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In an urgent appeal on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said President Trump presented "unique threats to our democracy" and detailed a plan to ensure the election results will be honored and that voters can cast their ballots safely.

Driving the news: When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump would not, and said: "We're going to have to see what happens."

What they're saying: "It is terribly important that we listen to and take seriously what Donald Trump is saying," Sanders said in remarks at George Washington University in D.C.

  • "Let me make this clear to Donald Trump: Too many people have fought and died to defend American democracy and you are not going to destroy it."
  • "Today, under Donald Trump, we have a president who has little respect for our constitution or the rule of law," Sanders continued. "Today, that peaceful transition of power, the bedrock of American democracy, is being threatened like never before."

Sanders said this election is bigger than Trump vs. Biden. "This is not just an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden," he said. "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.
— Sen. Bernie Sanders

Why it matters: Democrats have little power to stop President Trump and Republicans in the Senate, so they have to get out and make clear to the public that they've had enough and they're ready to fight.

  • On a Thursday call with reporters, Biden's deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield said: "Joe Biden has participated in a peaceful transition of power before. He certainly will this time."

The big picture: Democrats are watching their Republican colleagues move to jam through President Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election, while he's also falsely claiming there's an abundance of voter fraud happening with absentee ballots.

  • Trump told reporters this week that part of his urgency to quickly push through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in anticipation of a situation where the Supreme Court may have to decide the result of the 2020 election.
  • Trump has said that mail-in voting poses the "biggest risk" to his re-election prospects, and claimed, without evidence, that widespread mail-in voting would somehow rig the election against him.

Go deeper: Sanders: America should prepare for Trump's refusal to concede

Go deeper

Oct 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Court rules Minnesota absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. Election Day

An election judge drops a ballot in a ballot box at a drive through drop-off for absentee ballots in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

An appeals court on Thursday ruled that Minnesota absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.

Why it matters: The ruling, which comes just five days before the election, blocks the state's plan to count absentee ballots arriving late so long as they're postmarked by Nov. 3 and delivered within a week of the election. Now those ballots must be set aside and marked late.

Oct 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court won't expedite Pennsylvania GOP's request to block mail-in ballot extension

Amy Coney Barrett being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images

The Supreme Court voted 5-3 on Wednesday to deny a bid from Pennsylvania Republicans to expedite their request to shorten the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots. Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the decision.

Why it matters: A lower court ruling allowing ballots to be counted until 5pm on Nov. 6, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, will remain in place for now.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.