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Democrats Promise To Save ‘Democracy’ By Destroying It

Sometimes you get the sense that maybe all this ‘democracy’ talk is just a cynical strategy to hold onto power.

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Granted, I’m not a professional political consultant, but I’m starting to get the sense that the Democrats’ 2024 focus on “saving democracy” suffers somewhat from their constant efforts to demolish every basic norm of constitutional governance.

Then again, maybe we just need to define our terms, since “democracy” has been stripped of any useful meaning. The word certainly doesn’t signify adherence to the Constitution — a document barely, if ever, mentioned by the contemporary left for obvious reasons.

Indeed, for the past eight or so years, many legal and traditional institutions of American governance — the Electoral College, the filibuster, two senators in every state, states, open discourse, the Supreme Court, and so on — have been framed as nemeses of “democracy” if they happen to temporarily benefit Republicans.

Virtually every political setback, in fact, has been transformed into an existential threat to the foundations of “democracy.” Anyone with conventional conservative views, especially social ones, has been reimagined as MAGA extremists or “semi-fascists” or “Christofascists.”

Even when originalist justices, the most scrupulous devotees of American “democracy” in the country, strengthen majoritarianism, as they did handing the abortion issue back to voters where it belonged, Democrats have a collective fainting spell over the future of “democracy.”

Democrats are positive that asking someone to prove an ID before voting portends the rise of the Fourth Reich, but they have no problem pressuring private companies to censor political speech, ignoring the Supreme Court, unilaterally breaking millions of private contracts to buy votes, using executive power to circumvent the will of voters, and throwing the leading opposition candidate off ballots.

If you’re convinced that George W. Bush stole an election or that Donald Trump was “selected” by a foreign dictator, your griping about “denialism” holds no weight.

Do you know what’s definitely authoritarian, though? Plotting to undermine civilian control of the military. It’s one of the big ones.

NBC News reports this week that “a network of public interest groups and lawmakers, nervous about former President Trump’s potential return to power, is quietly devising plans to foil any effort on his part to pressure the U.S. military to carry out his political agenda.”

Dear lord, voters elect the commander-in-chief because of a political agenda. It is literally the military’s job to implement the democratic will of the people. It’s right there in the Constitution. It’s the point.

Invading Iraq was a political decision, not one made by a Star Chamber, but by the president and senators like Joe Biden. Leaving Afghanistan was a political decision, made by a president who promised the public he would do so if elected. The decision to take the Houthis off the global terror list was a political decision. As was the decision to grant Iran access to billions and to send Palestinian terror groups hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now, if voters are unhappy with these decisions, they are free to support someone else the next time around. But if a bunch of unelected right-wing “public interest groups” and lawmakers, nervous about Biden’s failed — but completely legal — foreign policy decisions, formed a cabal within the government to “foil” him, it would not be strengthening “democracy.”

Then again, you remember when Gen. Mark Milley made two phone calls to our top geopolitical foes in China and promised to give them a heads-up should the United States attack? That was another clear-cut subversion of civilian authority over the military. Nothing about those calls comports with “democracy.” The opposite. Yet Milley is regarded as a hero of the resistance.

And you probably remember “Anonymous,” as well. The “senior Trump administration official” who published that overwrought op-ed in The New York Times contending that senior staffers secretly schemed to undercut Trump to protect the American people. “I work for the president,” wrote Miles Taylor, “but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Political appointees who join a shadow government to “thwart” the president’s decisions — not because he’s been engaged in any unconstitutional or illegal acts, but because they disagreed with him — are definitely not the heroes of “democracy” they imagine themselves. (Taylor is on TV these days warning that Trump might “turn off” the internet if he’s elected for a second term. Joke’s on him, though, since Trump already did so when he overturned net neutrality.)

David Axelrod, who worked for a president who acted as if he were a sovereign, contends that if Republican primary voters select Trump as the nominee, it “would be a stunning rebuke of the rules, norms, laws and institutions upon which our democracy is founded and would have profound implications for the future.”

Now, a lot of that sounds like projection to me. Sometimes, you get the sense that just maybe all this “democracy” talk is a cynical strategy to hold onto power.

But let’s say it’s true. Every illiberal precedent Democrats set in their own alleged efforts to save our “democracy” from Trump will also have profound implications for the future. Trump will leave us one day. Democrats’ constant attacks on governing norms won’t. 


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