"When True Democracy Goes Away, People Get Hurt": Obama Joins Mantra That Democracy Is At Risk If GOP Wins

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Former President Barack Obama continued the Democratic campaign theme this week in arguing that democracy is in danger if Republicans prevail in the midterm elections. I have a new column out this weekend addressing the over-the-top rhetoric coming from Democratic politicians and pundits. However, the former president’s speech was revealing as he cited the very arguments made by Democrats  . . . as attacks on democracy.  Obama did not go as far as some but he also seemed to channel the dire warnings of the imminent collapse of our democracy if the Republicans should prevail in the elections.

Obama remains one of the most impressive speakers of our time. With the unpopularity of President Joe Biden, candidates are relying heavily on Obama for good reason. His standard stump speech is still heads and shoulders above most other politicians.

Yet, the speech below was notable in the arguments that Obama warns voters not to heed.

“I understand that democracy might not seem like a top priority right now. Especially when it doesn’t seem like the results always work for you. When you don’t see enough progress on issues that matter to you and your family. Sometimes progress is slow. But we have seen throughout history and we’re seeing right now what happens when you give up on democracy.”

It was a curious argument given the effort of many in the party to pack the Supreme Court and push censorship on social media.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, has declared the Supreme Court illegitimate and has called to pack the Court for rending opinions against “widely held public opinion.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., even questioned the institution’s value: “How much does the current structure benefit us? And I don’t think it does.” She has now demanded the impeachment of Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch based on the entirely false claim that they lied under oath in their confirmation hearings. After the Dobbs decision, Ocasio-Cortez demanded “there must be consequences” for the Court.

Elie Mystal (past writer for Above the Law and the Nation) called the Constitution “trash.” Some law professors want to “reclaim America from Constitutionalism.

Obama added that you see the threat to democracy “in countries where the government tells you what books you can and cannot read.” Yet, many on the left are seeking to preserve censorship by surrogate on social media and seeking to prevent the publication of books by those with whom they disagree, including a book by Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. With corporate censorship threatened, many leaders like Hillary Clinton are turning to good old-fashioned state censorship.

Indeed, President Joe Biden has questioned how citizens will know the truth without censors framing what the truth is on social media and the Internet.

Obama ended this discussion with the same ominous warnings heard from other Democratic politicians and pundits:  “when true democracy goes away, people get hurt.”

Various pundits have been pushing the vote-Democratic-or-die mantra. On MSNBC, historian Michael Beschloss on MSNBC declared a Republican win could lead not only to the end of history books and democracy but lead to the killing of our children. That was then followed by another MSNBC interview with actor and Director Rob Reiner who claimed that Republicans “are willing to kill, literally kill, to get the power . . .  this might be the last election we have in a democracy.”

It is language that is not just demagoguery but dangerous. It is meant to spread fear in citizens and make them believe that our constitutional system is about to fail. We have the most successful constitutional system in the history of the world. It has weathered every storm and will weather our current political divisions. What kills democracy are self-inflicted wounds caused by those who cast doubts about our safety or demonize their opponents as enemies of the state.

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