Political Violence Threatens Our Democracy. How Do We Keep Candidates Safe?

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The threats and violence women candidates face on the campaign trail and attacks on candidates and elected officials are attacks on democracy.

United States News, United States Headlines

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—pictured here with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) as they launch the American Climate Corps on Sept. 20, 2023—has faced numerous death threats while in office and on the campaign trail. For women in politics, especially women of color, this is nothing new. (Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)

But more often than not, they go overlooked, especially for candidates running for state or local office, and women of color. Former Vermont State Representative Kiah Morris said she reported at least 26 incidents to the local police where she and her family felt threatened between 2016 and 2018 before she finally resigned.

Being in the public eye and running for political office does leave candidates, both men and women, open to scrutiny. There should be a place for disagreement, civil discourse and passionate debate—but there is no place for violence and harassment, and we cannot let attacks on our democracy continue unchecked.

Last week’s threats are just the latest page from the authoritarian playbook Trump and his followers operate from in their ongoing attempts to overthrow our democracy. In fact, Capitol Police report

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