Voter identification and election integrity laws, according to Democrats like Kamala Harris, pose the gravest danger to American democracy. Not only are Democrats wrong on this assertion, but they ignore the ways in which they acutely threaten the health of democracy in the United States.
Contemporary Americans face security and identification requirements in practically everything they do. Nearly every Internet transaction or website entry requires identification measures. Every hospital demands identification. Every bank transaction. Every fitness club. Every library. To say that the act of voting, unlike the act of walking on a treadmill, should require no identification or security measures is ludicrous.
Moreover, if indeed, as Democrats claim, the mandate of producing some evidence of identification is so oppressive and unjust, then all requirements of identification everywhere should be prohibited. Driving licenses should be eliminated; anyone should be able to drive a vehicle, since self-transportation is essential for many aspects of modern life.
If voting – the most important citizen act in a democracy – cannot be predicated on some form of voter identification, then indeed no other act or transaction involving government should require identification.
Evidence already exists as to the extent of election fraud. We have a general idea of how many dead or nonexistent people vote in elections.
Therefore, to even consider the argument that voter identification laws will restrict democratic participation, should not Democrats be forced to prove that the number of legal voters turned away at the polls because of some identification problem beyond their control is at least equal to or greater than the number of dead people voting?
But the Left does not stop with voter identification laws; it alleges that social media also threatens American democracy through the proliferation of “fake news.” The argument comes down to this: Facebook and Twitter conspired to elect Donald Trump in 2016.
This is an argument beyond ludicrous. Facebook and Twitter are right-wing organizations secretly working for Trump? No one who has any exposure or relationship to Facebook or Twitter would ever make that claim.
The real danger to democracy comes from the Left. Five years after the 2016 election – five years after all the wild accusations that the Trump campaign was secretly working with Russia to bring about the defeat of Hillary Clinton – the American public is finally learning the truth.
And not one “mainstream media” entity is publishing or broadcasting that truth. Not only were all the accusations of Russian collusion completely false, but those accusations were generated by a report funded by the Clinton campaign, as the ongoing Durham investigation has made clear.
Eagerly did the New York Times and Washington Post play patsy to the manipulations of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. A Pulitzer Prize was even awarded. And yet, where are those media entities now that the truth is coming out?
With its false and manufactured Russia collusion claims, the Democratic Party sought to overturn the democratic election of Donald Trump and to discredit the Trump presidency throughout the entire term of that administration. How are not such actions a serious threat to democracy?
But to see the real leftist attitude toward democracy one need look no further than the Democrats’ reaction to Senator Manchin’s refusal to support the Biden Build Back Better multi-trillion dollar spending program. When Senator Manchin announced his decision, Democrats unleashed a torrent of slander and condemnation. He was accused of being anti-democratic, a racist, a stooge of corporate America. His home and family were targeted by leftist agitators. And what crime did Senator Manchin commit? – the crime of not voting the way the Democratic left wanted him to vote.
The essence of democracy lies not in the power of 50.1% of the population to subject the other 49.9% to whatever the majority wants. When majorities, and especially bare majorities, seek to impose their will on the minority, democracy becomes fragile. The goal set out in the U.S. Constitution is not for raw, untrammeled majority power, but for a responsible democracy that considers and incorporates the interests of the minority. The stability and future of democracy becomes weakened when the 49% feel that the 51% runs roughshod over it.
As the Democratic Party has demonstrated, it has no concern for any opposing belief or interest. After the 2020 election, the U.S. Senate split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. But since Vice President Harris could act as a tiebreaker, the Democrats acquired 51-50 control over the Senate.
At the same time, Democrats wanted to pass the most extensive and expensive government spending program in history. Yet they made no attempt to consult with any Republican members of the Senate. The Democrats had a one-vote margin in the Senate, and they intended to use that margin to ram through a program that 50 Republican Senators opposed.
By deciding on this course – by deciding to completely ignore any other viewpoints or interests – Democrats demanded that every single Democratic senator unquestioningly support the Biden program. It wasn’t Senator Manchin that abandoned the Democrats; it was the Democratic Party that put Senator Manchin in the crosshairs, demanding that he vote exactly as he was told, regardless of the interests or desires of his constituents.
The Democrats’ decision to abandon any bipartisanship and even any dialogue with the minority, along with their slanderous and vindictive attacks on Senator Manchin, reveal how little the Left cares for the spirit, integrity and responsibility of democracy. Their actions demonstrate that democracy is not their concern. Power is their concern. But those regimes that elevate power above all else are authoritarian regimes – and authoritarianism has no room for democracy.
Patrick M. Garry is a professor of law with a Ph.D. in constitutional history at the University of South Dakota Law School. He is also senior fellow at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy.