The recent decision of the Colorado Supreme Court to bar former President Trump from the ballot is just the latest example of antidemocratic election management masquerading as the defense of democracy.
It has become clear in recent years that the term democracy does not mean what it used to mean: namely, majority governance subject to the rule of law. Under this definition, all the warnings about Trump as a threat to democracy never made much sense. Elections are supposed to matter and change things. And he was elected.
The labeling of Trump as a threat to Our Democracy™ means something very different. This criticism focuses not on Trump’s alleged imperial manner of governance, but rather the substantive policies he has embraced.
Policies important to the managerial class—particularly in areas like foreign policy, immigration, and trade—were supposed to be off limits not merely from Trump, but from democratic control more generally. These were too important to be left to the people, whom elites considered easily misled by “foreign influence” and “populism.”
This is one reason why social media sites have been so thoroughly infiltrated by our intelligence agencies. And this is why so many of the political movements of the last few years—transexual surgeries for children, gay marriage, and now a blatant attempt to rig the 2024 election—originate in the high temples of the managerial class: the courts.
Military Occupation Government as Precedent
There is some precedent for a democracy limited by a class of overseers. In the wake of World War II, the allies imposed significant restrictions on occupied Japan and Germany to prevent the revival of aggressive nationalism. This included bans on the Nazi Party in Germany, disestablishment of the Shinto religion in Japan, renunciation of divinity by the Japanese emperor, and a variety of formal and informal taboos that constrained these nations’ emergent democratic politics.
These were each democracies of a sort, but they labored under significant limits that thwarted policies that might have otherwise obtained majority support. They were something new: “occupied democracies.”
Under the circumstances, such restrictions made a certain amount of sense. But precedents from military occupations of defeated enemies are not a good template for our peacetime domestic affairs.
The alarm over Trump is itself alarming. Trump’s politics were well within the American mainstream, liberal even, by the standards of 30 or 40 years ago. If he represented a partial vote of no confidence in the system in 2016, providing such feedback is one of the reasons we have elections. Even though he was elected fair and square—and is about to be again—he was deprived of the same deference, respect, and mandate as all of his predecessors because his enemies were convinced of the sacredness of their middlebrow liberal pieties.
For the ruling class, any outcome that goes against their bipartisan shibboleths—things like funding Ukraine, a strong NATO, and open borders—is anathema. Rather, they only like voting and elections in order to provide legitimacy to the system, buttressing the managerial and administrative power centers in government, which are largely unaccountable to voters.
The idea of a fragile democracy that must be “fortified” to achieve particular substantive outcomes is, in fact, the opposite of democracy. When democracy and elections are managed, someone must be doing the managing, and that someone must deem himself or themselves above majority control.
If the Managerial Class Hates Majority Rule, Why All the Paeans to Democracy?
There is a contradiction at the heart of the left’s view of Trump and democracy exemplified by the latest machinations of the Colorado Supreme Court. If democracy is so great, what does it say about majority rule that voters are so easily confused, led astray, or fooled by disinformation and their own prejudices? Why care about what such people want?
This is exactly why the managerial class has doubled down so extravagantly on its praise of democracy. They know democracy has inherent moral authority among Americans, but the ruling elite hates most Americans. So, even though—or rather especially because—the ruling elite wants the opposite of majority rule, they conflate their preferred political outcomes with democracy as a form of deceptive marketing. Our Democracy™ is an ideology of minority rule by the managerial class fraudulently invoking democracy to accrue unearned legitimacy.
This is all craven, dishonest, and not even terribly subtle. Far from a noble lie, it is an ignoble one.
The latest affront to actual democracy arises from the Colorado Supreme Court’s declaration that Trump must be removed from the ballot because he engaged in insurrection and is thus barred from office by the Fourteenth Amendment. The legal defects of this opinion are extensive, but they have already been covered elsewhere.
The opinion serves as evidence of the managerial class’s contempt for the American people. It forms a pattern along with intelligence agency misinformation campaigns, multiple dubious criminal prosecutions, two partisan impeachments, and an unending stream of hateful propaganda against Trump before, during, and after his service as President.
Furthermore, the substantive goals being protected from Trump are mostly objective evils, like allowing children to sterilize and castrate themselves, tearing down the monuments of our heroic ancestors, funding fratricidal European wars, and flooding our country with infinity third world immigrants until we no longer have a national identity.
They Want to Ban All ‘MAGA Americans’ From Voting
There is another more worrisome aspect to all this. Labeling protests an insurrection has been bouncing around since the January 6 protest of 2021. This is not a fluke.
The hunt for insurrection is now part of our common vocabulary and is a particular obsession of Washington D.C. and its enforcers. The designation of the rowdy protest as an insurrection formed the premise on which a lot of the more serious felony charges for January 6 rioters rested.
But consider the larger context. January 6 began as a protest of an election full of obvious and not-so-obvious fraud. A fraudulent election result is the opposite of democracy. Far from being enemies of democracy, the January 6 protesters were complaining about a stolen election. If the deeply unpopular Biden wins again through fraud or other electoral machinations, we can expect another and bigger protest.
When some inevitable violence occurs, this too will be called an insurrection and be used as a pretext to track down and harass the left’s domestic political opponents. I also expect the net will expand. In the eyes of the fanatics, even those who do not protest will be guilty of “supporting an insurrectionist” if they vote for Trump, and this will justify their disenfranchisement. Who can forget Biden’s hateful attack on “MAGA Republicans” in Philadelphia last year?
The fast movement of our politics into various “no go” zones in order to oppose Trump has been shocking. These include election interference by intelligence agencies, criminal prosecutions, civil judgments, the abuse of public health protocols, and now a completely obvious attempt to shut down the political opposition.
Just as keeping Trump off the ballot is an egregious attack on every principle of democracy, we can expect these lunatics to try to disenfranchise all of us soon enough under the rubric of thwarting insurrectionists. As with the actions directed at Trump, they’ll first label this authoritarian and undemocratic power grab an attempt to save Our Democracy™.
Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.