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See Flake's goodbye speech on Senate floor

In his farewell speech to Congress, departing GOP Senator Jeff Flake issued a warning that "the threats to our democracy from within and without are real" and that the country is experiencing a "moment of political dysfunction and upheaval."

Posted: Dec 14, 2018 6:04 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2018 6:15 AM

In his farewell speech to Congress, departing GOP Senator Jeff Flake issued a warning that "the threats to our democracy from within and without are real" and that the country is experiencing a "moment of political dysfunction and upheaval."

Flake, a frequent conservative critic of President Donald Trump, made the remarks in an address on the Senate floor. The Arizona Republican is retiring at the end of his current term and leaving the Senate.

During the speech, Flake argued that democracy is at risk of being undermined not just in the United States, but also abroad in the face of what he described as a resurgent "authoritarian impulse."

"As the authoritarian impulse reasserts itself globally and global commitment to democracy seems now to be on somewhat shaky ground, I have been thinking a lot recently about the American commitment to democracy, where it comes from and how if the circumstances were right, it might slip away," he said.

Flake later said, "The shadow of tyranny is once again enveloping parts of the globe and let us recognize as authoritarianism reasserts itself in country after country, that we are by no means immune."

"The road to democracy is not irreversible," he said, adding, "not in America, not anywhere."

Flake stated that it would be an "understatement" to "say that our politics is not healthy," and that he believes "we all know well that this is not a normal time and that the threats to our democracy from within and without are real."

He added, "We are of course testing the institution of American liberty in ways that none of us ever imagined we would -- and in ways that we probably never should again."

In describing what he believes are threats to democracy, Flake called out Russian President Vladimir Putin by name, setting up a contrast with Trump, who has been repeatedly unwilling to criticize Putin's actions.

"Just as he hijacked democracy in his own country, he is determined to do so everywhere," Flake said of Putin. "Denial of this reality will not make it any less real."

Flake argued in his speech that work must be done to protect democracy and democratic institutions.

"As we in America during this moment of political dysfunction and upheaval contemplate the hard-won conventions and norms of democracy, we must continually remind ourselves that none of this is permanent: that it must be fought for continually."

Despite outlining those concerns, Flake said that he is departing the Senate with a sense of optimism about what lays ahead and grateful for the experience he had in Congress.

"I leave here grateful and optimistic," he said, saying that it has been a privilege to "serve the state and the country that I love so well."

He added that while he believes "serious challenges lay ahead," the US has "confronted and survived more daunting challenges than we now face."

"Ours is a durable, resilient system of government designed to withstand the foibles of those who sometimes occupy these halls, including yours truly," he added.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 263023

Reported Deaths: 5752
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17675191
Hinds16813331
Harrison14224204
Rankin11167219
Jackson10839190
Lee9050144
Madison8568168
Jones6668114
Forrest6177124
Lauderdale6097192
Lowndes5518120
Lafayette516298
Lamar503965
Washington4923125
Bolivar4104109
Oktibbeha405982
Panola384881
Pontotoc376258
Warren3674103
Monroe3671108
Union355663
Marshall355270
Neshoba3485154
Pearl River3468105
Leflore3111109
Lincoln305688
Hancock291862
Sunflower291475
Tate279662
Alcorn272354
Pike268981
Itawamba268063
Scott259648
Yazoo255256
Prentiss252553
Tippah249250
Copiah249049
Coahoma248054
Simpson242171
Leake237367
Grenada223272
Marion222073
Covington219973
Adams213671
Wayne212634
Winston207371
George204339
Newton199046
Attala196963
Tishomingo194161
Chickasaw189044
Jasper179538
Holmes171768
Clay165837
Tallahatchie156235
Stone151425
Clarke147262
Calhoun140822
Smith129226
Yalobusha122034
Walthall114337
Greene113529
Noxubee112926
Montgomery111636
Carroll106622
Lawrence106517
Perry104531
Amite101426
Webster96124
Tunica88821
Claiborne88325
Jefferson Davis88329
Benton85623
Humphreys84624
Kemper80520
Quitman7089
Franklin69917
Choctaw63213
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45117
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 439442

Reported Deaths: 6657
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson644371007
Mobile31435569
Madison28158217
Tuscaloosa21492275
Montgomery19873332
Shelby19248132
Baldwin17128189
Lee13137107
Morgan12594142
Etowah12070181
Calhoun11496206
Marshall10420123
Houston8988164
Limestone832081
Cullman8257124
Elmore8183110
DeKalb7871107
Lauderdale7847107
St. Clair7808130
Talladega6445112
Walker6028183
Jackson599145
Colbert548694
Blount546286
Autauga535862
Coffee460764
Dale409685
Franklin374150
Russell354215
Chilton344373
Covington338580
Escambia334544
Tallapoosa3143109
Dallas312996
Chambers303470
Clarke298036
Pike262431
Lawrence253355
Marion253161
Winston233342
Bibb222348
Geneva210247
Marengo208231
Pickens199531
Hale184944
Barbour180538
Fayette177829
Butler173160
Cherokee165131
Henry159525
Monroe152021
Randolph145536
Washington141727
Clay129746
Crenshaw123745
Macon121937
Cleburne121525
Lamar119922
Lowndes114836
Wilcox107922
Bullock103328
Perry99918
Conecuh97822
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63418
Choctaw51924
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