News Opinions/Publications Amer­i­ca’s Elites — Not Trump — Are Respon­si­ble for Under­min­ing Amer­i­can Democracy

Amer­i­ca’s Elites — Not Trump — Are Respon­si­ble for Under­min­ing Amer­i­can Democracy

It is an over­played cliché to refer to the insan­i­ty of the cur­rent year. Still, 2020 man­ages to sur­prise. It is increas­ing­ly look­ing like 2020 has cre­at­ed the great­est chal­lenge to demo­c­ra­t­ic legit­i­ma­cy in the past century.

Today was a tru­ly remark­able day in Amer­i­can history.

The offi­cial legal team for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump — led by Rudy Giu­liani, Sid­ney Pow­ell, and Jen­na Ellis — out­lined an argu­ment that America’s elec­tions were hijacked by a con­spir­a­cy involv­ing Domin­ion vot­ing sys­tems, the Smart­mat­ic cor­po­ra­tion, and elect­ed offi­cials of both par­ties. The team claimed that these actors col­lab­o­rat­ed with for­eign ene­mies of the pres­i­dent to ensure he lost the 2020 elec­tion, active­ly inflat­ing the vote totals for Joe Biden. The evi­dence, they say, will include hun­dreds of sworn affi­davits and oth­er doc­u­ments that will val­i­date their accu­sa­tions. They also implied that the Depart­ment of Jus­tice is either active­ly involved in this plot or serv­ing to pro­tect those involved.

The press con­fer­ence was heavy in bold and strik­ing claims, but so far the legal team has not pro­vid­ed enough doc­u­men­ta­tion to ade­quate­ly vet the claims made. It is cer­tain­ly true that ques­tions exist­ed about some of these vot­ing sys­tems pri­or to the elec­tion and that the offi­cial results include all sorts of unprece­dent­ed vot­ing trends that have sparked ques­tions about their sta­tis­ti­cal like­li­hood. Unlike­ly out­comes are not, how­ev­er, impos­si­ble out­comes, and there are no accu­sa­tions that any vot­ing machines were ille­gal­ly used with­out going through the legal­ly required cer­ti­fi­ca­tion processes.

Any seri­ous legal chal­lenge by Trump’s cam­paign team will require sig­nif­i­cant evi­dence that they have yet to make avail­able. Of course, if the claims are accu­rate, the case involves a crime that may be beyond the capa­bil­i­ties of America’s judi­cial system.

What the Trump cam­paign can legal­ly prove, how­ev­er, is almost a sec­ondary issue at this point.

Today’s press con­fer­ence has entrenched the cur­rent Amer­i­can pres­i­dent in the posi­tion that his anoint­ed suc­ces­sor is ille­git­i­mate and that he is the one who holds a demo­c­ra­t­ic man­date to govern.

Amer­i­ca has had con­tro­ver­sial elec­toral out­comes before, such as the elec­tions of 2000 and 1876, which end­ed up being decid­ed by par­ty lead­ers in a smoke-filled back­room (Repub­li­can Ruther­ford Hayes was giv­en the pres­i­den­cy over Samuel Tilden in exchange for the repeal of Recon­struc­tion­ist-era laws in the South­ern states).

There are sev­er­al key dif­fer­ences between these instances and the cur­rent polit­i­cal tur­moil: you now have a pop­ulist sit­ting pres­i­dent, active­ly despised by the cor­po­rate press, who is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly dis­liked by the estab­lish­ment of his own par­ty and pas­sion­ate­ly beloved by his base.

As I not­ed in an arti­cle a few days after the election:

regard­less of the legal out­come, Amer­i­ca is about to find itself with a pres­i­dent that will be viewed as ille­git­i­mate by a large por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion — and per­haps even the major­i­ty of some states. There is no insti­tu­tion left that has the cred­i­bil­i­ty to push back against the gut feel­ing of mil­lions of peo­ple who have spent the last few months orga­niz­ing car parades and Trump­til­las that their democ­ra­cy has been hijacked by a polit­i­cal par­ty that despis­es them.

The response we will receive from the cor­po­rate press, Very Seri­ous pun­dits, and the var­i­ous talk­ing heads rep­re­sent­ing all the insti­tu­tions that Trump has repeat­ed­ly mocked and belit­tled is obvi­ous. Trump’s legal team is being dis­missed as a bunch of par­ti­san, syco­phan­tic cranks spin­ning base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. Don­ald Trump is being por­trayed as a spoiled, enti­tled man-child who would rather take down Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy than admit he lost. His sup­port­ers will be dis­missed and mocked as, at best, dumb suck­ers or, at worst, poten­tial­ly vio­lent right-wing extremists.

The prob­lem is that, regard­less of one’s opin­ion of Don­ald Trump or the spe­cif­ic claims made by his legal team, America’s elite and those in pow­er have no cred­i­bil­i­ty of their own.

For almost four years, the cor­po­rate press has propped up var­i­ous false sto­ries about the pres­i­dent while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly prop­ping up his polit­i­cal ene­mies and active­ly ignor­ing sto­ries about the mis­con­duct of Joe Biden’s son and poten­tial con­flicts of inter­est regard­ing the for­mer vice pres­i­dent. The con­cert­ed effort to ask seri­ous ques­tions even forced jour­nal­ists like Glenn Green­wald to ditch a media com­pa­ny he helped found.

