Undermining legitimacy with no mandate
Erick Erickson | Democrats overreach to ensure they stay in power
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On Tuesday, President Joe Biden traveled to Georgia to accuse Republicans of undermining democracy. His solution to the perceived Republican usurpation of our democratic processes is for the Democrats to usurp the republican processes of the nation. In doing so, the president must face the reality that he is, according to polls, now more unpopular than Donald Trump ever was.
Some Republicans have openly questioned the honesty and integrity of the 2020 presidential election. Elected Republicans across the country responded to those concerns by passing laws reforming election procedures or clarifying rules. Many of the reforms Republicans put in place were made to address new procedures used under emergency COVID-19 pandemic orders.
In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp’s state of emergency order directed state election officials to follow guidance from the Trump administration. Part of that guidance came from the Department of Homeland Security, which suggested using ballot drop boxes for absentee ballots so voters would not have to go into local boards of election offices to submit their ballots. Many Georgia counties rushed out drop boxes, spreading them all over their jurisdictions. The boxes were unregulated and often not secured, making it easy to damage the ballots inside.
With the expiration of Kemp’s emergency order, ballot drop boxes would disappear in Georgia. They were not permitted under the state’s election law. But the supposedly repressive voting reform legislation in Georgia allowed counties to keep them. They were also made secure with the law requiring them to be placed outside boards of election offices, only used during business hours, and with two people collecting the ballots to reduce the chance of ballot destruction or theft. Democrats have screamed ever since that Georgia was restricting the boxes and have ignored the fact that the boxes would have disappeared entirely if Republicans had not made an effort to save them.
Into all of this, President Biden and the Democratic Party have decided to engage in a twofold effort to systemically undermine both our democratic and republican processes. With democratic processes, the Democrats have alleged Republicans are suppressing voters, engaging in latent and patent racism in the operation of elections, and initiating race-based gerrymandering that harms local communities. Democrats are already attempting to cast doubt on the legitimacy of future elections.
With the republican processes, Democrats have begun a multi-year assault to discredit both the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate. The former, Democrats claim, is packed with Republican men and women. The latter, Democrats claim, is an out-of-touch, outmoded, anti-democratic organization where states of few people can block the will of the majority. The Senate does so with what Democrats claim is a product of the Jim Crow era: the filibuster.
To fix the supposedly broken democratic processes, Democrats have proposed two measures, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The former would amount to a federal takeover of elections and the latter would amount to renewed federal oversight of state-level election law changes. But neither can pass the Senate because Democrats lack enough votes to kill the filibuster. Therein lies the ultimate problem as Democrats seek to undermine the institutions and processes of our republic.
Right now, Biden has a 33 percent approval rating among American adults in the latest Quinnipiac poll. For perspective, Trump’s lowest approval rating as president was 37 percent. For more perspective, Biden is seven points less popular than Gerald Ford after Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.
A president with a 33 percent approval rating is asking 50 members of the Senate with a tie-breaking assist by Vice President Kamala Harris to break the rules of the upper chamber, which requires a two-thirds vote to change those rules, by unilaterally altering the rules with just 51 votes to end the filibuster to pass legislation designed to protect the Democrats’ majorities in the House and Senate.
Doing this is an unfathomable overreach by a party that possesses no mandate for transformative change. It also casts doubt on the Democrats’ central assertion that the Republicans are the threat to our democracy. Republicans are not the ones seeking to break the rules of the Senate to protect their majority on behalf of a president who has only a third of Americans’ support. To some, this may all sound Trumpian, but President Trump was never that unpopular and never actually successfully changed the rules to keep himself in power.
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