Evidence: US is not a democracy | Princeton University study

US / Western propaganda always says that the US bombs and invades other countries in order to promote democracy and freedom. They apply brutal sanctions that deprive innocent people of medicines and food. They overthrow other nations’ governments by secretly working with extremists and separatists in those nations and install pro-US regimes. They do this ALL in the name of democracy when the fact is they don’t even have one! It’s insanely mind-boggling but, that’s just what propaganda does. It twists logic and reality to the point where words and actions are meaningless.

The Supreme Court is laying the groundwork to pre-rig the 2024 election

Six Republicans on the Supreme Court just announced—a story that has largely flown under the nation’s political radar—that they’ll consider pre-rigging the presidential election of 2024.

Republican strategists are gaming out which states have Republican legislatures willing to override the votes of their people to win the White House for the Republican candidate.

Here’s how one aspect of it could work out, if they go along with the GOP’s arguments that will be before the Court this October:

It’s November, 2024, and the presidential race between Biden and DeSantis has been tabulated by the states and called by the networks. Biden won 84,355,740 votes to DeSantis’ 77,366,412, clearly carrying the popular vote.
But the popular vote isn’t enough: George W. Bush lost to Al Gore by a half-million votes and Donald Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes but both ended up in the White House. What matters is the Electoral College vote, and that looks good for Biden, too.
As CNN is reporting, the outcome is a virtual clone of the 2020 election: Biden carries the same states he did that year and DeSantis gets all the Trump states. It’s 306 to 232 in the Electoral College, a 74-vote Electoral College lead for Biden, at least as calculated by CNN and the rest of the media. Biden is heading to the White House for another 4 years.
Until the announcement comes out of Georgia. Although Biden won the popular vote in Georgia, their legislature decided it can overrule the popular vote and just awarded the state’s 16 electoral votes to DeSantis instead of Biden.
An hour later we hear from five other states with Republican-controlled legislatures where Biden won the majority of the vote, just like he had in 2020: North Carolina (15 electoral votes), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20) and Arizona (11).
Each has followed Georgia’s lead and their legislatures have awarded their Electoral College votes—even though Biden won the popular vote in each state—to DeSantis.
Thus, a total of 88 Electoral College votes from those six states move from Biden to DeSantis, who’s declared the winner and will be sworn in on January 20, 2025.
Wolf Blitzer announces that DeSantis has won the election, and people pour into the streets to protest. They’re met with a hail of bullets as Republican-affiliated militias have been rehearsing for this exact moment and their allies among the police refuse to intervene.
After a few thousand people lay dead in the streets of two dozen cities, the police begin to round up the surviving “instigators,” who are charged with seditious conspiracy for resisting the Republican legislatures of their states.
After he’s sworn in on January 20th, President DeSantis points to the ongoing demonstrations, declares a permanent state of emergency, and suspends future elections, just as Trump had repeatedly told the world he planned for 2020.

Sound far fetched?

Six Republicans on the Supreme Court just announced that one of the first cases they’ll decide next year could include whether that very scenario is constitutional or not. And it almost certainly is.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution lays out the process clearly, and it doesn’t even once mention the popular vote or the will of the people:

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress… [emphasis added]
“The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons … which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President…”

It’s not particularly ambiguous, even as clarified by the 12th Amendment and the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

Neither mentions the will of the people, although the Electoral Count Act requires each state’s governor to certify the vote before passing it along to Washington, DC. And half of those states have Democratic governors.

Which brings us to the Supreme Court’s probable 2023 decision. As Robert Barnes wrote yesterday for The Washington Post:

“The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will consider what would be a radical change in the way federal elections are conducted, giving state legislatures sole authority to set the rules for contests even if their actions violated state constitutions and resulted in extreme partisan gerrymandering for congressional seats.”

While the main issue being debated in Moore v Harper, scheduled for a hearing this October, is a gerrymander that conflicts with North Carolina’s constitution, the issue at the core of the debate is what’s called the “Independent State Legislature Doctrine.”

It literally gives state legislatures the power to pre-rig or simply hand elections to the candidate of their choice.

As NPR notes:

The independent state legislature theory was first invoked by three conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices in the celebrated Bush v. Gore case that handed the 2000 election victory to George W. Bush. In that case, the three cited it to support the selection of a Republican slate of presidential electors.”

That doctrine—the basis of John Eastman and Donald Trump’s effort to get states to submit multiple slates of electors—asserts that a plain reading of Article II and the 12th Amendment of the Constitution says that each state’s legislature has final say in which candidate gets their states’ Electoral College vote, governors and the will of the voters be damned.

The Republicans point out that the Constitution says that it’s up to the states—”in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct”—to decide which presidential candidate gets their Electoral College votes.

But the Electoral Count Act requires a governor’s sign-off, and half those states have Democratic governors. Which has precedence, the Constitution or the Act?