At the same time, pro­gres­sive­ly aligned Big Tech com­pa­nies (many of which are staffed by for­mer mem­bers of Kamala Harris’s polit­i­cal offices) have been tak­ing an increas­ing­ly aggres­sive role in cen­sor­ing and edi­to­ri­al­iz­ing Pres­i­dent Trump and his sup­port­ers. Their claims that they have an eth­i­cal oblig­a­tion to com­bat “mis­in­for­ma­tion” in the name of “democ­ra­cy” are under­mined by their will­ing­ness to active­ly assist the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty in cen­sor­ing dis­si­dents.

Mean­while, the pro­fes­sion­al polit­i­cal class in this coun­try, laud­ed as “experts” by the bad actors men­tioned above, has long mocked the notion of demo­c­ra­t­ic over­sight. An explic­it exam­ple was offered just recent­ly when Jim Jef­frey, a US envoy to Syr­ia, glee­ful­ly dis­closed to DefenseOne that Amer­i­can mil­i­tary lead­ers suc­cess­ful­ly main­tained a larg­er mil­i­tary pres­ence in the coun­try than Pres­i­dent Trump had ordered. The pow­er of America’s pro­fes­sion­al bureau­cra­cy goes beyond mil­i­tary mat­ters, how­ev­er, and the hope of much of America’s elite is that US pol­i­cy will be increas­ing­ly influ­enced by their col­leagues at the UN and oth­er glob­al­ist insti­tu­tions. Be it the Paris Accord or the Great Reset, many Amer­i­can pro­gres­sives increas­ing­ly view very seri­ous pol­i­cy mat­ters as issues too impor­tant to be entrust­ed to Amer­i­can voters.

Fur­ther still, America’s polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment has become so polar­ized and hos­tile that you have many elect­ed offi­cials in posi­tions of influ­ence who open­ly despise large swaths of the Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion. For exam­ple, Arizona’s sec­re­tary of state — the woman in charge of elec­tion integri­ty in the state — described Trump’s base as “neo-Nazis” in 2017. Giv­en her pub­lic state­ments, why would any Trump sup­port­ers have any faith in a gov­ern­ing body she influ­ences to count votes? Mean­while, the sec­re­tary of state in Michi­gan was a for­mer employ­ee of the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, a left-wing hate group.

It would, of course, be wrong to sug­gest that the elites of the Amer­i­can left are alone in their hatred of their polit­i­cal ene­mies. While the Left has tend­ed to be more vio­lent in recent years, there are many Repub­li­can vot­ers who con­sid­er the polit­i­cal left immoral, un-Amer­i­can, and a threat to their fam­i­lies. The dif­fer­ence is that, out­side of a few levers of fed­er­al pow­er held by the Repub­li­can Par­ty, the Amer­i­can right does not have near­ly the same insti­tu­tion­al sup­port that the Left does currently.

It appears that 2020 may be the year that final­ly proves that the façade of democ­ra­cy is not enough to main­tain a uni­fied polit­i­cal body. The elec­tion process does not inevitably lead to com­pro­mise and tol­er­ance, but rather ends in those in pow­er and those who are polit­i­cal­ly van­quished. When the losers of elec­tions do not view their loss as a gen­uine reflec­tion of demo­c­ra­t­ic will, but rather an ille­git­i­mate coup, it is dif­fi­cult to main­tain gov­er­nance over a pop­u­la­tion. Joe Biden appoint­ing John Kasich – type Repub­li­cans will do lit­tle to soothe and reas­sure those who view a Biden pres­i­den­cy as lit­tle dif­fer­ent than an occu­pa­tion­al force.

This is why Lud­wig von Mis­es viewed polit­i­cal decen­tral­iza­tion and seces­sion as a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy. The prop­er objec­tive of the demo­c­ra­t­ic process was the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er reflect­ing changes in the polit­i­cal will—polit­i­cal self-deter­mi­na­tion—rather than some form of civ­il wor­ship of the will of the major­i­ty. When polit­i­cal dif­fer­ences become irrec­on­cil­able, true polit­i­cal decen­tral­iza­tion allows for the break­ing of polit­i­cal unions.

Will that end up being the ulti­mate result of the posi­tion of Trump’s legal team? Who knows. Trump and a few lawyers will cer­tain­ly not be enough to over­turn the offi­cial results or to suc­cess­ful­ly spur a Trump seces­sion move­ment. What will be inter­est­ing is how the insti­tu­tion of the Repub­li­can Par­ty will respond to the esca­lat­ing rhetoric of the president.

Under Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, the Repub­li­can Par­ty remained civ­il and sub­mis­sive while its Tea Par­ty base dis­cussed ideas like nul­li­fi­ca­tion and a con­ven­tion of states. The steril­i­ty of the tra­di­tion­al GOP is like­ly a major rea­son why Don­ald Trump was able to take over the par­ty. How much of the mod­ern GOP will con­tin­ue to fol­low the forty-fifth pres­i­dent, and how many will end up being per­fect­ly con­tent with being part­ners with Joe Biden?

What we can be sure of is that it will be much hard­er for Biden to win over many of the 70+ mil­lion Amer­i­cans who vot­ed for Don­ald Trump ear­li­er this month.

Source: mis​es​.org