[Editor’s note: Make sure to read Daniel Greenfield’s masterpiece contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Since 2016, the Democrats defined their primary political purpose not around agenda items like abortion rights, fighting racism, unlimited immigration or gay marriage, but saving democracy.
Who did democracy have to be defended from? Republicans.
Previous incarnations of the Democrats had made their case that Republicans were too extremist, too beholden to wealthy special interests or too bigoted to be trusted with power. In its latest incarnation, the case has been boiled down to the simple premise that the survival of the country requires stopping Republicans from taking office by any means necessary.
Investigations, indictments, lawsuits and election rigging are just ways to defend democracy.
The central issue is no longer any individual point of disagreement on taxes, abortion or anything else: it’s the total illegitimacy of Republicans and the threat that they represent.
Obama was the last Dem presidential candidate to have campaigned on something other than defending democracy from Republicans, but he was the one who ushered it in with Russiagate. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, both times, campaigned on the extreme threat that Republicans pose to democracy. The serial investigations and indictments of Trump that have stretched on for over seven years represent the fundamental transformation of our system of elections.
Within less than a decade the intelligence community, domestic law enforcement, prosecutors, lawyers and nonprofits had been mobilized in a massive scheme to sue, investigate, and prosecute their political opponents. The Trump investigations and prosecutions form the most obvious examples, but not the only ones, of this new identity of defending democracy.
And in the process democracy has ceased to be something that happens at the ballot box, but now involves the national security state, the judiciary and experts who will determine if actual democracy is taking place or a vast conspiracy that must be stopped with eavesdropping, FBI raids, covert investigations and mass internet censorship similar to that of China.
Elections are now accompanied by dirty tricks campaigns that don’t just involve campaign operatives like the Fusion GPS gang behind the Steele dossier at the beating heart of Russiagate, but intelligence agencies, the FBI, and federal and local prosecutors. Describing such activities as mere abuses of power misses the point. This is not JFK dispatching RFK to go after his political enemies: it’s a political movement whose core argument is that its political opponents are subversives, criminals and threats to national security who must be locked up.
Russiagate was initially performed in secret, but the investigations and indictments since, from Mueller to Jack Smith, have taken place in broad daylight. The public spectacle is a core part of the political argument. The endless show trials are not just a tactic, they’re a political identity.
Democrats have become the party that protects democracy by locking up their opponents. Trending hashtag movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have come and gone while the only consistent movement to endure has been the rise of a political police state. Unprofitable media outlets like CNN and the Washington Post have boomed from the investigations. books have been published in mass quantities and political personalities have been born out of it.
Identity politics still thrives but it is a cultural organizing principle, not a political one.
By branding as the defenders of democracy, Democrats avoid having to define what they truly stand for. In the identity politics era, Democrats ran not for putting pornographic books in school or burning down entire neighborhoods in violent race riots, but against “intolerance”. Now they do not run to federalize elections and end any political dissent, but to protect democracy from Republicans.
And who will defend democracy from the defenders of democracy?
Defending democracy is the deeply undemocratic idea that there is something undemocratic about the way that elections are practiced today. Democrats claim that they want more people involved in the political process when what they really want is to get the wrong ones out of it. That’s why there have been all the investigations of Trump, the censorship of social media and the rise of political gatekeeping. The trouble with democracy is that sometimes the wrong people win. The purpose of defending democracy is to make sure that can never happen.
The defenders of democracy are actually defending oligarchy from democracy. They define democracy as principles and values rather than free, fair and open elections. Given a chance, they uphold the principles of democracy, which invariably happen to consist of their own principles, by rigging elections and suppressing political debate and free and fair elections.
When democracy is defined, as it is in California and Washington D.C., among many other hyper-leftist places, as the absence of Republicans holding elected office, then eliminating the opposition and seizing total power becomes the new exciting form of democracy. Much as in the USSR, Cuba or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the less meaningful choices people have, the more democratic the elections are. Real democracy is a process while the defenders of democracy are after a preferred outcome which is the opposite of actual democracy.
To make the end of democracy seem like the epitome of democracy, leftists concoct a political threat, real or imagined, that threatens democracy. By making Trump or any Republican seem like a threat to democracy, they make the presence of democracy into a threat to democracy. And eliminating democracy becomes the only way to save democracy from democracy.
Ever since the defenders got started, elections are less trusted and less secure than ever. Political instability has increased leading to a downgrade and every organization, government, corporate and nonprofit, that had gotten involved in defending democracy, from the FBI to Facebook, has been tainted. Defenders of democracy argue that a crisis of trust means that they are needed more than ever to end the mistrust by silencing the mistrustful.
This cycle is not a democratic bug, it’s a totalitarian feature. The defenders of democracy are breaking the system, the culture and the marketplace of ideas to eliminate any alternatives.
The Democrats have rebranded their party identity as a primal struggle to end any political choices beyond, as in most urban areas, a choice between two flavors of lefties.
The party of democracy has become the anti-democratic party.