by Victor Davis Hanson
What is behind recent pessimistic appraisals of democracy’s future, from Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff, Brian Williams and other elite intellectuals, media personalities, and politicians on the Left? Some are warning about its possible erosion in 2024. Others predict the democracy downturn as early 2022, with scary scenarios of “autocracy” and Trump “coups.”
To answer that question, understand first what is not behind these shrill forecasts.
They are not worried about 2 million foreign nationals crashing the border in a single year, without vaccinations during a pandemic. Yet it seems insurrectionary for a government simply to nullify its own immigration laws.
They are not worried that some 800,000 foreign nationals, some residing illegally, will now vote in New York City elections.
They are not worried that there are formal efforts to dismantle the U.S. Constitution by junking the 233-year-old Electoral College or the preeminence of the states in establishing ballot laws in national elections.
They are not worried that we are witnessing an unprecedented left-wing effort to scrap the 180-year-old filibuster, the 150-year-old nine-person Supreme Court, and the 60-year tradition of 50 states, for naked political advantage.
They are not worried that the Senate this year put on trial an impeached ex-president and private citizen, without the chief justice in attendance, without a special prosecutor or witnesses, and without a formal commission report of presidential high crimes and misdemeanors.
They are not worried that the FBI, Justice Department, CIA, Hillary Clinton, and members of the Obama Administration systematically sought to use U.S. government agencies to sabotage a presidential campaign, transition, and presidency, via the use of a foreign national and ex-spy Christopher Steele and his coterie of discredited Russian sources.
They are not worried that the Pentagon suddenly has lost the majority support of the American people. Top current and retired officers have flagrantly violated the chain-of-command, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and without data or evidence have announced a hunt in the ranks for anyone suspected of “white rage” or “white supremacy.”
They are not worried that in 2020, a record 64 percent of the electorate did not cast their ballots on Election Day.
Nor are they worried that the usual error rate in most states of non-Election Day ballots plunged—even as an unprecedented 101 million ballots were cast by mail or early voting.
And they are certainly not worried that partisan billionaires of Silicon Valley poured well over $400 million into selected precincts in swing states to “help” public agencies conduct the election.
What then is behind this new left-wing hysteria about the supposed looming end of democracy?
It is quite simple. The Left expects to lose power over the next two years—both because of the way it gained and used it, and because of its radical, top-down agendas that never had any public support.
After gaining control of both houses of Congress and the presidency—with an obsequious media and the support of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, higher education, popular culture, entertainment and professional sports—the Left has managed in just 11 months to alienate a majority of voters.
The nation has been wracked by unprecedented crime and nonenforcement of the borders. Leftist district attorneys either won’t indict criminals or let them out of jails or both.
Illegal immigration and inflation are soaring. Deliberate cuts in gas and oil production helped to spike fuel prices.
All this bad news is on top of the Afghanistan disaster, worsening racial relations, and an enfeebled president.
Democrats are running 10 points behind the Republicans in generic polls—with the midterms less than a year away.
Joe Biden’s negatives run between 50 and 57 percent—in Donald Trump’s own former underwater territory.
Less than a third of the country wishes Biden to run for reelection. In many head-to-head polls, Trump now defeats Biden.
In other words, leftist elites are terrified that democracy will work too robustly.
After the Russian collusion hoax, the two impeachments, the Hunter Biden laptop stories, the staged melodramas of the Kavanaugh hearings, the Jussie Smollett con, the Covington kids smear, and the Rittenhouse trial race frenzy, the people are not just worn out by leftist hysterias, but also weary of how the Left gains power and administers it.
If Joe Biden were polling 70 percent approval, and his policies 60 percent, the current doomsayers would be reassuring us of the “health of the system.”
They are fearful and angry not because democracy does not work, but because it does despite their own media and political efforts to warp it.
When a party becomes hijacked by radicals and uses almost any means necessary to gain and use power for agendas that few Americans support, then average voters express their disapproval.
That reality apparently terrifies an elite—which then claims any system that allows the people to vote against the Left is not people power at all.
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Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.
Photo “Vote Here” by Lorie Shaull CC BY 2.0.