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The Threat to Democracy Narrative Unravels

Examining the challenges of rhetoric over substance.

Certain elected Democrats across the US – and particularly in Washinton, DC – are fond of speaking about various things and people being a threat to democracy. As the 2024 general election looms on the horizon, however, it is worth examining whether these fearmongers are themselves posing just such a threat as they strive to deny American voters their right to choose who will reside in the White House come January 2025.

It is difficult to know for sure whether Democrat powerbrokers are earnestly thinking about replacing Joe Biden as their 2024 nominee. In the left-wing media there seems to be a growing sentiment that the party should find a way to put up someone else to face the likely Republican candidate, former President Donald Trump. Especially in social media, theories are swirling that Mr. Biden will be pushed aside at the party’s national convention in August – after he has officially secured the requisite number of delegates.

It is unlikely that Biden’s party will snub him in favor of, say, California Gov. Gavin Newsom or former First Lady Michelle Obama. That type of move would signal a massive humiliation of the current president, essentially admitting that either Biden’s cognitive decline renders him incapable of serving a second term or that his first term has been an utter failure. Party apparatchiks must also be cognizant of the down-ballot races and be prepared to do anything and everything in their power to avoid a wipeout. But the greater issue is this: If Biden were replaced by someone who didn’t even officially run for president, the narrative around threats to democracy would collapse.

Unless someone else wins enough delegates in the primaries to have earned the right to claim the nomination, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is the party’s only option. Replacing him, in defiance of the will of the voters, would represent a clear threat to democracy. If the majority of Democrats wanted someone else, they could make it known themselves by not voting at all in the primaries, writing in another name, or voting for one of the other declared candidates.

Effectively, the party would be saying to its own voters: We cannot trust the choice you made in the primaries. Thus, we are putting up someone else for whom not even one of you voted – or was even given the chance to vote. We are telling you, Democrat voters, that it is we – and not you – who choose the nominee. The primaries, from now on, are merely for show.

Of course, if this theoretical move came to pass, Mr. Biden’s replacement would still have to face the voters in the general election, his party’s voters would find themselves having to support someone they did not select to run for the White House.

No Clearer Threat to Democracy

One could argue that the Democratic Party has the right to handle its own primary process however it sees fit, but there is yet another factor worthy of note. The Atlantic, on February 23, put forward a hypothetical scenario that could plunge the nation into a constitutional crisis – and perhaps worse.

Should the eventual Republican nominee – most likely Trump at this point – win enough Electoral College votes (270) to claim the Oval Office, and should the Democrats gain a majority in the House of Representatives, the unthinkable is being given some thought. While it appears to be a long-shot prospect, Trump’s political opponents across the aisle are at least chewing over the idea of refusing to certify the Electoral College vote tally on January 6, 2025.

A Horrifying Irony

Addressing this hypothetical, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said, “That would be a colossal disaster. We already had one horrendous January 6. We don’t need another.” Rep. Jamie Raskin had similar concerns. He told Russell Berman, the author of the Atlantic article, “There was blood all over the Capitol in the hypothetical you posit.” Chillingly, Raskin added, “We might just decide that’s something we need to prepare for” because he wasn’t ruling out the idea of rejecting the Electoral College vote count. At least one other Democrat, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, told Berman she “might be” one of those who try to disqualify Trump, should he win the election.

That any politicians are even contemplating such a move demolishes the much-touted narrative of stoically defending America against every threat to democracy. It also brings into question their claims that the events of January 6, 2021, also represented a threat to democracy. Quite literally, if this Atlantic scenario is to be believed – certain lawmakers are thinking about doing exactly what they accused Trump and the January 6 protesters of trying to do – nullifying an election result and preventing a transfer of power. The irony is jaw-dropping, and the potential consequences nothing short of horrifying.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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