November 21, 2020 11:16:21 PM
Have we given up on democracy?
A meme that has floated around in political science circles for many years goes like this: "If a conservative loses in a democracy, he will not give up conservatism, he will give up democracy." I had thought that this was just a witticism among academics from the notoriously left-wing universities. But now come the post-election assaults. First, the avalanche of lawsuits arguing with no evidence that there was voter fraud. Then, lawsuits arguing that the forms of the elections were not followed punctiliously. Now, the legal avenues seemingly frustrated (courts do like evidence), State officials are being pressured to ignore the vote and certify electors for President Trump.
In Michigan, the Republicans enjoy a majority in both the state Senate and House. The president has invited Michigan's congressional leaders and the two Republicans on the canvassing board (who will certify the election) to the White House. They are going. What will they discuss with the author of The Art of the Deal?
In Georgia and Pennsylvania, both with Republican state legislatures, the White House has made similar demands, but so far there has been no invitations to the presidential mansion.
President Trump has laid the groundwork for all this. For a year he has been claiming that there would be voter fraud, saying that if he lost, it would have to be via a "stolen election." He made this claim in a bewildering variety of ways, and made it incessantly. Never with a shred of evidence. But tyrannies toppling democracies (the Third Reich come to mind) have shown that evidence does not matter, only loud repetition. Say it loud enough and long enough, however absurd, and people will come to believe it. People have come to believe it. In the face of evidence, usually from Republican officials, that the election results are correct, without errors or fraud, a vast crowd of people still believe the election was stolen. One of the two Republicans on the Michigan Canvassing Board has said that he has to be convinced that what the president has been saying is wrong and that there needs to be an audit, and this in the face of compelling evidence that the election in Michigan was fair and above-board. This is one of the men about to visit the White House.
If the efforts to suborn party officials in the states fail, what will he try next? He still has the power to declare a state of emergency. He can use the Insurrection Act of 1807. He has the power to declare martial law. He has the power to start a war!
President Trump had indeed given up democracy. The important question is, have we?
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