DISCUSS: Is Democracy in the USA Being Threatened?

DISCUSS: Is Democracy in the USA Being Threatened? August 26, 2022

A theme we keep hearing, particularly from Democrats, is that democracy in America is being threatened, particularly by Republicans.  Do you think this is really true?

The threat supposedly comes from “election deniers,” those who believe that Joe Biden’s election over Donald Trump was rigged or fraudulent.  The brush is also being used to tar lawmakers in various states who are trying to bolster election security.

First of all, as Elle Reynolds shows, many of the very same Democrats who are the most indignant about the Republican threat to democracy themselves denied the validity of the 2016 election when Trump defeated Hilary Clinton!  While there are Trump supporters who believe he got cheated because of a sinister conspiracy, many of the very same people who ridicule that notion themselves believed in a sinister conspiracy in which the Russians put their agent Trump into office!

Now some on both sides will say, but the conspiracy I believe in really happened!  So let’s set that aside for now.  Are the “election deniers” on either side really trying to overthrow democracy?  They think, however wrong they might be, that the election was stolen.  That is, that the actual votes of the people were disregarded for whatever reason, whether because of manipulated voting machines, fake ballots, Russian operatives, or whatever.  If they believe that, however erroneously, they are against the usurpers of the people’s vote, and so they are pro-democracy!

This even applies to the January 6 rioters.  For all of the crimes they committed, insofar as they thought the election was fraudulent, they were not trying to carry out a coup or an insurrection seeking to overthrow the government.  They thought, however erroneously, that the other side had carried out a coup, taking over the government in defiance of the actual vote of the people.  That is, they believed they were defending democracy.

Now I do think there are threats to democracy.  There are people on both the right and the left who are criticizing “liberal democracy”–that is, freedom and democracy–and sounding dangerously authoritarian.  You can now join the United Monarchist Party of America.  Or support the “China model” of authoritarian socialist control plus economic growth.

But the threats to democracy are not to be found among the “people”–that would be a contradiction anyway–but among the elites who would like to control the people.

That’s my opinion.  But what do you think?

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