by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For starters, public opinion polling suggests that the argument that a vote for Republicans is a vote to undermine democracy has a basic flaw in logic. As American children are taught in school, the United States isn’t a pure democracy. We don’t take polls or conduct referendums on every public policy issue and – wham! pass a new law. The U.S. is a republic. We vote for officeholders from city council up to president, presumably because we share an ideology, but also because we trust their judgment to handle public policy issues that arise.
That said, we do expect elected officials to be responsive to the citizens’ priorities. Democrats have said, correctly, that public opinion polling shows broad support for their pro-choice position on abortion, albeit with some caveats. But Republicans have pointed out that pluralities or majorities of voters want the government to try to curb inflation, crack down on violent crime, secure America’s borders, and rein in the excesses of “woke” culture.
But if Democrats gaslight the majority, saying, in effect, “You’ve imagined all those problems,” which political party is really undermining elective democracy? Aren’t politicians supposed to respond to the concerns of the people? And how much hubris does it take to assert that in the name of “saving democracy,” America should become a one-party state, something it has never been?
The second flaw in their line of attack is that Democrats have engaged in the same destructive behaviors they decry as a threat to democracy when Republicans do it.
It was California Democrats in Sacramento and Washington who elevated the dark art of the political gerrymander to high science. It was Senate Democrats, including Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden, who first weaponized the Supreme Court nominating process. It was Democrats as prominent as Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden who led the way in election denial, not just regarding Donald Trump, but George W. Bush as well. And Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is still doing it.