Trump Has Brought Democracy to Its Breaking Point. Will The Voters Care?

Juan Williams | 11 June 2024
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The heart of the Biden presidential campaign’s message is that democracy is at stake in 2024 presidential election.

But last week’s Quinnipiac polling showed Americans rank the economy (28 percent) as their top concern, even as stocks, employment and wages all perform strongly. Preserving democracy comes in second at 21 percent.

Only 10 percent of Trump-backing Republicans think eroding democracy is a top concern. The economy (46 percent) and immigration (30 percent) are more important issues to Trump loyalists.

Preserving Democracy is the number one concern for Democrats, at 37 percent. Also, people over the age of 65 are concerned with the future of American democracy (35 percent). College educated people can see the Trump threat to democracy (31 percent), but non-college educated (17 percent) and independent voters (16 percent) are less worried.

The point here is that Trump’s base — and beyond to some swing voters and young voters — remain indifferent to Biden’s message that political and economic stability are being put at risk by threats to democracy.

That is obvious when polls show Trump Republicans agree — despite the lack of any evidence – that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Meanwhile, Trump is labeling Biden as a “serious threat to democracy” by falsely claiming that the Justice Department authorized FBI agents to use “deadly force against  President Trump in the Mar-a-Lago raid.”

The FBI was “authorized to shoot me!…I nearly escaped death…Biden was locked & loaded, ready to take me out & put my family in danger,” Trump wrote in an emailed fundraising appeal.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, dismissed Trump’s claim as a straight out lie with a maximum Four Pinocchio rating.

Trump’s willingness to lie to discredit the president and the FBI counts as more evidence of Democracy being at risk in this election. Even before he was found guilty on 34 counts of fraud last week in a New York court, Trump regularly attacked the judicial system, a pillar of democracy. He denounced the judge and the prosecutor as political puppets while asserting that Biden rigged the trial to go after him as a political rival.

Evidence of these mounting threats to democracy keep piling up. First, the former president ignored campaign finance law when he promised oil executives that they can put a stop to government regulations they don’t like by donating a billion to his campaign.

Second, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, half of whom were nominated by Trump, overruled a low court’s finding that Black voters, mostly Democrats, had been pushed out of a South Carolina congressional district to preserve white, GOP control of the state’s delegation to the U.S. House. The court’s right-wing majority ruled that despite evidence of racial gerrymandering, it is unfair to the legislature to accuse them of racism.

The Republican majority in the South Carolina legislature is simply protecting its power and racial bias is not the point, according to the conservative court majority with three Trump appointees.

A legislative staffer who drew the maps admitted to using political data to ensure that outcome. Associate Justice Samuel Alito found nothing unconstitutional about that — continuing the conservative majority’s assault on voting and rights and civil rights that began with the 2013 decision removing the pre-clearance provision of the Voting Rights Act. 

“When racial classification in voting are the issue, the majority says every doubt must be resolved in favor of the state,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent. “And so, this odious practice of sorting citizens by race,” is affirmed by the Supreme Court and allowed to be a continuing reality.

A third example of eroding democracy took place when Justice Alito refused to recuse himself from pending Supreme Court cases involving Trump. An upside-down American flag, a sign of distress that some Trump loyalists carried at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, flew outside the justice’s home for several days in January 2021. Alito blamed his wife for hoisting the flag and accused Democrats of bias against him.

But the blatant show of partisanship is a threat to the court’s credibility as an impartial, democratic institution.

Another threat to democracy showed its face at a House hearing. 

The ugly incident began with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) bullying Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas). Greene said the Democrat could not read documents because of her “fake eyelashes.”

Crockett’s retort was to ask if it is okay to call someone a “bleached blonde, bad-built butch body”?

This dispiriting exchange in the U.S. Congress was a low moment for democracy. Even Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) confessed that it was “not a good look” for Congress.

The late Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) once said, “If we cannot be civil to one another, and if we stop dealing with those with whom we disagree, or that we don’t like, we will soon stop functioning altogether.”

The Biden camp is right to raise the threat to democracy as its main message. Democracy is now approaching the point of breakdown because of Trump. Expect more dishonor of democracy to be on display as bravado and defiance from Trump loyalists between now and November’s election.

Juan Williams is an author and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

This article was originally published onThe Hill.
Views in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect CGS policy.