'Be mentally prepared': GOP 'a normal polling error away' from ushering in 'a brutal authoritarian system'
Donald Trump (AFP)

The November midterms are only five days away. Americans are voting early in droves, and polls are showing that many – if not most – of the hotly contested races throughout the country are statistical dead-heats. But this election cycle is unlike those that have come before it because democracy itself is imperiled by the populist right-wing of the Republican Party, whose candidates have openly embraced former President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election having been stolen.

President Joe Biden highlighted the imminent dangers that the authoritarian right-wing poses to the American democratic experiment in an ominous Wednesday night address to the nation:

As I stand here today, there are candidates running for every level of office in America – for governor, Congress, attorney general, secretary of state – that will not commit to accepting the results of elections that they are running in. This is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. It’s unlawful. And it is un-American.

Shortly thereafter on All In, MSNBC's Chris Hayes expanded on what Biden said:

He's not wrong. It is a path to chaos, and whether we take that path to chaos – whether we continue to march down it – is one of the major choices, if not the major choice voters face this coming Tuesday.

Hayes was then joined by MSNBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss, to whom he noted that Biden's warning was "much more specific about the developments that we're seeing everywhere, from the Arizona poll-stalkers to the secretaries of state who refuse to say that they'll accept the elections. What do you view as the key takeaway from the speech tonight?"

Beschloss' response was unambiguous:

Well, he was absolutely candid and he was absolutely right, because, as you know, Chris, six nights from now, we could all be discussing violence all over this country. There are signs that that may happen. May God forbid that losers will be declared winners by fraudulent election officers or secretary of state candidates or governors or state legislatures.

We could be six days away from losing our rule of law and losing a situation where we have elections that we all can rely on. You know, those are the foundation stones of a democracy.

So if Biden had gone on the air tonight and said, biggest thing we have to worry about is, you know, marginal tax rate or something like that, well, it is important. But what significant presidents do — I think you will agree, we both we write history, you and I. 1868, Lincoln didn’t say, biggest issue is land grant colleges, although he felt strongly, he said the country can’t survive half-slave or half-free. 1940, Franklin Roosevelt didn’t say, you know, the biggest thing I’m worried about is farm policy. Farm policy was important to him, but what he did say was never before, since Jamestown and Plymouth Rock, has America been in such danger – Joe Biden is saying the same thing tonight. And a historian 50 years from now, if historians are allowed to write in this country and if there are still free publishing houses and a free press, which I’m not certain of. But if that is true, a historian will say, what was at stake tonight and this week was the fact whether we will be a democracy in the future, whether our children will be arrested and conceivably killed. We’re on the edge of a brutal authoritarian system, and it could be a week away.

Watch here via Mediaite.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight forecast was updated – and the new math signals sobering vulnerabilities for Democrats, who currently hold a five-seat majority in the House of Representatives and a one-seat majority in the Senate thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking role.

"If each party were to win every race they are currently favored to win, Republicans would have 51 Senate seats and Democrats would have 49, according to our Deluxe forecast as of Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern. And if the same thing happened in the House, Republicans would win 225 seats and Democrats would win 210," 538's senior elections analyst Nathaniel Rakish explained.

And although 538 presented numerous potential outcomes – including some in which Democrats expand their majorities – Rakish was able to determine that Republicans have a significant chance of retaking control of Congress.

"To emphasize again, these are all hypothetical scenarios. If there is a pro-Republican or pro-Democratic polling error, it will almost surely unfold differently. Hopefully, though, this thought exercise has recalibrated your expectations. Of course, the polls could also be extremely accurate — as they were in the 2018 midterm," he wrote.