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America is Not a Democracy

You heard the old joke? A democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner. Which is why America is not a democracy.

The Founding Fathers set up a Constitutional Republic, with built-in protections against the tyranny of the majority.

For example, no matter how popular a federal law might be, it must not violate the United States Constitution, as determined by the Supreme Court.

Some Constitutional rights are incorporated. Rights like the freedom of speech and assembly cannot be infringed by state governments. Again, overseen by a non-elected, jobs-for-life Supreme Court.

If that isn’t enough to protect citizens from government infringement based on popular opinion, and it often isn’t, the United States elects its President via the Electoral College – giving states with smaller populations a significant say in who becomes the Chief Executive.

Also worth noting: all states have political systems mirroring the federal template: two representative bodies, a directly elected Chief Executive (Governor) and a Supreme Court.

You know this. The average American does not. They have no idea what a Constitutional Republic is, never mind how ours works.

So when President Biden condemns Donald Trump as a threat to democracy - as if America is a democracy - he’s appealing to ignorance.

To be fair, the insurrection following Donald Trump’s electoral defeat gives Joe Biden a big old peg to hang his rhetorical hat on.

[Note: Joe Biden was elected through the Electoral College; his election wasn’t the result of “pure” majority rules democracy.]

If we assume that Donald Trump inspired, approved of and/or at least failed to stop the January 9 assault on the Capitol, then yes, he was a threat to democracy. And by extension, our Constitutional Republic.

Putting that to one side, which many people can’t do, Donald Trump was President of the United State for four years.

Although CNN would strongly disagree (Chronicling Trump’s 10 worst abuses of power), President Trump did not upend our Constitutional Republic while in office.

Even if you think Trump damaged our system of government by abusing it, what about whataboutism?

  • In his first year in office, President Biden issued some 100 Executive Actions significantly modifying or eliminating Congressionally-enacted federal immigration law

  • President Biden proudly defied the Supreme Court ruling on student loan “forgiveness”

  • Biden’s EPA mandated electric vehicles without Congressional approval.

  • Biden’s FBI set-up a task force to influence/pressure social media giants to censor speech

Be that as it is, will Donald Trump undermine our system of government if he’s elected for a second term? Will he take a wrecking ball to our Constitutional Republic?

That’s Joe Biden’s pitch. Whether or not you buy what he’s selling, it should be said that even if Donald Trump does attempt such a thing, our system is designed to prevent it. Or at least blunt it. If not immediately, then eventually.

History provides some much-needed context...

In 1798, President John Adams signed and enforced The Alien and Seditions Act, criminalizing “false, scandalous, and malicious statements against the federal government.”

Under the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, the Wilson administration prosecuted 2100 Americans (jailing 25 journalists) for criticizing the government, the war effort or the military.

And that’s just infringed free speech. It doesn’t include many other presidential actions - backed by popular support - that made a mockery of our Constitution and the all-important separation of powers.

Presidential power grabs that discredited our system, but did not destroy it.

There are many reasons not to vote for Donald Trump. Considering him “a threat to

Democracy” should not be top of the list. The fact that Joe Biden put it there is a sad statement about our political discourse. Whether or not it’s effective remains to be seen.

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Dave Holzman
Dave Holzman
23 Ιουν

Trump is absolutely a threat to Democracy. Have you heard of Project 2025, something the Heritage Foundation is doing, that will give the President all sorts of powers they don't now have, like firing Civil Servants at will, and a lot of other at will firing of people in government? If Biden keeps the White House, it's not going to happen.

Trump, himself, has said he's going to be a dictator from day 1.

As for election 2020, Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes. But a loss to Biden of less than 100,000 votes spread over three small states would have given the electoral college to Trump, along with a second term.

It is well…

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Sequoia Sempervirens
Sequoia Sempervirens
23 Ιουν

As a lifelong Democrat, I find the whole insurrection theory to be literal nonsense. Some of us remember when the black Panthers went into the Capitol with guns and explosives. Some of us remember the huge protest under the Washington monument during the Vietnam war. If January 6 was “insurrection” then certainly having Black Panthers bring explosives into our capital was an insurrection? And pretty much every major protest of the 60s would be insurrection, by this standard.

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The reason that two intelligent fellows can have such differing views of events is because our news media is bifurcated into the red team and the blue team. This is exacerbated by our very human tendency to read headlines and not dig more deeply into a story. For example, the number of people killed on Jan 6th varies greatly depending on the news sources you follow. As far as I know, this statement from the New York Times the year after the event is a pretty good summary. How does it match up with what you were led to believe?

Updated Oct. 13, 2022

Follow live updates on the House committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

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23 Ιουν

This post fits in well with the "truth about everything" theme. As a lifelong news junkie, I've developed my own method of reading articles that could have any political motivation at all. Basically, I scan for political keywords that tell me if the author is a member of what I call the red team or the blue team. Once I have them placed on that spectrum, I feel I know where they are coming from as the old saying goes.

This article was reading along nicely when I tripped over the word "insurrection." My onboard AI, which I call a brain, immediately flagged this article as coming from the blue team. As we know, that word is to this d…

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