More than a hundred leading scholars in the United States have raised the alarm in an open letter on Tuesday about what they see as the downfall of democracy in their country.
The letter was signed by over a hundred researchers and professors at the most prestigious universities, such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale.
The scientists are warning of the erosion of the democratic process they have been observing lately around American elections. They refer, among other things, to the last presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump maintained after the election that he was only able to lose through fraud against Joe Biden. Trump suggested several times that there had been fraud at polling stations and during the counting of votes, without ever providing evidence.
The way in which his Republican Party colleagues influenced the local election process is also a cause for concern to scientists. For example, Republicans tried to prevent votes sent by mail from being counted.
“In recent months, radical damage has been done to core democratic values across the country. As a result, in some states there is a political system that no longer meets the criteria for free and fair elections. This puts our entire democracy at risk.”
The letter calls for federal actions against legislators and politicians who have tried to “thwart or influence the democratic conduct of the elections”.
A new election law would be a “step in the right direction”, but the scientists want more to be done to ensure that all Americans have the right to vote.
The signatories want better rules for accepting money during campaigns. They also want to put an end to gerrymandering: the reclassification of constituencies in favor of a particular candidate or party. This creates an unfair advantage for the party that is currently running the state.
The scholars warn that once democracy is in “a negative spiral”, it may take decades for a country to recover from it. In the meantime, violence, corruption, political chaos and social unrest can emerge, ultimately leading to “undermining national prosperity”.