It’s actually a perfectly valid question. Recall that just a couple of days ago President Biden said not once but twice that unless election reforms were passed by Congress, he had doubts about the legitimacy of the 2022 election. Notice that in this clip where Biden was asked to clarify his remarks he initially started by talking about 2020 but the reporter interjected, “In regard to 2022.” And Biden continued his answer saying, “The increase in the prospect of it being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”
This second attempt from Biden on whether the election will be legit is even worse.
"Oh, yeah, I think it could easily be illegitimate … The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in proportion to not being able to get these reforms passed." pic.twitter.com/nCyuAWSMXm
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) January 19, 2022
Yesterday, Jen Psaki tried to unsay what Biden had said, specifically claiming he was talking about 2020:
He was explaining that the results would be illegitimate if states do what the former president asked them to do after the 2020 election: toss out ballots and overturn results after the fact. The Big Lie is putting our democracy at risk. We’re fighting to protect it.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) January 20, 2022
No part of that answer makes sense. First, Biden was explicitly talking about 2022. Second, he wasn’t talking about what states might do, he was talking about what Congress needed to do to prevent it and guaranteed legitimacy.
With all of that in mind, here’s the View’s Ana Navarro pressing Psaki on how the 2022 election can possible be legitimate if the Democratic voting bill doesn’t pass. “During his marathon press conference, the president also suggested the next election could be illegitimate if we don’t pass voters protections,” she said as Psaki nodded along. Navarro went on to say, “So without reforms, why should voters have faith in the legitimacy of the next election?”
Tinfoil hat time: The View co-host Ana Navarro presses Jen Psaki with an unhinged conspiracy theory that the results of the 2022 midterms will not be free, fair, and legitimate.
"So without reforms, why should voters have faith in the legitimacy of the next election?" pic.twitter.com/h3cI6Ref8z
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) January 21, 2022
As I said above, it’s a very good question. Democrats have been running around with their hair on fire about the end of democracy. If the situation is that dire, how can their failure to pass the reform bill not matter? Mary Katharine Ham sums up the rhetorical bind Democrats have talked themselves into:
There’s a self-imposed rhetorical bind, here. If in fact these reforms are urgently required lest democracy cease to exist, which has been the pitch for them, how then can 2022 be okay without them? It’s quite a circle to square. Ana is following the logic of that pitch. https://t.co/yY6bZB7Jqg
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) January 21, 2022
Navarro’s question makes more sense than Psaki’s answer if you believe democracy in imminent danger of collapse. In fact, it’s really just a rephrasing of what Biden said about the voting reform bills being tied to the legitimacy of the next election.
The only way Psaki’s walk back makes sense is if she and the White House don’t really believe all of that blather about democracy dying. To put it another way, Psaki’s answer makes perfect sense if the “end of democracy” is just a talking point designed to activate the left’s base in advance of an election where they are anticipating a shellacking. Psaki is walking back what Biden said because she knows it’s indefensible. Navarro is still pushing the idea that the sky is falling because she’s not quite clever enough to know that.
In any case, Psaki admitted it has been a tough week for Democrats and has some advice for them on how to cope: Punch something or down a margarita.
Jen Psaki: "My advice to everyone out there who's frustrated, sad, angry, pissed off, feel those emotions, go to a kickboxing class, have a margarita…"
UNREAL. How is this the "advice" that is now coming from the White House?pic.twitter.com/ENphGJCryZ
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) January 21, 2022
Here’s the full interview: