Opening the Door to the End of Democracy

How the grandstanding of Election Rejectionists opens the door to disaster

Wow, I wanted to avoid talking about the 2020 Presidential election, which is over and Biden won. But directly in front of us, we are watching probably the most outlandish abuse of an elected official’s commitment to honor the constitution that has ever occurred. Of course, President Trump has been doing that for years, but I am referring to the 150+ Election Rejectionists who are perpetuating the election fraud conspiracy theory and planning to object to the Electoral College vote on January 6th, 2021.

A stated by former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan:

“It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act.”

And from Utah Senator Mitt Romney:

"The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic."

Therein lies the problem.

An Existential Challenge

Sure, Trump Loyalists know they are not going to win this time. Despite all the gnashing of teeth from CNN and MSNBC, I doubt the primary goal of these Election Rejectionists is to damage democracy. But, they are trying to curry favor with Trump supporters at the expense of democracy.

What this means is that they are demonstrating how—by abandoning the principles and morality underlying democracya party who controls both the Senate and House could keep themselves in power forever. Apparently, all you need to do is cast a lot of doubt on the fairness of the election and then use your voting power to overturn any election to favor yourself.  Just think: What would happen on Wednesday if they controlled the House of Representatives? I suppose some of them would argue in private that they wouldn’t do it if they thought they were going to win. They will rationalize they are only doing something symbolic to respect their voters. But that’s pretty much the definition of hypocrisy, isn’t it?

Mitt Romney makes the following pithy observation:

"I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world…Has ambition so eclipsed principle?"

There are several interesting implications here:

  1. The ironic bit is that although the Republicans have opened the door and sown plenty of doubt about the election process, there is a good chance the Democrats could be the first to capitalize on the mess they have made. Likely, Democrats will soon control all three branches of government. With polls the way they are in Georgia, this might happen before the vote on the Electoral College count on Wednesday!

  2. Given #1, it would certainly not be surprising if Democrats are now so alarmed by these Trumpist attempts to disparage and overturn a fair election that they believe they have to take over first before Republicans turn the country into a dictatorship. Case in point, some Republicans justify their actions using a “tit-for-tat” defense that Democrats did it to them in 2016 by denying Trump’s legitimacy due to allegations of collusion with Russia. (But, hey, there were at least reasons to believe that, as shown in the Meuller report. There are no reasons to believe there was massive fraud in the 2020 Presidential election.)

  3. Apart from the threat to democracy, there appears to be a massive grift of Republican voters by their own representatives. These Election Rejectionists are able to perpetuate this scheme because a lot of people have been fed a lot of lies and misinformation about the election process. Making Republican voters fearful puts eyeballs on Fox News and Newsmax and dollars into campaigns like Trump’s and now Ted Cruz’s.

To be fair, some Republicans have shown an awareness of their responsibilities, such as Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who stated eloquently:

“I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and that is what I will do January 6.”  

Taking Action

My hope though is that the next administration and Congress will somehow block this avenue to usurping the will of the people. For the moment, President-elect Biden doesn’t look like he has designs on being a dictator and will instead be trying to bring people together and resolve some of this division.

Apart from that, we as voters need to influence the conversation. If we are going to have Positive Politics, where democracy works for the will of the people, we should be encouraging a public discourse that centers on facts and rational statements, not vague allegations and insinuations, not stories and narratives created by people who are trying to manipulate us into watching their news programs or vote for their candidate.  The focus of information sharing needs to be on a dialogue that elucidates, not baffles people with bull$hift.

Following the principles of positive politics, I offer these actions:

  1. Demand politicians make sense and act in the best interest of democracy first. This used to be a given, but now it’s not. So we have to adjust our priorities: Supporting democracy and aspiring to be truthful to the public must be of higher importance than the wedge issues. Politicians who don’t support democracy should be voted out for that action alone.

  2. Respectfully engage others. See this article.

  3. Make it a priority to vote out every one of the Election Rejectionists who are perpetuating this scam.

More later. As always, in the spirit of Positive Politics, please feel free to comment.