vote for them.

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Charles Hathaway

Grand Marais

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