Opinion | Democrats Are Failing to Defend Democracy

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  36 comments

Opinion | Democrats Are Failing to Defend Democracy
Voter suppression efforts are a major threat to democracy. Given the racial history of this country, efforts to limit voting, as some states have been implementing, are heinous. I get why Democrats want to repel them. But this, too, is not the major crisis facing us. That’s because tighter voting laws often don’t actually restrict voting all that much. Academics have studied this extensively. A recent well-researched study suggested that voter ID laws do not reduce turnout. States tighten or...

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www.nytimes.com   /2022/01/06/opinion/democrats-fail-defending-democracy.html

Opinion | Democrats Are Failing to Defend Democracy


David Brooks 6-7 minutes   1/6/2022



David Brooks

Why Democrats Are So Bad at Defending Democracy


Jan. 6, 2022


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When it comes to elections, the Republican Party operates within a carapace of lies. So we rely on the Democrats to preserve our system of government.

The problem is that Democrats live within their own insular echo chamber. Within that bubble convenient falsehoods spread, go unchallenged and make it harder to focus on the real crisis. So let’s clear away some of these myths that are distorting Democratic behavior:

The whole electoral system is in crisis.   Elections have three phases: registering and casting votes, counting votes and certifying results. When it comes to the first two phases, the American system has its flaws but is not in crisis. As Yuval Levin   noted   in The Times a few days ago, it’s become much easier in most places to register and vote than it was years ago. We just had a 2020 election with remarkably high turnout. The votes were counted with essentially zero fraud.

The emergency is in the third phase — Republican efforts to overturn votes that have been counted. But Democratic voting bills — the For the People Act and its update, the Freedom to Vote Act — were not overhauled to address the threats that have been blindingly obvious since Jan. 6 last year. They are sprawling measures covering everything from mail-in ballots to campaign finance. They basically include every idea that’s been on activist agendas for years.

These bills are hard to explain and hard to pass. By catering to D.C. interest groups, Democrats have spent a year distracting themselves from the emergency right in front of us.



Voter suppression efforts are a major threat to democracy.   Given the racial history of this country,   efforts to limit voting , as some states have been implementing, are heinous. I get why Democrats want to repel them. But this, too, is not the major crisis facing us. That’s because tighter voting laws often don’t actually restrict voting all that much. Academics have studied this extensively. A recent well-researched study suggested that   voter ID laws do not reduce turnout . States tighten or loosen their voting laws, often seemingly without a big effect on turnout. The general rule is that people who want to vote end up voting.

Just as many efforts to limit the electorate don’t have much of an effect, the Democratic bills to make it easier to vote might not have much impact on turnout or on which party wins. As my Times colleague Nate Cohn   wrote   last April, “Expanding voting options to make it more convenient hasn’t seemed to have a huge effect on turnout or electoral outcomes. That’s the finding of decades of political science research on advance, early and absentee voting.”



Higher turnout helps Democrats.   This popular assumption is also false. Political scientists Daron R. Shaw and John R. Petrocik, authors of “The Turnout Myth,” looked at   70 years of election data   and found “no evidence that turnout is correlated with partisan vote choice.”

The best way to address the crisis is top down.   Democrats have focused their energies in Washington, trying to pass these big bills. The bills would override state laws and dictate a lot of election procedures from the national level.

Given how local Republicans are behaving, I understand why Democrats want to centralize things. But it’s a little weird to be arguing that in order to save democracy we have to take power away from local elected officials. Plus, if you tell local people they’re not fit to govern themselves, you’re going to further inflame the populist backlash.



But the real problem is that Democrats are not focusing on crucial state and local arenas. The Times’s Charles Homans had a fascinating   report   from Pennsylvania, where Trump backers were running for local office, including judge of elections, while Democrats struggled to even find candidates. “I’m not sure what the Democratic Party was worried about, but it didn’t feel like they were worried about school board and judge of elections races — all of these little positions,” a failed Democratic candidate said.

