Republican Presidential Candidates on Matters of Democracy

On the Issues

Where the Republican Candidates Stand on Matters of Democracy

Increasingly over the past decade, and drastically within the past few years, democracy itself has become one of the most important issues on the ballot. The next president will have the power to affect not only the details of voting administration and the extent of voting rights and access, but also the basic principles of the peaceful transition of power and constitutional checks and balances.

Headshot of Donald J. Trump

He tried to overturn the 2020 election and still promotes the lie that it was stolen.

Donald J. Trump — the first president of the United States to refuse to accept the outcome of a democratic election — has sought both to delegitimize the electoral system and to dehumanize his political opponents, echoing language used by fascist dictators like Hitler and Benito Mussolini in describing liberals as “vermin” who threaten the nation more than foreign enemies.

Headshot of Ron DeSantis

He has signed restrictions on voting rights in Florida, and long avoided questions about 2020.

The bulk of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida’s record as it relates to democracy centers on voting in his home state.

Headshot of Vivek Ramaswamy

He wants to unilaterally remake the government, raise the voting age and ban mail voting.

Vivek Ramaswamy initially condemned Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, writing in his book “Nation of Victims” that Jan. 6, 2021, “was a dark day for democracy. The loser of the last election refused to concede the race, claimed the election was stolen, raised hundreds of millions of dollars from loyal supporters, and is considering running for executive office again.”

Headshot of Nikki Haley

She said Biden’s victory was legitimate, but has played up the risk of voter fraud more broadly.

Nikki Haley has acknowledged that Mr. Biden won the 2020 election and has said on multiple occasions that Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the results would “be judged harshly by history.” At the Republican debate in August, when candidates were asked whether they believed Mike Pence had done the right thing by overseeing the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, she said, “I do think that Vice President Pence did the right thing, and I do think that we need to give him credit for that.”

Headshot of Chris Christie

He vehemently condemns 2020 election lies.

Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has been outspoken in rejecting the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and denouncing Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn his defeat.

Headshot of Asa Hutchinson

He calls Trump’s election lies disqualifying; he also tightened voting laws in Arkansas.

Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas has condemned Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He was one of the first Republican officials to publicly acknowledge Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in November 2020.

Headshot of Doug Burgum

He acknowledges Biden’s 2020 victory; he also has a mixed record on voting laws in his state.

Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota has acknowledged that Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the 2020 election, and said at the Republican debate in August that Mike Pence “did the right thing on Jan. 6” by certifying Mr. Biden’s victory — but added that talking about it was a distraction. “China loves it when we’re talking about the past,” he said.

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