"Make no mistake -- democracy is on the ballot for us all."
So declaiming in his Union Station speech to the nation on the real stakes in the 2022 elections, President Joe Biden, who was immediately echoed by Barack Obama, painted himself and his party into a corner.
For if Trump Republicans carry the day Tuesday, Biden will have to declare, if there is any consistency left in him, a "defeat for democracy" and a victory for the party that he has said is steeped in "semi-fascism."
Assume, for the sake of argument, a GOP capture of the House of Representatives and of a majority of the U.S. Senate.
How would Biden describe that GOP victory, if he has persisted in his stated belief that the fate of "democracy" itself was on the table? Would he say that "democracy" had been rejected in America, dealt a crippling blow, a "shellacking," by a party dominated by semi-fascists?
How does Biden then work for the next two years with leaders of a party whose ascendancy James Clyburn, third-ranking Democrat in the House, has just compared to the Nazis coming to power in Germany?
If you have equated your rising Republican rivals across the aisle in the early 2020s with the ascendant Nazis in the early 1930s, how do you work together with such as these on a common agenda?
What do liberal Democrats do, if, in a free and fair election, U.S. voters throw them out and replace them with people our elites routinely equate with fascists and Nazis?
We may be about to find out.
Indeed, if Trump Republicans are what the Democratic leaders say they are, and the country still votes them into office, what would that tell us about the character of the American electorate and American people?
Prediction: Democrats, if defeated Tuesday, will find a way to work with the victorious Republicans. Why? Because they do not truly believe in the names they have been calling Republicans, and because they lack the courage and conviction to rise up and rout genuine Nazis, if they should one day confront them.
Which brings us to what the election is really all about: the failure of a regime, and of the president, party and philosophy steering that regime.
In a republic such as ours, the government has many major duties.
High among them are resisting foreign invasions, securing the nation's borders, protecting the value of the currency and securing the rights of citizens, first and foremost, the right to be free from domestic violence.
The Democratic Party that controls both houses of the Congress and the presidency has abjectly failed in all of these fundamental duties.
In Biden's 22 months in office, the U.S. has witnessed an invasion across its 1,900-mile southern border by millions of illegal aliens. Another million illegals have entered our country while effectively evading contact with U.S. authorities. These are the "gotaways."
We do not know who these people are, where they came from and why, or where they are now, except to say that they have broken our laws and broken into our national home and are living here among us.
Some 250,000 migrants are now arriving at the border every month, irretrievably altering the character and composition of our country over the enraged protests of its citizens.
The president is thus failing abysmally in one of his foremost duties -- to secure our borders. And neither Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris has shown the least interest in protecting that bleeding border, or even visiting it.
As for protecting the value of the U.S. dollars that constitute the wages, salaries and savings of our people, that value has been eaten up for a year by a cancerous 8% inflation that began soon after Biden began to implement his policies.
As for protecting the rights of citizens of this republic to be free from domestic violence, the Biden years have been witness to a pandemic of murders, rapes, robberies and assaults. Media reports and videos of the new savagery in our society have converted "crime" into one of the primary national concerns in a nation we used to call "God's Country."
This, then, is what Tuesday's election is really all about.
"Democracy" is not on the ballot. What is on the ballot is a huge slice of the leadership and ruling class of the national Democratic Party, which is not the same thing.
What is being decided by the ballots this election season is the verdict of the nation on a president who has failed, a party that has failed, and a political philosophy that has failed.
Democracy has not failed America. The reigning Democrats have failed America. And their desperate leaders are urging us to equate their party's defeat and repudiation with a rejection of our political system.
If we lose the election to these Republicans, Democratic leaders have been telling America, it is because the American people preferred fascism to democracy.
This is the Big Lie of 2022.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."