Democrats do not seem to be fighting hard in key local races. They do not seem to be rallying the masses so that state legislators pay a price if they support democracy-weakening legislation.

Maybe some of the energy that has been spent over the past year analyzing and berating Joe Manchin could have been better spent grooming and supporting good state and local candidates. Maybe the best way to repulse a populist uprising is not by firing up all your allies in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C.

The crisis of democracy is right in front of us. We have a massive populist mob that thinks the country is now controlled by a coastal progressive oligarchy that looks down on them. We’re caught in cycles of polarization that threaten to turn America into Northern Ireland during the Troubles. We have Republican hacks taking power away from the brave state officials who stood up to Trumpian bullying after the 2020 election.

Democrats have spent too much time on measures that they mistakenly think would give them an advantage. The right response would be: Do the unsexy work at the local level, where things are in flux. Pass the parts of the Freedom to Vote Act that are germane, like the protections for elections officials against partisan removal, and measures to limit purging voter rolls. Reform the Electoral Count Act to prevent Congress from derailing election certifications.

When your house is on fire, drop what you were doing, and put it out. Maybe finally Democrats will do that.







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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

I agree with this, in part. 

The problem is that voter restrictions are INTENDED to keep down Democratic vote. There are no cases where Democratic state legislatures are trying to prevent Republicans from voting. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
PhD Quiet
1.1  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

No, Democrats just want one party rule- their rule to be more precise. They would really love to turn the US into the next China.

Do away with the electoral college and turn fly over country into a wasteland dominated by the leftist coasts.

Turn every state into California. Sure has worked well in Pennsylvania; and Michigan is now preparing itself for a legal battle over the newly redrawn districts that favor population over registered voters/US citizens. Ask the UP and pretty much the entire northern part of the state how they feel about the new districts. Not a lot of people; but a hell of a lot of registered voters- all lumped together in a nicely packaged bow for the Democrats. Great way to ensure a lot of conservative votes will be locked together. Sanctuary city Detroit is about to pay off for the Democrats big. We were warned when this came up for a vote; but too many refused to listen. 

The US Constitution clearly has the states determining how to run elections; not the federal government. Time for the Democrats to remember that.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
1.1.1  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1    3 weeks ago
No, Democrats just want one party rule- their rule to be more precise. They would really love to turn the US into the next China.

Come on!  Even you don't believe this poo on a plate.  But you sure like posting it.  A lot.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

One party rule sounds...terrifying! I don't care what party is in power

 
 
 
Ronin2
PhD Quiet
1.1.3  Ronin2  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

Then Democrats really need to stop their fascist tendencies; stop trying to make any vote irrelevant; and stop ignoring the courts and Constitution.

 
 
 
Wishful_thinkin
Freshman Silent
1.1.4  Wishful_thinkin  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.3    3 weeks ago

  Replace Democrats with Trumpublicans then your comment would be true.  

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
1.1.5  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1.3    3 weeks ago
Then Democrats really need to stop their fascist tendencies; stop trying to make any vote irrelevant; and stop ignoring the courts and Constitution.

What a naughty boy you are...hiding your fabulous sense of humor until now.  It just proves that there is hope for us all.  

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.6  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ronin2 @1.1    3 weeks ago
"They would really love to turn the US into the next China."

That would be a switch - since America is trying its best to turn China into America.  LOL  But how could Americans possibly survive without gun violence and with extreme poverty only being a bad memory, or not blaming and demonizing another country for its troubles?

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.2  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago
The problem is that voter restrictions are INTENDED to keep down Democratic vote.

That’s bullshit.     Fighting initiatives like fool proof measures to  prove voter bona fides just reek of election fixing.    No other way to put it.

There are no cases where Democratic state legislatures are trying to prevent Republicans from voting.

and vice versa if one is not biased and/or overly partisan.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Sparty On @1.2    3 weeks ago

John's got a point. Can you name any blue state that is passing legislature on new voting laws?