If the Supreme Court says it’s the US Constitution rather than the Electoral Count Act, states’ constitutions, state laws, or the votes of their citizens, the scenario outlined above becomes not just possible but very likely. Republicans play hardball and consistently push to the extremes regardless of pubic opinion.

After all, the Constitution only mentions the states’ legislatures—which are all Republican controlled—so the unwillingness of the Democratic governors of Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to sign off on the Electoral College votes becomes moot.

Under this circumstance DeSantis becomes president, the third Republican president in the 21st century, and also the third Republican President to have lost the popular vote election yet ended up in the White House.

This scenario isn’t just plausible: it’s probable. GOP-controlled states are already changing their state laws to allow for it, and Republican strategists are gaming out which states have Republican legislatures willing to override the votes of their people to win the White House for the Republican candidate.

Those state legislators who still embrace Trump and this theory are getting the support of large pools of rightwing billionaires’ dark money.

As the highly respected conservative Judge J. Michael Luttig recently wrote:

“Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine … and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress’ own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency.”

I take no satisfaction in having accurately predicted—in March of 2020—how Trump and his buddies would try to steal the election in January of 2021. Or how the Supreme Court would blow up the Environmental Protection Agency.

Trump’s January 6th effort failed because every contested state had laws on the books requiring all of their Electoral College votes to go to whichever candidate won the popular vote in the state.

That will not be the case in 2024.

As we are watching, the Supreme Court—in collaboration with state legislatures through activists like Ginny Thomas—are setting that election up right now in front of us in real time.

We damn well better be planning for this, because it’s likely coming our way in just a bit more than two short years.

The Supreme Court is laying the groundwork to pre-rig the 2024 election
Six Republicans on the Supreme Court just announced—a story that has largely flown under the nation’s political radar—that they’ll consider pre-rigging the presidential election of 2024.Republican strategists are gaming out which states have Republican legislatures willing to override the votes of t…
Wikipedia:  Moore v. Harper (Case scheduled for Oct)

 

So, You Think the Republican Party No Longer Represents the People

“There is no sense in avoiding or diluting the magnitude of this turn in our story: One major political party no longer accepts democracy.”

The author of this sentence is the former Obama White House speechwriter Ben Rhodes, writing recently in The Atlantic, but it could have flowed from the keyboard of a hundred different writers in the post-Trump, post-Jan. 6 era. That conservatism and the Republican Party have turned against government by the people, that only the Democratic Party still stands for democratic rule, is an important organizing thought of political commentary these days.

So let’s subject it to some scrutiny — and with it, the current liberal relationship to democracy as well.

First, there’s a sense in which conservatism has always had a fraught relationship to mass democracy. The fear of mob rule, of demagogues rallying the masses to destroy a fragile social order, is a common theme in many different right-wing schools of thought, showing up among traditionalist defenders of aristocracy and libertarians alike.

To these general tendencies, we can add two specifically American forms of conservative anxiety about the franchise: the fear of corrupt urban-machine politics that runs back through the 1960 presidential election to the age of Tammany Hall and the racist fear of African American political power that stamped the segregation-era South.

Because all these influences touch the modern G.O.P., conservative skepticism about mass democracy was a somewhat normal part of American politics long before Donald Trump came along — and some of what’s changed in the Trump era is just an events-driven accentuation of existing tendencies.

Republicans have long feared voter fraud and noncitizen voting, for instance, but the fear — and for liberals, the oft-discussed hope — that demographic change could deliver permanent Democratic power has raised the salience of these anxieties. Likewise, Republicans have long been more likely to portray America as a republic, not a democracy, and to defend our system’s countermajoritarian mechanisms. But today this philosophical tendency is increasingly self-interested, because shifts in party coalitions mean that those mechanisms, the Senate and Electoral College especially, advantage Republicans somewhat more than in the recent past.

But then things get complicated, because the modern Republican Party is also the heir to a strong pro-democracy impulse, forged in the years when Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon won crushing presidential-level majorities but conservatives felt themselves constantly balked by unelected powers, bureaucrats and judges especially.

This experience left the right deeply invested in the idea that it represents the true American majority — moral, silent, what have you — while liberalism stands for elite power, anti-democratic forms of government, the bureaucracy and the juristocracy and the Ivy League.

And that idea and self-image have remained a potent aspect of the right-wing imagination even as the old Nixon and Reagan majorities have diminished and disappeared: With every new age of grass-roots activism, from the Tea Party to the local-education revolts of today, the right reliably casts itself as small-d democrats, standing boldly athwart liberal technocracy singing “Yankee Doodle.”

