Have you heard? Democracy in America is dying. That’s right. We know because we’re told every day by Democrats that if we don’t immediately pass a bill that would end state control of elections and repeal voter integrity laws, Democracy will be a goner.
“The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War” Joe Biden said during his first address to Congress. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last month that state voter integrity laws “smack of Jim Crow rearing its ugly head once again.” He warned that “if we don’t stop these vicious and often racist actions, Third World autocracy will be on its way.” I’d love a front-row seat for that.
Someone should give Chucky a sedative. And maybe a high colonic to loosen him up a bit.
And 100 “leading experts” — at least according to WaPo’s resident liberal hysteric Greg Sargent — claim we’re on the knife’s edge of the apocalypse.
“Our entire democracy is now at risk,” the scholars write in the statement, which I obtained before its release. “History will judge what we do at this moment.”
And these scholars underscore the crucial point: Our democracy’s long-term viability might depend on whether Democrats reform or kill the filibuster to pass sweeping voting rights protections.
“We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary — including suspending the filibuster — in order to pass national voting and election administration standards,” the scholars write, in a reference to the voting rights protections enshrined in the For the People Act, which passed the House and is before the Senate.
“We wanted to create a strong statement from a wide range of scholars, including many who have studied democratic backsliding, to make it clear that democracy in America is genuinely under threat,” Lee Drutman, senior fellow at New America said.
The scholars wrote, “It is always far better for major democracy reforms to be bipartisan, to give change the broadest possible legitimacy. However, in the current hyper-polarized political context such broad bipartisan support is sadly lacking.” In other words, give up on this bipartisan crap because democracy is just too hard. It’s too difficult to achieve. You have to work too hard. I’ve got a cocktail party at three and can’t be late.
Sargent echoes the sentiments that democracy is just too hard. “An acceptance that protecting democracy will never, ever, ever be bipartisan, and will happen only on a partisan basis, is fundamental to accepting the reality of the situation that Democrats face.”
The single greatest obstacle, though, has to do with the rules governing the Senate, and whether Democrats are ultimately willing to match their language of urgency with a strategy even remotely proportional to it. Due to the chamber’s filibuster rules, most legislation requires 60 votes to pass—an impediment that effectively empowers lawmakers representing only a tiny sliver of the electorate to block policies they dislike at will, including those designed to make American democracy fairer and more inclusive. (Especially frustrating, as the voting-rights expert Ari Berman has pointed out, is that Republican-controlled legislatures face no such supermajority requirement when passing legislation designed to restrict the vote—a kind of “asymmetric warfare” in which those working to preserve minority rule have a majoritarian advantage.)
Of course, the Democrats thought the filibuster was an excellent tool when Republicans had control of Congress and the White House. No warnings about the “death of democracy” then. And that’s why this hysterical, over-the-top rhetoric will never match the reality of the situation. Democrats can wag their fingers, weep and wail and gnash their teeth, emote all over the floors of Congress — and be right back where we started: a political problem that Democrats are both unwilling and unable to solve.