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1.2.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.1    3 weeks ago

Not legislation per se however , using the Covid excuse, they did change a bunch of rules.......................(which in and of itself is a bullshit way to circumvent legality)

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.2.2    3 weeks ago

OMG! They made it easier for people to vote! Those bastards!

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
1.2.4  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.2.2    3 weeks ago

Rule changes which would benefit all voters in a pandemic, not just the dark skinned ones.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1.2.5  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.3    3 weeks ago

And in doing so, knew that the Democrat turnout would be higher (even in a non covid year) because a lot of people think it's too hard and just can't be bothered to go to the polling place. Catering to the "can't be bothereds". And you need no further evidence of that than the record number of votes.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.2.6  Sparty On  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.1    3 weeks ago

It’s all in a description.    

I’ve managed to find a way to vote in nearly every election since I’ve been old enough to vote.    Even when I was stationed overseas.

I don’t buy most of the lefts “voter suppression” narrative.    It’s largely BS imo and also to most folks I know that have always taken their Civic responsibility to vote very seriously.

And found a way to vote no matter what obstacles were in the way.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.7  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.2.5    3 weeks ago

Did you read John's seed at all?

Higher turnout helps Democrats.   This popular assumption is also false. Political scientists Daron R. Shaw and John R. Petrocik, authors of “The Turnout Myth,” looked at   70 years of election data   and found “no evidence that turnout is correlated with partisan vote choice.”
 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.8  Trout Giggles  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @1.2.4    3 weeks ago

Oh! Snap!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.9  Trout Giggles  replied to  Sparty On @1.2.6    3 weeks ago
It’s all in a description.    

Opinions may vary

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1.2.10  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.7    3 weeks ago

Yes I did and 2020 is an exception to that rule.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
1.2.11  Sparty On  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.9    3 weeks ago

Lol ... yes they do ..... copiously in this case.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.12  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.2.10    3 weeks ago

Turnout in 2020 election spiked among both Democratic and Republican voting groups, new census data shows

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1.2.13  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.12    3 weeks ago

And????? Who didn't know that already?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.14  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.2.13    3 weeks ago

Start with your comment 1.2.5 and read down. I didn't bring up the democrats and their higher turnout for 2020 did I?

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1.2.15  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.14    3 weeks ago

I know. Now compare the numbers with 2016. There were 15.5 million more votes for Mr. Biden than Mrs. Clinton in 2016. Trump, 11.25 million more votes for him in 2020 than 2016. Although there would have obviously been defectors in both parties and/or a difference in the Indies, that's a lot of votes wouldn't you agree?

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Principal
1.2.16  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.14    3 weeks ago

Sorry.  I've gone too far into the weeds on this subject. You are correct and I am wrong and just being picky. But you have to admit, that is one hell of a large number due to those changes..............on both sides.

And the demographics in your link are pretty damned neat.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.17  Trout Giggles  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.2.16    3 weeks ago

Thank-you very much, Jim. I appreciate ya!

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
2  Greg Jones    3 weeks ago

" That’s because tighter voting laws often don’t actually restrict voting all that much. Academics have studied this extensively. A recent well-researched study suggested that  Voter ID laws do not reduce turnout . States tighten or loosen their voting laws, often seemingly without a big effect on turnout. The general rule is that people who want to vote end up voting."

That pretty much sums it up. In reality, it's never been easier to vote. And the people most assuredly don't want centralized Federalized control of local and state elections

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
3  Hal A. Lujah    3 weeks ago

There have been very clear cases of districts purposely closing polls in Democratic areas using obscure justification like failure of the site to meet ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) specifications, thus forcing huge lines, confusion, and longer travels to find where to vote.  As a land development professional, I can guarantee you that I can find plenty of technical ADA violations in nearly any location in this country because the ADA technical specifications are entirely vague and much of the time literally impossible to meet.  ADA is one of the most poorly written pieces of legislation ever formulated at the federal level, and it is now being used to justify the sleazy political objective of voter suppression.