Against this complicated backdrop, Trump’s stolen-election narratives should be understood as a way to reconcile the two competing tendencies within conservatism, the intellectual right’s skepticism of mass democracy and comfort with countermajoritarian institutions with the populist right’s small-d democratic self-image. In Trump’s toxic dreampolitik there’s actually no tension there: The right-wing coalition is justified in governing from a minoritarian position because it deserves to be a true electoral majority, and would be if only the liberal enemy weren’t so good at cheating.

So seen from within the right, the challenge of getting out from under Trump’s deceptions isn’t just a simple matter of reviving a conservative commitment to democracy. Trump has succeeded precisely because he has exploited the right’s more democratic impulses, speaking to them and co-opting them and claiming them for himself. Which means a conservative rival can’t defeat or replace him by simply accusing him of being anti-democratic. Instead the only plausible pitch would argue that his populism is self-limiting and that a post-Trump G.O.P. could win a more sweeping majority than the one his supporters want to believe he won already — one that would hold up, no matter what the liberal enemy gets up to.

But if that argument is challenging to make amid the smog of Trumpenkampf, so is the anti-Trump argument that casts American liberalism as the force to which anyone who believes in American democracy must rally. Because however much the right’s populists get wrong about their claim to represent a true American majority, they get this much right: Contemporary liberalism is fundamentally miscast as a defender of popular self-rule.

To be clear, the present Democratic Party is absolutely in favor of letting as many people vote as possible. There are no doubts about the mass franchise among liberals, no fears of voter fraud and fewer anxieties than on the right about the pernicious influence of low-information voters.

But when it comes to the work of government, the actual decisions that determine law and policy, liberalism is the heir to its own not exactly democratic tradition — the progressive vision of disinterested experts claiming large swaths of policymaking for their own and walling them off from the vagaries of public opinion, the whims of mere majorities.

This vision — what my colleague Nate Cohn recently called “undemocratic liberalism” — is a pervasive aspect of establishment politics not only in the United States but across the Western world. On question after controverted question, its answer to “Who votes?” is different from its answer to “Who decides?” In one case, the people; in the other, the credentialed experts, the high-level stakeholders and activist groups, the bureaucratic process.

Who should lead pandemic decision making? Obviously Anthony Fauci and the relevant public-health bureaucracies; we can’t have people playing politics with complex scientific matters. Who decides what your local school teaches your kids? Obviously teachers and administrators and education schools; we don’t want parents demanding some sort of veto power over syllabuses. Who decides the future of the European Union? The important stakeholders in Brussels and Berlin, the people who know what they’re doing, not the shortsighted voters in France or Ireland or wherever. Who makes important U.S. foreign policy decisions? Well, you have the interagency process, the permanent regional specialists and the military experts, not the mere whims of the elected president.

Or to pick a small but telling example recently featured in this newspaper, who decides whether an upstate New York school district gets to retain the Indian as its high school mascot? The state’s education commissioner, apparently, who’s currently threatening to cut funds to the school board that voted to keep it unless they reverse course.

Whereas the recent wave of right-wing populism, even when it doesn’t command governing majorities, still tends to champion the basic idea of popular power — the belief that more areas of Western life should be subject to popular control and fewer removed into the purview of unelected mandarins. And even if this is not a wise idea in every case, it is a democratic idea, whose widespread appeal reflects the fact that modern liberalism really does suffer from a democratic deficit.

Which is a serious problem, to put it mildly, for a movement that aspires to fight and win a struggle on behalf of democratic values. So just as a conservative alternative to Trump would need to somehow out-populist him, to overcome the dark side of right-wing populism, American liberalism would need to first democratize itself.

Boris Johnson Is Revealing Who He Really Is

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, bruised by scandal and faced with an alarming rise in coronavirus cases, is refusing to change course. “We have a chance,” he bullishly proclaimed on Jan. 4, “to ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down our country once again.”

Public health experts may disagree. Yet Mr. Johnson is at least being consistent — not only with his conduct throughout the pandemic, where lockdowns were a last resort and restrictions were to be shelved as soon as possible, but also with the political platform that elevated him to the highest office. After all, this is the man who rose to power — bringing about Brexit in the process — on the promise to restore “freedom” and “take back control.”

Undeterred by the pandemic, Mr. Johnson has been quietly pursuing that agenda. But instead of reforming the country’s creaking democracy and shoring up Britons’ rights, he and his lieutenants are doing the opposite: seizing control for themselves and stripping away the freedoms of others. A raft of bills likely to pass this year will set Britain, self-professed beacon of democracy, on the road to autocracy. Once in place, the legislation will be very hard to shift. For Mr. Johnson, it amounts to a concerted power grab.

It’s also an answer. Mr. Johnson is a political chameleon, and his true ideological bent — liberal? one-nation Tory? English nationalist? — has long been a subject of speculation. Now he has, beyond any doubt, revealed who he really is: a brattish authoritarian who puts his personal whims above anything else. And whatever his future, Britain will be remade in his image.

