The democratic institutions of the United States of America are in a highly precarious position. In the 2020 presidential election Donald Trump tested the guardrails of Democracy in every way he could in an attempt to remain in power. Trump’s abuses of power demonstrate the potential fragility of democratic institutions in the United States. Presidential elections in the United States are determined by the Electoral College, where each state has “Electors” who vote to certify the elections of their states. The “Electors” are supposed to vote only according to the will of the people, but there is no legal guardrail preventing the “Electors” from spurning the will of the voters. Other local and state officials are also part of the process of certifying elections. Donald Trump attempted to influence any official he could who was part of the process of confirming Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post summarized some of Trump’s attempts to subvert the election at the state level, “Trump waged public and private campaigns to persuade Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, all Republicans, to reject or undo statewide certification” (Helderman). These Republican men, all of whom likely would have preferred Donald Trump in office over Joe Biden, did not succumb to Trump’s demands due to their belief in institutional norms and forbearance. All of the public officials that Donald Trump tried to persuade to overturn the 2020 election practiced forbearance, despite their own political biases. There was little legal ramification that these officials could have suffered if they chose to cast doubt on the election, but these officials understood their legitimacy was the thin fabric between democracy and autocracy. Trump had a plan to perform a coup d’etat, “The goal was to create the conditions in which Congress could declare that the outcome of the election was in dispute. By law, under such circumstances, a legitimately disputed election would be determined by a vote of state delegations in the U.S. House, a measure by which Republicans held a majority” (Helderman). Trump only needed a few officials, maybe even one, to help him cast doubt on the election, yet remarkably every single official correctly certified the 2020 election. Democracy in the United States was saved in 2020, but the same authoritarian demagogue is running for president again in 2024. The 2022 midterm elections were an important moment for the health of American democracy. Trump’s rhetoric and denial of the legitimacy of elections has infected many members of the Republican party. Many Republican candidates who questioned or denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election ran for political offices that certify their state elections. The rhetoric and beliefs that these political figures espouse would create the conditions conducive to true Bermeo Democratic Backsliding. Many of these officials want to undermine electoral competition in their states by creating stricter voting regulations and even outright denying the results of elections if they do not align with the officials political beliefs. The actions these election-denier officials claim they would take would make the government less accountable. Presidential elections are not truly up to the people, the electoral college was ironically created to protect the United States from a deranged voting public who elected a demagogue. Officials running for these political offices to ensure the “right” candidate wins would disenfranchise the public. In a scenario with empathetic state leaders or electors, Donald Trump may have successfully remained in power. According to CNN, twelve Republicans who denied or questioned the results of the 2020 election ran for Secretary of State, typically the chief election official for states, and four of them won, all in Republican dominated states. All the election-denier candidates in swing states, like Michigan, Arizona and Nevada, lost. According to CNN, twenty-two election-deniers ran for Governor, with nine of them winning. Of the nineteen election-deniers who ran for the Senate, ten won and Herschel Walker is in a run-off. While election-denier candidates, many of whom were endorsed by Donald Trump, underperformed in the 2022 elections, it is still clear that there is some level of public political will that wants to demolish the guardrails of democracy in the United States. As long as elected officials question the legitimacy of elections and the legitimacy of their opposition, Democracy in the United States is in grave danger. Democratic institutions have so far been protected, but only due to the thinly layered protection of officials’ beliefs in institutional norms. If the wrong officials are in the right positions of power when a charismatic authoritarian demagogue arrives, Democracy in the United States will backslide.