As an example of how flawed the ADA is, consider the fact that it was hastily formulated in part to benefit war veterans in the 60’s, and has not been updated in any meaningful way to address advances in mobility for the disabled or to fix the parts that are so poorly written that they are impossible to apply to the letter of the law.  Ten years ago an attempt to improve this legislation was drafted, called PROWAG, or Public Right-of Way Accessibility Guidelines.  It is important to note the PROW part of this acronym, as it was only intended to apply to public right-of way - regardless of the fact that ADA applies to all spaces where the public is free to access.  This is an attempt by state and local governments to exempt themselves from some of the most poorly written parts of this flawed legislation, while telling the private business sector to go fuck itself and continue to be subject to breaking federal law that is many times impossible to comply with.

The funny part is that since federal legislation moves at the speed of the federal government, after ten years the DoJ has yet to actually adopt this amended legislation into the still heavily flawed ADA.  So even though state and local jurisdictions can use it to strike down some discriminatory lawsuits against them, technically they are still in violation of federal law - kind of like marijuana laws.  So why is it that the ADA continues to languish in its decrepit form?  I have my own theory on this.  Politicians are spineless creatures, and the only way to fix the ADA is to relax some of the technical specifications to comply with reality.  No politician wants to hand their opponent the opportunity of an attack ad that condenses such a complicated issue into a sound bite that asks why their opponent hates the disabled so much that they are fighting to eliminate protections offered by ADA.  My two cents.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Expert
4  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    3 weeks ago

Democrats who fail to defend democracy are called Republicans.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Masters Principal
5  Nerm_L    3 weeks ago

All of this is about one, and only one, election.  The Presidential election is the only national election.  The Vice President isn't even an elected official any longer; candidates for Vice President are appointed by Presidential candidates.  All other elections in the United States, without exception, are local and state elections.

Why should the Federal government have authority over local and state elections?  Even those elected to Congress are not serving in a national office; they are serving their local and state constituency.  Voters in New York are not allowed to vote for Congressional candidates on the ballot in Ohio.   Yet the national political parties are providing a way for New York voters to meddle and interfere in Ohio elections.  Why isn't that meddling and interference in local and state elections a threat to democracy?

How do Democrats justify their complaints about national party control over local election boards while using facts to show no election fraud?  How do Democrats justify their allegations of voter suppression in the face of voter turnout?  If there is data and facts that clearly shows election fraud and hampered voter turnout then why haven't Democrats given us those facts?  Democrats are gaslighting us into believing they are fixing a problem that the data and facts show isn't a problem.

What we need is more regulation of national political parties.  The increased meddling and interference in local and state elections by national political parties is not strengthening democracy.  The national political parties are the real threat to our democracy.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
5.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Nerm_L @5    3 weeks ago

It may be only one nationally elected official, but that official is regarded as the leader of the free world, wielding power tremendous enough to bring about end times.  Let’s not lose sight of that.  Every US citizen deserves equal access to that one particular vote.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Expert
5.2  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @5    3 weeks ago
The national political parties are the real threat to our democracy.

Just as George Washington predicted they would be...

 
 
 
Moose Knuckle
Freshman Participates
6  Moose Knuckle    3 weeks ago

Our politicians are all anti democratic. They rape our economy for personal wealth, they lie cheat and steal, every last one of them. We should burn them all at the stake and start a new.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
6.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Moose Knuckle @6    3 weeks ago

We should burn them all at the stake and start a new.

How Libertarian.  And while we spin our wheels rebuilding the system that makes our vast infrastructure work, the rest of the developed world will be running circles around us leaving us in the dust.  By the time we catch up, we end up in with the same conditions we set fire to in the first place.  A democratic republic needs to be continually pruned, not cut down and harvested.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
7  Sparty On    3 weeks ago

Republicans who fail to defend democracy exist only in the TDS ridden, hive rotted brain.

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
8  Kathleen    3 weeks ago

I have always felt that many politicians spend too much time doing things that don't help their own party. Both parties can benefit by working with people that can do a better job in their positions.

 
 

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