It is unusual for Stephen Miller to say a true thing in public. But he does have a point.
But before we get to that, let’s stand back and take it all in. Whether you think of Miller as Trump’s Joseph Goebbels or Trump’s Grima Wormtongue, it is unusual for a Republican who’s worked at that level to say the quiet part out loud. Or at least it used to be. But he’s saying that: Republicans can’t win without cheating. Republicans can’t win in a real democracy.
So okay, he didn’t literally say that, though the meaning was pretty clear. He was a little more subtle. Just a little.
That’s a very scary thing. And so if you care about democracy, you should all say with one voice, no, it is the right of every state in this union to set their own election rules as desired by their own citizens to protect the security and integrity of their own elections. That’s fundamental!
He’s claiming that we can’t have democracy unless every state gets to “set their own election rules”, eg, rig the election as they see fit. No standards. No guarantees of democracy. But even Miller can’t exactly say that. Because no one needs to say that. If you really believe in democracy, all you need to say is that, first, laws must guarantee that every voter gets to vote, in a reasonable, safe way, with no need to wait in long lines, no need to skip a day’s wages or pay any other structural poll tax. That voting should be encouraged and easy. Take Delaware… I voted online in 2020!
Now, let’s assume we finally have truly fair elections, and everyone who choses to vote gets to vote. Can the Republicans win? Yes! Of course the Republicans can win. Just not these Republicans! A party that’s only able to claim 30–40% of the country’s vote, a party that’s only able to win by cheating — and don’t forget about the gerrymandering that’s given the Republicans a huge structural advantage — that party can’t win.
But a party is the sum of its policies and leaders. And the mathematics of our voting system ensure that there can be up to two strong political parties long term. And funny thing — we’ve had the Democrats and Republicans since 1860. Talk about stability. So what Republicans who oppose voting rights, who oppose democracy, are telling you is not that the Republican Party can’t survive, and we’ll have Democrats forever. What they’re really telling you is that some of today’s Republicans are incompatible with democratic elections, and would not be elected in a true democracy. Which means that, next election, the Republican Party would nominate someone else. And if that candidate lost, someone after that. Eventually they’d figure out how to actually appeal to constituents again, rather than stealing elected office. Which is precisely what they have been doing across the country.
So yeah, Miller would be out of politics. The Republican Party? They’d be just dandy. Any who knows, maybe even “Grand” again at some point, if they could see a return to democratic principles, honesty, and reality.Daniel Wong: I do not understand this and Stephen Miller is not the only one who says this. I thought people voted a particular way because they favored the policies of one side over the other. So people vote for Democrats because they favor Democrat policies. Similarly, people will not vote for Democrats if they do not favor Democrat policies.
According to what Stephen Miller is saying, that means that the Republican party MUST be voted in whether their potential voters favor their policies or not! That doesn’t sound like a Democracy to me. Democracy, means rule by the people. The people “rule” by every 4 or 6 years, picking the leaders who would represent them. Instead of forcing people to vote for Republicans, why don’t Republicans change their policies so that people will vote for those policies?
As most people already know or suspect, centrist Democrats are not far away from Republicans. The Trump supporters are way out in right field. Sanders, AOC et al left field. It would not be that difficult to work on a set of policies that are desirable to BOTH centrist Democrats and Republicans. Why does Stephen Miller think that the voters must change before even considering that the Republican party change its policies?
Look at it from another direction. Why did all the GOP presidential candidates lose to Trump in the 2016 primaries? Why was the Republican platform so weak that an outsider could take out their leading candidates? Could it be that the Republican party is just a little out of its time? Shouldn’t it look towards renewing itself instead of forcing its supporters to vote for it no matter what they put up? Stephen Miller doesn’t really care about policies helping Republican voters. He wants the voters to vote for Republicans first. What they do latter is not an issue.Andre Engels: No. The Democrats may have a tight grasp of power for some time, say 10 years, but earlier or later one or more of the following will happen:
- The Democrats bungle up something so badly that people are going to the vote for the Republicans just because they are not the Democrats
- The Republicans go shift their policies so they appeal to a larger part of the population
- The Democrats go shift their policies to something more extreme, making more moderate Democrats consider the Republicans a valid, or even the preferred option
- Another party rises as a third party, then takes over from the Republicans a
Based on current voting patterns and some analysis I’ve seen from people I trust to be objective, I’d say that the Republican party, as it currently stands, is in trouble.
Biden has proposed a number of new bills such as the infrastructure bill and the Coronavirus relief bill since assuming the presidency. These bills have all been hotly opposed by the Republican lawmakers but are reported to have high popularity among the voting public at large. The Coronavirus bill, for example, I saw had 70% support among the general public. This suggests that even many
Republican voters support at least some of the current Democrat policies.