Amid the chaos wrought by the pandemic, Brexit tumult and increasing questions about the stability of Mr. Johnson’s individual position, the full scale of the impending assault on civil liberties has — understandably — not yet come into focus for much of the British public. The list of legislation is long and deliberately overwhelming. But pieced together, the picture is bleakly repressive.

First, there’s the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, a draconian and broad piece of legislation that effectively bans protest in England and Wales. The police would be equipped to shut down demonstrations that create “serious disruption.” Those who break this condition, which could be done just by making noise, would face prison sentences or hefty fines. Combined with other measures, such as outlawing traditional direct-action tactics like “locking on,” the bill could eventually make it almost impossible to attend a demonstration without committing an offense.

Yet it goes beyond protest, putting minority groups in the cross hairs. New trespass provisions, which make “residing on land without consent in or with a vehicle” a criminal offense, would essentially erase nomadic Gypsy, Roma and Traveler communities from public life. And the expansion of police powers would not only allow officers widespread access to private education and health care records, but also pave the way for suspicionless stop and search. Ethnic minority communities, disproportionately singled out for police attention, are likely to bear the brunt of such overreach.

Similarly punitive is the Nationality and Borders Bill. Stiffening Britain’s already hawkish immigration policy, it seeks to criminalize asylum seekers who take unsanctioned routes: Refugees who arrive by boat, for example, could face up to four years in prison, regardless of the validity of their claim for safe haven. And if claimants escape traditional jail, they would be kept in concentration camp-style housing and offshore processing centers, sites long denounced by human rights activists.

Not even British citizens are safe from the dragnet. A provision slipped into the bill in November by its architect, the home secretary, Priti Patel, would endow the government with the power to remove British citizenship from dual nationals without notice. Those singled out might not even have recourse to the lawProposed reform of the Human Rights Act would make it easier for the government to deport foreign nationals and deny them claims of mistreatment.

Such draconian measures, in time, are sure to be contested. But the government has a plan for that: draining the life blood from democracy. There’s the Elections Bill, which — alongside potentially disenfranchising millions through the introduction of mandatory voter ID — aims to furnish the government with new powers over the independent elections regulator, sealing up the political process. Unless substantially amended, the bill’s consequences could be constitutionally far-reaching.

The urge to centralize power also underlies the Judicial Review and Courts Bill, which would enable Mr. Johnson and his ministers to overrule judicial review findings that challenge their agenda. The Online Safety Bill, ostensibly designed to regulate Big Tech, is yet to be introduced to Parliament. But many free-speech advocates fear that it could be used to silence critics on social media, censoring those reporting details Mr. Johnson’s government would rather keep from public view. No more pesky judges or overly inquisitive journalists interfering with government business.

It’s a truism that nations sleepwalk into tyranny, and England — the most politically powerful of the nations comprising Britain — is no exception. For decades it has possessed all the necessary ingredients: ever more spiteful nationalism, press fealty sold to the highest bidder and a fervent, misplaced belief that authoritarianism could never set up shop here, because we simply wouldn’t let it.

In this event, though, concerted opposition to Mr. Johnson’s plans has not materialized. Establishment politics have been no match for the determination of Mr. Johnson and his allies: A hefty and largely supportive Conservative majority means that even when the Labour Party has decided to oppose legislation, its votes have barely counted. And despite valiant efforts by a coalition of grass-roots groups and the initial groundswell of the “Kill the Bill” protests, a mass movement opposing these bills has failed to come together. Instead, a miasma of grim inevitability has settled in.

That’s dangerous, not least because this authoritarian assault is so comprehensive that once settled as law, it will prove very tricky to unpick. Like many leaders who seek to transcend the constraints of democracy, Mr. Johnson may not foresee a future where he isn’t the one calling the shots. But the miserable shadow his power grab will cast over Britain is likely to last far longer than the tenure of the would-be “world king” himself.

His place in the history books, however, is secured. He will forever be the libertine whose pursuit of personal freedom and “control” saw his countrymen robbed of theirs.

James Goldsmith: A Prescient View of Free Trade

 

Tuesday 11/15/1994

A discussion on the General Agreement on Trade with Sir James Goldsmith and Laura D’Andrea Tyson.

  • Charlie Rose’s dismissive attitude towards Mr Goldsmith seems to reflect the establishment view.
  • Laura D’Andrea Tyson concedes his point about outsourcing, but says the horse is out of the barn and it won’t get worse.  She argues the Uruguay round will help American firms export more, while Goldsmith says instead that firms will setup factories in the lowest-cost developing world and ship to the developed world.

Would a Republican Congress Certify a Democratic elected President in 2024:

Mehdi poses a hypothetical about a 2024 Republican-controlled Congress certifying a Democratic elected president, and, well, @ruthbenghiat and @NormOrnstein’s answers speak for themselves…