Republicans will abandon democracy before power

Published 2:52 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018

Over the past few months, we have heard Tom Tye, chairman of the Boyle County Republican Party, talking about why people should become Republicans. One possible answer becoming more apparent every day is that the Republicans plan to never relinquish any power that they gain through the elective process.

In states where voters turned Republican governors out of office, they are taking incredible license with the democratic process during the lame duck session to remove power from the incoming governors’ hands. They may have lost the election, but they pass the power onto the Republican legislature thereby disenfranchising the electorate who voted for change!

In many states, it is practically impossible for Democrats to win control of the legislature because of Republican gerrymandering. Several critical states have been gerrymandered to the point to where Democrats can win 57 percent of the votes but capture less than 50 percent of the seats.

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Republicans claim to be concerned about voter fraud but, so far, the only voter fraud uncovered was in North Carolina, where the Republicans collected absentee ballots from voters and either marked them “R” or discarded them. Other tactics include the passage of draconian voter ID laws, the closing of polling places in Democratic districts, and the elimination or curtailment of early voting. Republicans do better when voter turnout is low, so their goal is to restrict voter turnout by any means possible.

As David Frum, the author of “Trumpocracy,” warned a year ago: “If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.”

That’s what is happening today. While we may congratulate ourselves on the strength of our political institutions, in the end, institutions consist of people and fulfill their roles only as long as the people in them respect their intended purpose. Rule of law depends not just on what is written down, but also on the behavior of those who interpret and enforce those rules.

Paul Krugman says, “If these people don’t regard themselves as servants of the law first, partisans second, if they won’t subordinate their political goals to their duty to preserve the system, laws become meaningless and only power matters.”

We see that happening in Washington, D.C., today, where the so-called president cares nothing for the rule of law or the country’s institutions but only for his own personal aggrandizement and enrichment.

Jim Porter