Democrats’ Assault on ‘Our Democracy’

At least as far back as the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017 and the “Women’s March” that followed the next day, Democrats and left-wing activists have invariably complained about the imminent perils threatening “our democracy.” Time and again, Democrats have depicted virtually any action they do not approve of — from uncouth Trump tweets to state-level GOP-led election integrity initiatives to standard originalist Supreme Court picks — as ushering in proto-authoritarianism or “democratic backsliding,” to use the corporate media’s favorite term of art.

Taken at their word, Democrats and left-wing activists’ stipulated concerns about “our democracy,” which proliferated in particular after the Jan. 6, 2021, jamboree at the U.S. Capitol, would suggest a heightened concern with popular sovereignty and self-determination, and an acute opposition to consolidated governmental or corporate power. But Democrats and left-wing activists should not be taken at their word. Their actions tell a completely different story: For all their sanctimonious preening about the modern Republican Party’s purported threat to “our democracy,” prominent Democrats and left-wing activists have themselves led their own tremendous assault against American democracy.

Consider the U.S. Supreme Court, which the Constitution’s Framers intended as an anchor of “our democracy” insofar as it protects certain structural safeguards and individual rights against the excesses of majoritarianism run amok. In September 2018, Senate Democrats discarded millennia of “innocent until proven guilty” civilizational norms with their vicious, unhinged and unprecedented character attack on then-Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. That weekslong Democratic disinformation campaign, meant to mark a soon-to-be Supreme Court justice with a permanent scarlet letter as a “rapist,” culminated with grassroots progressives quite literally banging on the door as Kavanaugh took his ultimate oath of office inside. How “democracy”-enforcing.

In March 2020, then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stood on the steps of the Supreme Court to openly threaten Trump’s first two Court picks if they did not rule correctly in a forthcoming abortion decision. Schumer intoned: “I want to tell you (Justice Neil) Gorsuch. I want to tell you (Justice Brett) Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” That outburst triggered a rare public rebuke from the typically mild-mannered Chief Justice John Roberts: “Threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.” Later that same year, Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the high court elicited nonstop hysterical comparisons of — and risible public demonstrations about — the “Handmaid’s Tale” dystopia that would come if Barrett’s nomination succeeded.

On May 2, 2022, in an unfathomable and unprecedented breach of democratic norms, a draft of the forthcoming abortion decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked to Politico. Curiously, the leaker has never been “found,” or at least publicly identified, but the evidence and basic incentive structure overwhelmingly point to a clerk for a liberal justice or perhaps even one of the liberal justices him/herself. Following the leak — in an action the leaker surely could have reasonably anticipated, and perhaps even desired — a deranged pro-abortion California leftist named Nicholas Roske flew to the nation’s capital with a plan to assassinate Justice Kavanaugh. Roske thankfully aborted his scheme at the last minute.

While Roske was the only confirmed assassination attempt of that stressful post-Dobbs leak/pre-Dobbs decision period, countless other leftists protested outside the right-leaning justices’ private homes in Virginia and Maryland and attempted to intimidate them to change their votes in Dobbs, in flagrant violation of 18 U.S. Code Section 1507. To the surprise of no one, Attorney General Merrick Garland never brought any charges.

More recently, in the aftermath of the just-completed Supreme Court term, many notable Democrats have resuscitated the threat of court-packing, which had momentarily died down following the ambiguous conclusions and recommendations of President Joe Biden’s “Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States,” which disbanded on Dec. 8, 2021. (It is curious that Democrats have chosen to do this now, even as this term had fewer 6-3 “ideological” splits than the prior term and even as the two justices who found themselves in the Court majority least frequently this term were the two most consistent conservatives, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas).

There are few threats as vehemently anti-“democratic” as that of packing the Supreme Court. As even the Democrat-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee concluded in its bone-chilling 1937 report issued after Democratic presidential icon FDR’s own court-packing proposal: “Let us of the Seventy-fifth Congress, in words that will never be disregarded by any succeeding Congress, declare that we would rather have an independent Court, a fearless Court, a Court that will dare to announce its honest opinions in what it believes to be the defense of the liberties of the people, than a Court that, out of fear or sense of obligation to the appointing power, or factional passion, approves any measure we may enact. We are not the judges of the judges. We are not above the Constitution.”

Consider also the extraordinary preliminary injunction granted last week by Judge Terry Doughty in the case of Missouri v. Biden, which pertains to what this column has previously referred to as the Biden Regime’s intentional “collapse” of the “‘public’-‘private’ distinction.” In a whirlwind 155-page ruling, Judge Doughty validated the plaintiffs’ complaints that the Biden administration eroded the First Amendment by dictating that social media companies censor specific users, accounts and posts to tamp down on COVID-19 “disinformation” and “misinformation.” In Doughty’s own words, that should terrify anyone even remotely concerned about the actual state of American democracy: “The United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.'” Yikes.

But the Biden Regime disagrees. Indeed, the administration has already appealed the grant of the preliminary injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. We should not mince words here: The Biden Department of Justice is appealing to the Fifth Circuit for the “right” to jawbone putatively “private” companies into censoring disfavored online speech when it comes to certain sensitive subjects that implicate Regime priorities. That is simply astonishing. So much for “our democracy”; the Left would prefer that the “public” and “private” merge together to squash all who dare to dissent from Regime orthodoxy. In political science 101 class, most freshmen learn that this is a trademark trait not of “democracy,” but of “fascism.”

In reality, the Left’s crocodile tears about the fate of “our democracy” can be easily explained by the fact that when Democrats and left-wing activists speak of “democracy,” they really mean “progressivism.” It is quite a sleight of hand. The victim of that sleight of hand, unfortunately and ironically, is actual American democracy itself.

To find out more about Josh Hammer and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM

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About Josh Hammer

Josh Hammer is senior editor-at-large of Newsweek. A popular conservative commentator, he is a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation and a syndicated columnist through Creators. A frequent pundit and essayist on political, legal, and cultural issues, Hammer is a constitutional attorney by training. He is a former John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute and a campus speaker through Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Young America’s Foundation, and the Federalist Society.