And the lawmakers know this. This is why they’ve gone all out on the voting fraud platform as what seems to be their only current policy – introducing legislation to try to limit voting rights (though they don’t call it that…) so that less demographics that routinely vote Democrat can do so easily.
What they need to do, what a mature and grown up political party would do, is assess the reasons why those demographics don’t vote for them and rebrand. Reinvent themselves to better represent what modern Republicanism means. Then, there may be a way for them to actually gain the presidency without the need to cheat or suppress the vote.
Of course not. But what it does mean is something even scarier for Miller – his beloved party would need to change to attract more members to make it relevant.
We have two parties because all our elections are “first past the post” – so coalitions do their best to get 51% of the voters. Well, in a system that has democratic underpinnings.
And this is why so many members of the GOP want things to remain lopsided as they are – because it means that it’s quite likely that as the party shifts, they might lose their primaries. It’s similar to the reason why the GOP has been emasculated by Donald Trump, in that respect. But if they keep losing elections, then a coalition of people will gather that can present a platform that suits them better than either the current GOP platform (which is, literally, “Whatever Donald Trump thinks we should believe”), and the current Democratic Party platform.
This is why parties shift positions around all the time – it’s to try and win over a majority electorate.
And here’s why:
Miller’s statement assumes that the GOP will never adapt. I know, the very notion of republicans engaging in the meaningful self reflection necessary to change the party and platform does seem silly, but this is what political parties *do*. The Democrats were the right-wing conservative part in 1870 – one hundred years, it was the Republicans. Parties change.
In addition, if the Democrats suddenly had unfettered power, it would splinter since democrats are far from monolithic There are many in the party who are fairly fiscally conservative but very socially liberal, while there are many who are are very fiscally liberal and some who are more socially conservative. The party would fracture over time. It’s just natural.
The key thing about Miller is that he’s like a nazi chicken-little and should just be ignored. Period. Forever.
The Democrats are not saints, nor are they very good politicians – they drop their winning hands constantly. If voting rights are protected and citizens are allowed to vote, both political parties in the United States will cease to exist. The Democrats are merely the anti-Republicans and are in fact terrible politicians – which I blame 100% on the party leadership that tries to walk the Republican-lite NEOCON tightrope while pandering to human rights and ethics they rarely if ever deliver.
I expect if the United States ever manages to achieve fair and just elections, both political parties are dead as toast and a multiple new parties will emerge in a political mayhem for a generation while politically naive people figure out how their true political beliefs are composed and supported and not the spoon-fed capitalist propaganda that has been the baby formula fed to the nation since forever.
The Democrats can, and should, be in power exactly as long as their ideas appeal to the majority of the populace. The exact same thing is true of the Republicans. And *that* is the way it ought to be. If the Republicans feel they are losing ground, then instead of trying to rig the game, or take advantage of existing rigging of the game such as the Electoral College, they should give a good hard think as to *why* they are losing ground and figuring out how to rebuild their shrinking appeal. This is a (small-d) democratic (small-r) republic, after all.
Republicans Have an Ambitious Agenda for the Supreme Court
Why the G.O.P. doesn’t need to try to pass mostly unpopular policies through the elected branches.
Not so long ago, Republicans had one of the most ambitious legislative agendas of any political party in modern American history.
Devised by the former House speaker, Paul Ryan, the so-called Ryan budget sought to reduce much of the nation’s social safety net to ashes. Congressional Republicans planned to slash Medicaid spending and food stamps. In the most aggressive version of Mr. Ryan’s proposal, Republicans would have replaced Medicare with “premium support” vouchers that could be used to buy private insurance, and then reduced the value of this subsidy every year — effectively eliminating traditional Medicare over time.
But all of that has changed. The Ryan budget is a relic. At their 2020 national convention, Republicans didn’t even bother to come up with a new platform.
Yet while the party appears to have no legislative agenda, it’s a mistake to conclude that it has no policy agenda. Because Republicans do: They have an extraordinarily ambitious agenda to roll back voting rights, to strip the government of much of its power to regulate, to give broad legal immunity to religious conservatives and to immunize many businesses from a wide range of laws.
It’s just that the Republican Party doesn’t plan to pass its agenda through either one of the elected branches. Its agenda lives in the judiciary — and especially in the Supreme Court.
From 2011, when Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and denied President Barack Obama a governing majority, until the pandemic forced legislators’ hands in 2020, Congress enacted hardly any major legislation outside of the 2017 tax law.
