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Our view: The stakes are high Nov. 8

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Our country, our state, our cities and our communities are embroiled in a number of high-stakes issues, some of which sharply divide citizens. Some are matters of policy; some of conscience or religious or political philosophy; others are disagreements over perception or acceptance of facts. Many of them will be addressed, one way or another, in the Nov. 8 election. On local, state and national levels, it’s an extremely consequential election.

The issues include: Responding to climate change; abortion rights; gun violence; the economy and inflation; education curricula; crime; border security; and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And some, like abortion rights, could re-address matters we thought were settled, like our ability to marry whom we choose and whether we’re allowed to use birth control.

We’re also still dealing with the fallout from former President Trump’s illicit and possibly criminal attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Last week, mostly relying on Republican sources, the Jan. 6 House special committee effectively displayed Trump’s premeditated plan to remain in office even before votes were cast and, then, even after he knew beyond any reasonable doubt that he lost. It’s a plan that involved deceitful legal shenanigans — like attempting to assign fake electors from battleground states — and ultimately led to violence.

Yet polls state that 70% or more of Republicans still believe Trump’s Big Lie. More than 80 Republicans running for office — including some in North Carolina — still support that lie, despite more than 60 court cases and dozens of recounts and audits that have failed to produce any evidence. Some candidates, especially for positions that include election responsibilities, may be positioning themselves to negate results they find disagreeable, now and in the future. We’ve already had a taste of that in the form of GOP election officials in three states — New Mexico, Nevada and Pennsylvania — who refused to certify primary election results until ordered to do so by state courts.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that democracy itself — the American people’s ability to decide our own destiny — is under threat. The results of this election could save or doom that precious right.

Historically, the Journal has endorsed Democrats, Republicans and independents, believing that a middle road was the best for our state — one in which power was shared, in which checks and balances prevented us from falling into one extreme or another.

For several election cycles now, the Journal has refrained from endorsing individual candidates for office.

But it’s difficult to look at the effects of Trumpism, steeped in deceit, suspicion, conspiracy and a willingness to deny reality, and its continuing influence on the Republican Party, and not fear what it could engender in our state and our country.

It’s difficult to look at our Republican-led state legislature’s attempts to neuter election oversight, as it argues before the Supreme Court in Moore v. Harper. If it wins, it will be able to gerrymander with no restraint, locking in its own power, and select its preferred Electoral College representatives despite election results. Our votes would then no longer have any meaning.

If Republicans win control of the U.S. Senate and/or House, we can expect them to pursue an agenda that would impose tighter societal controls — tinkering with abortion rights, marriage rights, Social Security and Medicare — while afflicting President Biden with numerous baseless investigations.

And they would amplify the election denialism that once led to violence — and could again.

Our economic situation is temporary. It will change.

If we lose our democracy, we may never get it back.

Early voting begins Thursday. We encourage voters to read, study, absorb, consider and pray. And, most of all, to vote — for the candidates who will do what’s best, not for party, but for our entire community and country.

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