Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is now an enemy of democracy. The moderate Democrat earned this dubious title after he announced he would not support his party’s radical “voter rights” bill. The “For the People Act” would place state and local elections under the effective control of liberal bureaucrats, draw districts according to the dictates of said liberal bureaucrats, ban voter ID, expand mail-in voting, make it easier to ballot harvest, allow violent felons to vote, and much more. Legal scholar Walter Olson found at least seven provisions in the bill that violate the Constitution.
Manchin decided the bill would be a massive disservice to American democracy. “Voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen,” he wrote in an op-ed published last weekend. He also reiterated his opposition to eliminating the filibuster.
For holding these positions, he was branded a threat to democracy by his fellow Democrats and liberal commentators.
“We can’t stand by and accept that Manchin, along with nearly every Republican, is going to hold hostage the legislation our country needs to address the big crises we face. Our democracy is falling apart—we can’t just let that happen,” Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) wrote in a CNN op-ed.
“[Manchin] should not want to be known as the senator who blocked voting rights and undermined American democracy,” said Representative Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.).
“The GOP is fighting to preserve white power in America. Joe Manchin just joined their side,” tweeted radio host Thom Hartmann.
“Democracy is going to die for Joe Manchin and [Kyrsten] Sinema’s ego and greed. Whiteness will remain undefeated,” tweeted Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali.
Even supposedly objective news reporters challenged Manchin for his “anti-democratic” stance. CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted: “Joe Manchin had little interest in speaking to reporters, speeding into the chamber during votes. I asked him about the criticism from progressives that he’s subverting democracy over his position on voting rights. ‘They’re all my friends,’ he told me as he went to floor.” Raju, an allegedly objective news reporter, has also grilled Manchin about why he won’t kill the filibuster. So have many other journalists who’ve interviewed the senator.
Conservative election reforms apparently will mean the end of voting, according to liberals. Georgia incurred the wrath of the national news media, sports leagues, and corporations when it merely strengthened voter ID rules and requirements for mail-in voting. President Biden famously described it as “Jim Crow on steroids.” Texas and other states are considering similar measures, which draw cries that this signals the “end of democracy.”
Another threat to democracy is free speech. Yes, allowing people in a democracy to share their views regardless of whether those views offend people in power is a major danger.
The New York Times published a lengthy essay before the 2020 election calling for a reassessment of free speech. The essay’s author, Emily Bazelon, argued that unrestricted free speech—with all its hate speech, “troll armies,” and “Russian disinformation”—is bad for democracy. She suggested lawmakers do things, such as demand tech censorship, to protect our sacred system from the danger of free expression. Even the American Civil Liberties Union now argues free speech is bad for their kind of democracy. The national organization has demoted its importance in favor of “racial justice” and some of its chapters openly support restrictions on free speech. This from a group that made its name defending the First Amendment.
Even personal opinions pose a threat to democracy. Judges have cited the beliefs of January 6 protesters to deny them bail. These officers of the court argue that “our democracy” can’t risk these “extremist” views getting out of a jail cell.
This same argument is also used against the mere existence of our former president, Donald Trump. He’s no longer in the White House and he can’t post on any major social media platform, but—trust the experts—Trump is about to destroy our government any minute now. “With its cultish devotion to Donald Trump, the majority of the Republican Party is choosing a wannabe-autocrat over the political system that made the United States the world’s most powerful nation and its dominant democracy,” declared an “objective” CNN article in May.
Along with our basic liberties and our former president, the filibuster also poses a threat to democracy because it gets in the way of liberal prerogatives.
Many of the ideas to “preserve democracy” sound frankly, well, un-democratic. Hate speech laws, indefinite imprisonment for political dissidents, nationally-run elections, and the elimination of basic parliamentary procedures would make the founders roll over in their graves. None of this actually saves “democracy”—it’s all a ploy to gain more power for liberal elites.
Politicians have used hyperbolic rhetoric since the beginning of time. What makes it different now is the nature of the Democrat-media complex. This line becomes the official word in every mainstream publication and outlet. The average American who only keeps up on the news through his local paper or a few minutes of CNN will be led to believe Republicans are plotting a fascist takeover with voter ID laws and boomer memes. That person may believe it, if the supposed experts tell him to do so. This line being pushed is different from the hyperbolic rhetoric of backbenchers in the past. It’s pushed by the state and its media organs. It’s what “good” citizens are told they must believe or they will be made to fear retribution and ostracization.
The irony of all these fears of democracy is that the party making these complaints is in total control of our government. Trump is no longer president and there isn’t a secret right-wing cabal in command of the military and intelligence community. (Liberals control those institutions, too.) It’s the party in power pretending to be the victim to gain even more power. The real threat to our democracy comes from those who howl the most about it.