Democracy is defined as the government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Who are the people who support our contemporary status quo? And how, in marginalizing the will of the people, is democracy destroyed?
The long-anticipated Mueller report is a scathing exposé of at least ten ways the man who calls himself the president of the United States bent or broke the rules and actively interfered in an investigation of his wrongdoings. The attorney general, who auditioned for his role by sending a memo that indicated that a sitting president could not be charged by the (In)Justice Department, edited, obfuscated and then prevaricated about the many ways Mr. 45 simply did the wrong thing. His wrongdoings ranged from perjury (which he often couched as “I don’t remember”) to intimidation to near, if not outright, collusion. After the release of the Mueller report, many Democrats have called for investigation or impeachment, but few Republicans have raised their voices to censure the rogue they selected as their leader.
As of this writing, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has been the most vocal detractor of Mr. 45, but he was that before the Mueller report was issued. George Conway, the bold husband of the equally fearless Kellyanne Conway, has called for 45’s impeachment even as his spouse maintains her position as the 45 handmaiden. I don’t even want to wonder what their pillow talk sounds like, but George Conway gets mad props for speaking his truth even as he sleeps with the devil.
Why are so many so silent, though? These are people who say they love democracy, but their truth is that they love it only when it works for them. So while they cringe privately, they cower publicly, understanding full well that they work for a racist, crook and tyrant who will suppress democracy at any cost. What do they gain?
Most importantly they gain the courts. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, aka the Tennessee Turtle, built a wall between President Barack Obama’s constitutional right to appoint judges by blocking appointment whenever he could (most notably a Supreme Court appointment that should have gone to Merrick Garland), he has never met an inexperienced Republican ideologue that he would not rush to confirm. Lifetime appointments to 39-year-olds (consider Florida’s Robert J. Luck) who have practiced law less than a decade but proven their worth with harsh partisan positions will have an impact on public policy for decades. If McConnell rules the Senate and 45 stays in office, so many of our rights will be eroded, including voting rights, the right to choose, labor rights and more.
Voting rights are on the chopping block in jurisdiction after jurisdiction. The judicial repeal of the Voting Rights Act with the reversal of Section 5 has been a setback, but aggressive state legislatures who have sought to restrict the right to vote have posed an equally challenging problem. In Florida, despite a successful initiative to restore the rights of convicted felons, the legislature has attempted to reverse the will of the people by imposing financial requirements to these returning citizens. There will undoubtedly be a court challenge, but will it be resolved in time to have 1.4 million people participate in the 2020 Florida election? In Tennessee, the state legislature proposes to impose fines on organizations that register voters who make minor mistakes on their registration forms, mistakes as insignificant as middle initial or hyphen. Republican state legislatures are passing new rules to restrict the vote in anticipation of a 2020 surge of new voters. Florida and Tennessee aren’t the only states that would suppress the vote. But voter suppression is what Mr. 45’s sycophants gain when they fail to call him out on his perfidy.
Those who support 45 gain profit maximization opportunities — he is the triumph of predatory capitalism.
From a tax cut that disproportionately advantages the wealthy, to a massive corporate tax cut that places a tax burden on the rest of the economy, 45’s economic policies have been an unapologetic transfer of income from people at the bottom to people at the top. While he talked populist trash to white folks who had racial issues, he offered public policy that contributed nothing to his core constituency. Meanwhile, through his appointments to, as an example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB), he eroded consumer rights. Instead of draining the swamp, he fed his personal alligators the raw meat of consumer protection, shredding the many ways CFPB protected the little people.
Supporting Mr. 45 also supports the triumph of white supremacy. After Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville by a now-convicted white supremacist, our nation’s leader opined that there are “good people on both sides.” His rhetoric is a signal to racists that it’s OK to attack those who have been historically marginalized in our nation. While we are in the middle of a cultural realignment, with pointed questions being raised about the corrosiveness of confederate culture, we have a national leader who disgustingly cleaves to the past and elevates white supremacy. Republicans who fail to censure an out-of-control president often do so because while they abhor his behavior, they embrace his white supremacist enthusiasm.
Democracy dies when tyrants prevail, and when we have seen a prevaricator, a provocateur, a philistine and a panderer occupy the Oval Office. Why? Because predatory capitalists gain from the elevation of a braggadocious tyrant who, while feeding their bottom line, is behaviorally uncontrollable. We have attempted to impose democracy all over the world. Why are we willing to support its demise in these United States?
Malveaux is an author and economist. Her latest project, MALVEAUX! On UDCTV, is available on youtube.com.