Rep. Jared Golden arrives at the U.S. Capitol

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) arrives to the U.S. Capitol to vote on June 15, 2023.

(Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images)

'Unconscionable Surrender to Fascism': Democrat Jared Golden Says He's OK With Trump Win

A political science professor described the Maine congressman's op-ed as "one of the most irresponsible things a Democratic member of Congress has written in recent memory."

Breaking with many of his fellow Democrats, Maine Congressman Jared Golden suggested Tuesday that former Republican President Donald Trump's return to the White House wouldn't threaten U.S. democracy—and was sharply ridiculed for that take.

"After the first presidential debate, lots of Democrats are panicking about whether President Joe Biden should step down as the party's nominee," Golden wrote in a Bangor Daily News op-ed. "Biden's poor performance in the debate was not a surprise. It also didn't rattle me as it has others, because the outcome of this election has been clear to me for months: While I don't plan to vote for him, Donald Trump is going to win. And I'm OK with that."

"Democrats' post-debate hand-wringing is based on the idea that a Trump victory is not just a political loss, but a unique threat to our democracy. I reject the premise," he continued. "Unlike Biden and many others, I refuse to participate in a campaign to scare voters with the idea that Trump will end our democratic system."

Golden—who represents the "Trump-friendly" 2nd District, a priority for Republicans this cycle—also referenced the insurrection incited by the presumptive Republican nominee after his 2020 loss to Biden, writing that "pearl-clutching about a Trump victory ignores the strength of our democracy. January 6, 2021, was a dark day. But Americans stood strong."

The backlash to Golden's op-ed was swift and strong, with Fordham University assistant political science professor Jacob Smith calling it "one of the most irresponsible things a Democratic member of Congress has written in recent memory."

Veteran journalist Mark Jacob said on social media that "Congressman Jared Golden, an alleged Democrat from Maine, waves the white flag against Trump in an unconscionable surrender to fascism. Maybe he thinks he can cut a deal. The cowards and quislings are making themselves known."

Some critics highlighted that the U.S. Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority—which includes three Trump appointees—ruled Monday that Trump, and anyone else who occupies the Oval Office, has absolute immunity for "official acts." In her dissent, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned that "the president is now a king above the law."

Trump celebrated the ruling and reportedly is prepared to embrace his expanded powers if he wins in November. The high court decision also jeopardizes Trump's recent felony conviction and three pending cases against him, including two that stem from his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

"Jared Golden's op-ed today may be one of the worst takes we've seen so far, particularly in light of the Supreme Court's decision yesterday," declared Young Democrats of America president Quentin Wathum-Ocama. "I'm astounded that the congressman has such an absurdly bad take and is apparently ready to give up on an election five months out."

Some journalists and Republicans suggested that Golden's op-ed may be politically motivated, considering the makeup of his district. His GOP challenger, former NASCAR driver Austin Theriault, said: "This is a very phony attempt to avoid accountability. Simple questions for Jared Golden: Does he support Joe Biden for president or not? Does Golden believe Biden is mentally competent or not? He won't say, because he puts politics ahead of Mainers."

Golden, who co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition, has a history of voting with Republicans on various climate, military, and student debt relief policies. His new opinion piece provoked calls for members of his own party to identify and rally around a write-in candidate "so Maine Democrats have an actual Democratic option in November."

Other Democrats in Congress have contributed to mounting warnings of the threat posed by Trump, who has said on the campaign trail that he would be a dictator on "day one" and "root out" those he called "radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country."

If elected this year, Trump is also expected to pursue the policy agenda of the Heritage Foundation-led 2025 Presidential Transition Project—or Project 2025—which the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism has described as a "far-right playbook for American authoritarianism."

Congressman Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that "Project 2025 is a threat to our nation. The conservative radical plan rolls back rights for everyone and allows blatant discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. It's sickening, and we must do everything to prevent this destructive plan and Donald Trump at all costs."

Biden's poor performance in the debate with Trump last week has prompted some supporters to reaffirm the importance of his reelection, given the alternative, and others to suggest that he should be replaced ahead of the Democratic convention next month.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first Democrat in Congress to suggest that Biden should step aside.

"Too much is at stake to risk a Trump victory—too great a risk to assume that what could not be turned around in a year, what could not be turned around in the debate, can be turned around now," Doggett said. "President Biden saved our democracy by delivering us from Trump in 2021. He must not deliver us to Trump in 2024."

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