On the heels of a debate in which Vice President Mike Pence joined President Donald Trump in refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if they lose the November election, Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Thursday emphasized the importance of beating the Republicans "bigly."
The Massachusetts Democrat and former presidential candidate, who is now backing Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in their bid to oust Trump and Pence, discussed the contest and concerns about the current administration live on MSNBC.
"This is a reminder of who Donald Trump is and who Mike Pence has signed up to play second fiddle to," Warren told host Joe Scarborough about them declining to say they will peacefully pass the reins if Biden and Harris are victorious in the race, for which early in-person and mail-in voting has already started.
After expressing alarm about the damage that the Trump administration has done so far to American democratic institutions during the president's first term, the senator stressed the significance of what happens over the next couple weeks until November 3—this year's official Election Day.
"We can't just afford to beat him by a little bit. We need to beat him—as Trump would say—bigly, because there can't be any dispute," Warren warned. "Because he is the man who will dispute it if he has the tiniest shred of anything that he can hold on to."
"This has to be one of those elections where we all get out and vote not only for the candidate that we care about," she said, "but get out and vote for our democracy."
While Warren urged Americans to participate in the election—and encourage others to do so—Trump decided that he wouldn't participate in the debate between him and Biden planned for next week, after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the event would be held virtually due to the president's Covid-19 diagnosis.
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CNN reported that Trump's campaign manager Bill Stepien accused the commission of "unilaterally canceling an in-person debate" to help Biden and said the president will instead hold a rally. Trump announced last week that he tested positive for Covid-19. He returned to the White House Monday after spending three nights in the hospital.
The ongoing pandemic is already driving a significant increase in early voting. According to Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida who runs the U.S. Elections Project, at least six million Americans had cast ballots for the general election as of Thursday morning.
#earlyvote morning update 10/8
— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) October 8, 2020
As Trump has repeatedly indicated over the past several months that he may not accept the election results if he is defeated, progressive advocacy organizations have pushed Americans to vote early—and in person, if possible, given concerns about mail delivery delays resulting from changes implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump megadonor.
More than 100 advocacy groups and labor unions have also recently come together to create the Protect the Results coalition, working to get out the vote and vowing to mobilize if the president won't accept a loss. Last week, organizers with four major youth organizations similarly launched #CountOnUs, promising to fight back if Trump tries to steal the election.
"So I'm excited to link arms with these other powerful organizations of young people ahead of the election, because this one will determine so much about our future," said Marie Rattigan of Dream Defenders, one of the youth groups. "Together, we're going to vote and organize like our communities and planet are at stake, because they are."