In the same period, the Supreme Court
- dismantled much of America’s campaign finance law;
- severely weakened the Voting Rights Act;
- permitted states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion;
- expanded new “religious liberty” rights permitting some businesses that object to a law on religious grounds to diminish the rights of third parties;
- weakened laws shielding workers from sexual and racial harassment;
- expanded the right of employers to shunt workers with legal grievances into a privatized arbitration system;
- undercut public sector unions’ ability to raise funds; and
- halted Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
Now, a 6-to-3 conservative-majority Supreme Court is likely to reshape the country in the coming decade, exempting favored groups from their legal obligations, stripping the Biden administration of much of its lawful authority, and even placing a thumb on the scales of democracy itself.
Many of these changes would build on decisions handed down long before President Donald Trump reshaped the Supreme Court. The court, for example, first allowed employers to force workers to sign away their right to sue the company — locking those workers into a private-arbitration system that favors corporate parties — in a 2001 case, Circuit City v. Adams. But the court’s current majority is likely to make it much harder for workers and consumers to overcome these tactics. In Epic Systems v. Lewis (2018), Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the court’s majority opinion favoring an employer that forced its employees to give up their right to sue.
Similarly, in the 2014 case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court held that businesses seeking a religious exemption from a law may have it — holding, for the first time, that such exemptions may be allowed even when they diminish the rights of others. That case permitted employers with religious objections to birth control to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees, even though a federal regulation required employer-provided health plans to cover contraception.
Before Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the Supreme Court, however, a majority of the justices were very reluctant to grant religious exemptions to state regulations seeking to limit the spread of Covid-19. Yet after she became a justice, the court’s new majority started granting such exemptions to churches that wanted to defy public health orders.
It’s plausible that the Republican Party did not campaign on its old legislative agenda in 2020 because it was busy rebranding itself. Under Mr. Trump, Republicans attracted more working-class voters, while Democrats made gains in relatively affluent suburbs. So Mr. Ryan’s plans to ransack programs like Medicaid aren’t likely to inspire the party’s emerging base.
And yet the court’s conservative majority is still pushing an agenda that benefits corporations and the wealthy at the expense of workers and consumers.
It’s easy to see why government-by-judiciary appeals to Republican politicians. There’s no constituency for forced arbitration outside of corporate boardrooms. But when the court hands down decisions like Circuit City or Epic Systems, those decisions often go unnoticed. Employers score a major policy victory over their workers, and voters don’t blame the Republican politicians who placed conservative justices on the court.
Judges can also hide many of their most consequential decisions behind legal language and doctrines. One of the most important legal developments in the last few years, for example, is that a majority of the court called for strict new limits on federal agencies’ power to regulate the workplace, shield consumers and protect the environment.
In Little Sisters v. Pennsylvania (2020), the court signaled that it’s likely to strike down the Department of Health and Human Services’s rules requiring insurers to cover many forms of medical care — including birth control, immunizations and preventive care for children. And in West Virginia v. E.P.A. (2016), the court shut down much of the E.P.A.’s efforts to fight climate change.
Yet to understand decisions like Little Sisters and West Virginia, a reader needs to master arcane concepts like the “nondelegation doctrine” or “Chevron deference” that baffle even many lawyers. The result is that the Republican Party’s traditional constituency — business conservatives — walk away with big wins, while voters have less access to health care and breathe dirtier air.
By legislating from the bench, Republicans dodge accountability for unpopular policies. Meanwhile, the real power is held by Republican judges who serve for life — and therefore do not need to worry about whether their decisions enjoy public support.
It’s a terrible recipe for democracy. Voters shouldn’t need to hire a lawyer to understand what their government is doing.
The End of Impunity
What Democrats can do with subpoena power.
Schiff said he’ll look at the work being done by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, and by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and figure out where the gaps might be. “One that I would put as very important is the issue of whether the Russians were laundering money through the Trump Organization,” he said.
If Democrats prevail in November, his committee won’t be the only one examining Trump’s finances. Under a rarely used 1924 law passed after the Teapot Dome scandal, leaders of three congressional committees —
- the House Ways and Means Committee, the
- Senate Finance Committee and the
- Joint Committee on Taxation
— can each demand to see the president’s tax returns.
.. “We are in a fight for the soul of our democracy,” he said. “So I understand that for me to effectively do that second lane that I just talked about — voting rights and all those good things, prescription drugs — I need to have the democracy intact.”
The Trump administration, he said, needs to be exposed, which might mean hearings into the way Trump is profiting off the presidency, or on abuses of the security clearance process. “What we’re going to have to do is try to create a new but appropriate sense of what is normal,”