The dreck about Trump ending 'democracy'

Swamp regular Admiral James Stavridis has taken his best shot at addressing a phony issue: whether "democracy" is dying, killed off by President Trump, presumably, by offering reassuring words to the left and the Washington establishment about its durability in a cover essay in Time.  Axios has the write-up and a photo of the cover.

I suppose a lot of them are going to take grim satisfaction from it, given the level of hysteria on the left about President Trump's very existence.

But it rather too cutely frames a canard.  The left, including Time magazine, seems all in for the idea that democracy is crumbling – get a load of the magazine's new cover – and is using Stavridis to say grand things in response.  It's incredible windbaggery.

Stavridis writes:

Once again, it seems, democracy has a competitor.  Strongmen are rising in part because elected governments are struggling to address new challenges: global migration, technological advances, transnational terrorism, international economic unrest.  More and more people are willing to try, or tolerate, another approach.

He cites a lot of countries with problems that have elected strongmen, as if that's never been done before, and after that, he doesn't take long to get to what he and his readers really want: President Trump, the great destroyer of democracy.

Trump himself has shunned traditional norms: his documented falsehoods now number in the thousands, and his rhetoric seeks to chill freedom of the press and undermine the nation's institutions of democracy.

Perhaps Trump views his embrace of America's longtime ideological foe as a clever negotiating strategy.  Others see a darker future in which political speech is punished, religions are oppressed and the rights of millions are taken away.  Media coverage and recent books underscore the doomsday scenario, from David Runciman's How Democracy Ends to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Fascism: A Warning.  Writing recently in these pages, my friend and fellow TIME contributor Ian Bremmer warns that "the greatest threat may be the strongmen yet to come."  These and other historically literate observers contemplate a future in which democracy has been bested.

But it is far too early to lose hope.  This is a fight that has been won before and will be won again, even without much help from the White House.

He wraps it up with more calls for social welfare spending – a leftist's idea of "democracy."

We can all hope that the battle to defend democracy will be less costly in the 21st century than in the previous one.  We can enhance our chances of winning by empowering women, boosting programs that fight economic inequality and teaching our children the critical thinking skills they need to separate truth from lies.

It's stupid stuff, because President Trump hasn't wrecked anybody's democracy.  The wreckage came earlier, back when President Obama spied on and jailed journalists, sicced the Internal Revenue Service on Tea Party dissidents, undermined police just doing their jobs to whip up racial animus, and allowed his own party cronies – from secretary of state Hillary Clinton to Attorney General Loretta Lynch to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson (and plenty of others) – off scot-free no matter what they did – even after massive evidence of lawbreaking.  You want to wreck a democracy?  It's easy: create one set of laws for one group of people and another set of laws for everyone else.  Oh, and don't forget the hash Obama made of immigration laws, which is the purview of Congress, not the Executive Branch – and the millions of incentivized illegals who rolled in as a result, knowing that U.S. law would never affect them.

That was the ragged state of democracy that directly led to the sharp voter rebuke that followed in the election of President Trump.  Yet Time runs this rubbish, in another coda to its long record of running anti-Trump covers designed to sting.  Just a Google search will show that much.  (Cautionary note: Some of those covers are satire, but plenty are real.)

Two things are annoying about Stavridis's analysis.  One, he seems to agree that President Trump has damaged democracy, which, he argues, is ultimately too strong for him.  Yet like any swamp thing (and he proved himself one when he said he was "speaking as someone who was interviewed for possible positions by both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump"), he doesn't cite a single example of it.  Did someone get thrown in jail for speaking out of turn?  Did someone get the IRS sicced on him?  Did we all lose the right to free speech?  Are we no longer free to travel?  Can we no longer associate with the people we want to associate with?  Did someone take our guns away?  Are our courts no longer independent?  Are people being hauled off in the dead of night?

Basic constitutional freedoms aren't under any threat whatsoever.  In fact, by cutting the size of government and throwing out the Bangladesh-style spaghetti bowl of regulations our businesses have had to deal with, Trump has extended our freedoms.  How does a guy who cuts government and makes individuals richer amount to a dictator?  How does that square?

He's actually someone who represents the good side of populism, as this must-read essay by Victor Davis Hanson demonstrates, with far more authentic historic acumen, not the fake stuff Stavridis is projecting.

Second, Stavridis brings up the hackneyed stuff about globalism, that people have tired of democracy because the world is changing rapidly and we can't handle it, while technology scares us.

No, here's the problem: we were sick of one side always winning – the left side, the activist side.  No matter what crazy ideas and invented rights they foisted on us, what we wanted never mattered.  That went for illegals suddenly getting the right to be illegals, cops always being the bad guy whenever someone knocked over a liquor store and claimed to be black as an excuse, transvestites winning the right to use the women's restroom.  One and only one side ever won in these matters.

The former admiral also speaks of censorship on social media, citing the Chinese as an example – and neglects to mention that no, censorship is rather real as a result of technology.  He may notice China as a censor of posts, but the rest of us notice the leftists from Facebook and Twitter censoring conservatives and then taking tax and legal breaks by claiming themselves "neutral platforms," evading liability laws the press observes.  For every conservative they censor as "a threat to the community," some crazed terrorist or spray-shooter gets through with no editing whatsoever.

It was the hypocrisy of the standing order that brought Trump as a corrective.  Yes, he can seem uncouth, but that's evidence he's a fighter.  Americans are thrilled he's a man who keeps his promises.  They love how he's extended their rights and freedoms by restoring rule of law and getting rid of bad ones.  This is a big change and the real restorative power of democracy.

Why can't he just admit it?

Looks as though there's too much at stake for the swamp and its press minions to promote anything else.

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