Fear And Hatred Of The Masses Behind Democrats’ War On Liberal Democracy
Why the party supposedly most committed to democracy is pursuing tyranny
President Donald Trump was and is a clear and present danger to liberal democracy, say Democrats. Trump broke laws against conspiracy and fraud in an effort to steal the 2020 election and should go to prison, they add. Trump also violated longstanding democratic norms, including against the peaceful transfer of power, they say, by instigating a riot at the Capitol. The bottom line for Democrats is that nobody is above the law, and it would be far worse not to prosecute Trump than to prosecute him.
But the riot at the Capitol building was largely due to security failures, and Trump’s election denialism and manipulations, while bad, were not qualitatively different from the behaviors of Hillary Clinton, Stacey Abrams, and former Democratic National Committee Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There would have been no January 6 riot had Congressional leaders not denied National Guard troops to Capitol Police, according to its former chief, Steven Sund. Rep. Nancy Pelosi denied Sund the chance to testify during the Democrats’ January 6 investigation.
The latest indictment against Trump from the state of Georgia effectively criminalizes acts like demanding a recount, despite the fact that it is routine for both Democrats and Republicans to question election results. Democrats like Kamala Harris have repeatedly doubted the reliability of voting machines. Democrats have also directly challenged election results, notably in 2016, when liberal commentators, legal scholars, and protestors proposed subverting the electoral college vote to prevent Trump’s victory.
Clinton repeatedly said the 2016 election was “stolen” from her and used the Russiagate hoax to claim that Trump was an illegitimate president. Abrams went further, refusing to concede and filing a lawsuit, which she ultimately lost. And according to Democratic National Convention Chair Donna Brazile, Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Schultz “rigged” the 2016 Democratic Primary against Bernie Sanders. Brazile alleged that Clinton controlled the DNC’s strategy and funds before becoming the nominee, allowing her campaign to stack the deck against Sanders.
It’s true that Trump went further than Clinton and even Abrams in his election denialism and that the context was more significant than the Democratic primary between Clinton and Sanders. Abrams and Clinton did not try to overturn election results, as prosecutors alleged Trump did. But the difference between Trump and the Democrats, and the general and primary elections, are of degree, not kind. Subversion is subversion, and the other team’s subversion always seems worse. As for “democratic norms,” it’s hard to think of a greater violation of them than trying to incarcerate your political opponent right before a presidential election.
At the heart of the federal prosecution of Trump is his state of mind and his “knowingly false” comments about election fraud. But even if Trump’s statements were untrue, they are protected speech under the First Amendment and precedents set by the Supreme Court. And is it really so hard to imagine that Trump, America’s most famous megalomaniac, actually believed he had won? Of course, it isn’t.
Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents also appears to be a difference in degree, not kind, from Biden’s own mishandling of classified documents. The Democrats’ oft-stated distinction between the two is that Biden cooperated with investigators and Trump didn’t. That may be the case. But is the difference really enough to merit prosecution of Trump over Biden? Or could the different behaviors simply just reflect Trump’s belief that he was right and the federal investigators wrong?
As president, Trump could have simply declassified the documents in his possession. He didn’t, so his conduct was illegal, but only on something approaching a technicality. By contrast, former CIA director and retired general David Petraeus engaged in a serious crime and put national security at risk when he leaked highly classified documents to his lover and biographer — documents that included the identities of undercover officers, intelligence capabilities, and war-fighting strategies. A judge gave Petraeus a token fine and probation, and nobody pursued it further.
Not to worry, say Democrats, because our judicial system and Trump’s federal judge are fair. During the first hearing for the case, Judge Tanya Chutkan affirmed that “Trump, like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech.” Chutkan said she did not want her protective order against Trump’s public communications “to be overinclusive.”
And yet just seconds after acknowledging Trump’s First Amendment rights, Chutkan announced that she would be taking them away. “The fact that he’s running a political campaign has to yield to the orderly administration of justice,” she said. “If that means he can’t say exactly what he wants to say about witnesses in this case, that’s how it has to be.”
The claim by some Democrats that Trump must be prosecuted because nobody is above the law is belied by the reality that Democrats have spent the last 20 years demanding fewer prosecutions of a wide assortment of crimes, including violent assaults, and Democratic District Attorneys of New York, Oakland, and San Francisco have indeed pursued fewer of them. As anyone who understands the legal system knows, the vast majority of crimes aren’t even prosecuted.
For politicians who live in glass houses, Democrats are throwing a lot of stones. We have gone from Democrats claiming Biden never spoke to his son about business to Democrats claiming the president never accepted money directly but did indeed participate in business calls and business dinners with his son’s clients. Democrats assure us that they only talked about non-business things, but all of these clients depended on some influence or action from the president.
And, as far as laws and norms go, it’s notable that Merrick Garland, Biden’s Attorney General, last week violated the law by appointing David Weiss as Special Counsel to investigate Hunter Biden. The law requires that Special Counsels come from outside of government; Weiss worked in the Justice Department.
It’s hard not to see this ending with the continuing degradation, if not ultimate destruction, of our liberal democratic system and the norms upon which it depends. Already, some are calling for retribution. “I hesitate to suggest escalating,” wrote New York Post columnist Miranda Devine yesterday. “But surely it’s appropriate for prosecutors in red states to start filing RICO charges against Joe Biden in any valid jurisdiction.”
While Trump no doubt deserves much of the blame for this situation, liberal Democrats are making it worse through their prosecution of Trump. Their actions verge dangerously close to criminalizing political opposition and threaten to shatter the legitimacy of our democratic institutions. And anyone who pays attention to the polls knows that, with every new prosecution of Trump, the likelihood of him winning the nomination grows.
All of which raises the question: if prosecuting Trump pushes America closer to losing our liberal democratic system of government, why are liberals and Democrats pursuing it? And what can people who still believe in liberal democracy do to save it?