Is America still a democratic republic?

13 December 2020

6:49 AM

13 December 2020

6:49 AM

‘Disappointed but not surprised.’ I suppose that describes my initial feeling about the summary dismissal by the Supreme Court last night of the ‘audacious’ (the New York Times) lawsuit brought by the state of Texas against Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan on December 8. In essence, Texas argued that those four states had trespassed on the civil rights of citizens by favoring some voters over others in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The amusing and perspicacious commentator known as Ace of Spades added a bit of hot sauce in his response to the news of the Court’s ruling. ‘The ultimate Friday Night News Dump,’ he wrote. “The Constitution is repealed; America is no longer a democratic republic.’

It saddens me to say that I believe he may be right about what economists call macro trends across the fruited plain. When Ben Franklin, emerging from the Constitutional Convention 1787, was asked what sort of government he and his colleagues and forged, he famously said ‘A republic, madam, if you can keep it.’

Among the many reasons that it is difficult to keep a democratic republic going is the constant pressure to transform one party into the party of the regime. This indeed was the primary reason that the Founders were suspicious of political parties. They worried that parties lead to what they called ‘faction’ and faction was a standing invitation to corruption. It works like this. A portion of the voting populace is in effect coopted by politicians who promise, and deliver, favors in exchange for votes, which fosters a cozy, if moist and warm, culture of corruption. You scratch my back and I bequeath you the legislative apparatus of the state, till bankruptcy do we part, and maybe not then. This is the origin of the Swamp.

Still, I am not sure Ace is right to lay the disintegration — which is real — at the doorstep of the Supreme Court. The Court did not opine on the merits of the argument that Texas made about voter fraud. It said that Texas was not in a position to bring the suit against other states. In short, it denied the suit ‘for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution’. Texas, the Court said, ‘has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections’. There is something to that. As Andrew McCarthy explains, just as you wouldn’t want California imposing its views about how to run elections on Texas or South Dakota, so, too, you don’t want Texas mucking about with the electoral rules of Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. In this sense, the suit was as much theater as it was litigation, or, as one left-of-center law professor put it, it was a ‘press release masquerading as a lawsuit’.

There is, however, this to consider. The ‘conservative’ states endeavor to make elections fair by taking steps to identify legal voters and ensure that the votes that are tallied are legitimate. The ‘progressive’ states endeavor to achieve their desired electoral result by ballot harvesting, softening voter ID rules, and generally looking the other way so long as the right (meaning the left) lever is pulled. I am not sure how an umpire should act when one side tries to play by the rules while the other tries to subvert the rules. What, then, is fair?

But back to the SCOTUS decision. It’s not the end of the world for Donald Trump’s legal team. It is merely December 7. All the suits his team and their supporters had going on then didn’t stop when Texas filed its novel suit on Tuesday. They’re going on still.

There is this difference, though. December 7 on December 7 is one thing. December 7 on the evening of December 11 is something else. Why? A couple of reasons. December 8 was the ‘safe harbor’ day, the day on which all challenges to the elections were to have been settled. And December 14, Monday, is the day that the electors gather can cast their votes. Those votes will be certified on January 6 before a joint session of Congress. The point is that time passes, the clock is ticking. Earlier today, President Trump tweeted ‘WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!’ I admire the spirit. I wonder about its efficacy.

This brings me back to the observation of Ace about the fate of the Constitution and the democratic republic bequeathed to us by the Founders. You don’t need Isaac Newton to tell you what a powerful force inertia is. The powers that be, which is to say the power that is the media industrial complex underwritten by the state power of the established bureaucracy, has ordained that Joe Biden won the 2020 election. ‘The people have spoken.’ We see that bruited about.

The trouble is, some of them may spoke twice or a dozen times, and many who are said to have spoken were perhaps not authorized to do so. For reasons that I have rehearsed repeatedly, I believe that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. The rigging was successful. Because of it, Joe Biden appeared to have received more votes than Donald Trump. Those extra Biden votes, I believe, are illegitimate. Maybe ‘irregularities’ (a nice six-syllable word for ‘fraudulent’) with the Dominion voting machines accounted for some of the Biden ballots. But most were from the tsunami of mail-in ballots, all 90 to 100 million of them. This was no squalid two-bit voter fraud. It was a planned campaign. Maybe China has a role. Eric Swalwell may have some insight about that. In any event, some geniuses understood that COVID was the perfect cover for voter fraud on an industrial scale. In a way, I admire the bravura that went into it. Having succeeded once, it will be imposed again and again. Ace will probably be proved right eventually, just a little precipitate.

This summer, when ‘peaceful protesters’ were burning down American cities, I compared the divisions in our country to the strife of the late 1960s and 1970s. I was too mild. A better comparison, I think, is America in about 1858 or even 1768. Which is why I am not prepared to accede to the Narrative and let bygones be bygones.

I am not sure what Donald Trump and his team do now. Their options are narrowing. But tens of millions of people believe that Biden-Harris are illegitimate. The scandals surrounding Hunter Biden are flaming up everywhere, as is the enveloping scandal of the media’s collusion to cover up this scandal, and Joe Biden’s large role in it, in a conspiracy of silence before the election.

I do not know what happens next. I do know that those who think that Joe Biden represents the return of ‘normality’ are about to be profoundly disabused. Maybe he will be inaugurated as forecast on January 20. Maybe. I suspect that 2020 has a few more tricks up its sleeve, not the least being its intrusion on the first several weeks of the new year.

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