Democracy Works Best When All Voices Can Be Heard

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Common Cause Denounces Violence and Incitements to Violence on the Campaign Trail

Statement by Common Cause President Miles Rapoport

We believe voters make the best decisions and American democracy is best served when everyone participates and all voices can be heard. Anyone who attempts to stifle debate or silence their political opponents, whether by flooding the airwaves with campaign commercials, passing laws tailored to suppress voter turnout, or drowning out a candidate at a rally or forum, is undermining our democracy.

Fortunately, American democracy has a long history of robust, even boisterous debate and of tolerance for unpopular ideas. We respect both of these traditions.

There is no excuse for violence or incitements to violence. Political leaders and those who aspire to lead have a particular responsibility to avoid inciting violence and to foster robust but civil debate. They must choose whether to set a tone which encourages violent protest and violent reactions to it or one that expresses their ideas in a forceful but civil way.

Common Cause joins leaders in both political parties who believe Donald Trump is setting a tone that is inciting his supporters to violence, damaging his party and our democracy. We call on Mr. Trump to temper his rhetoric and accept responsibility for fostering a toxic climate in this campaign. We urge those who disagree with his views – however strongly they might feel — to respect his right to express them.