This country faces an unprecedented set of crises. We are struggling with a pandemic that has already cost us over 200,000 lives.
We have an economy in which we have a grotesque level of income and wealth inequality, where the middle class is being decimated, where millions of workers have lost their jobs and half of our people continue to work paycheck to paycheck, many for starvation wages.
We are living in the moment when climate change is ravaging this planet, leading to massive fires on the West Coast, drought and unprecedented levels of extreme weather disturbances all across the globe.
We are the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right, over 90 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured, and we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.
All of these issues, and others, are enormously important and should be the issues that are being debated in this campaign. But, today, I'm not going to talk about any of them.
What I am going to talk about is something that, in my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be discussing. And that is the need to make certain that the President of the United States, if he loses this election, will abide by the will of the voters and leave office peacefully.
What I will be discussing today is the danger that this country faces from a president who is a pathological liar, who has strong authoritarian tendencies, who neither understands nor respects our constitution and who is prepared to undermine American democracy in order to stay in power.
With less than six weeks left to go in this campaign, it is my fervent hope that all Americans -- Democrats, Republicans, independents, progressives, moderates, conservatives -- come together to defend American democracy, our constitution and the rule of law. We must ensure, in this unprecedented moment in American history, that this is an election that is free and fair, an election in which voters are not intimidated, an election in which all votes are counted and an election in which the loser accepts the results.
This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy, and democracy must win.
The United States is the oldest continuous democracy in the modern world. We held elections in the middle of a Civil War in 1864. We held free and fair elections during World War I, during the Great Depression, and during World War II. After all of those elections, held in extremely difficult circumstances, the loser acknowledged defeat and the winner was inaugurated and took office. That is what America is all about. That's what democracy is all about.
But today, under Donald Trump, we have a president who has little respect for our constitution or the rule of law. Today, that peaceful transition of power, the bedrock of American democracy, is being threatened like never before.
I am not in the habit of quoting former President Ronald Reagan, but I think something that he said in his first inaugural address makes the point about how important -- how precious is this part of our heritage. I quote: "The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle."
Protecting this "orderly transfer of authority" as President Reagan characterized it, this miracle, is absolutely essential if we together all of us, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, want to keep faith with the American ideals we hold so dear and with the sacrifices that so many made in order to protect our democracy.
And in that regard I think it is terribly important that we actually listen to, and take seriously, what Donald Trump is saying.
Several weeks ago, speaking at the Republican National Convention, Trump said, "The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election." What is remarkable about that statement is that he made it at a time when almost every national poll had him behind and when he was trailing in polls in most battleground states.
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