The Anti-Democratic Democratic Left

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

Joe Biden has claimed that his opponents are assaulting democracy on the basis of the January 6, 2020, buffoonish riot.

Aside from the fact that storming the Capitol Rotunda sometimes is apparently deemed permissible—as in the recent pro-Hamas takeover of it—or aside from the fact that disrupting a federal government proceeding is deemed exempt—as in the recent pro-Hamas throng that blocked the route of the presidential motorcade and thus delayed the State of the Union address to the nation by 26 minutes—who really is attacking democracy?

Take the Supreme Court. After the Court went to a 6-3 conservative majority, liberal law professors, progressive activist groups, and many ends-justify-the-means Democrats in Congress began advocating “packing the court” to gain additional new billets for left-wing judges.

In other words, the left had little confidence that it would hold the White House and the Senate when a judicial opening came up, so it sought to force the issue while it had the power in both.

Formerly, any such notion would have been written off as lunatic and dangerous, given that the nine-justice Supreme Court has been canonized for 155 years since 1869. Second, during the last time Democrats attacked the nine-justice Supreme Court over its supposedly too conservative rulings—Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 notorious court-packing scheme—even fellow liberals opposed the toxic gambit. They knew that it would only lead to a tit-for-tat fluid court every time a new administration took power.

Then there was the public demonization of the court, which saw efforts to scare it into “correct” rulings. The effort was multifaceted.

Sometimes the left-wing method was direct intimidation. So in 2020, then Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) led a throng of pro-abortion protestors to the court’s very doors, threatening Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh by name. He was not subtle in his warnings: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you.”

Hit you? Pay the price?

Later, when left-wing mobs thronged at the private homes of some conservative judges with the intention of intimidating them and leveraging their decisions—in violation of a 1950 federal law—the Biden administration did nothing. No wonder a potential assassin soon showed up near the home of Justice Kavanaugh, and, fortunately, did not go through with his planned attack.

Nor was the 2022 leaker ever found who illegally disclosed confidential memos on the court’s future rulings on abortion. In the recent State of the Union address, Joe Biden spoke directly to the seated justices and seemed to level yet another threat: “With all due respect, justices, women are not without electoral or political power…You’re about to realize just how much.” In some sense, Biden was following the precedent of Barack Obama, who in his 2010 State of the Union address made a direct attack on the justices of the Supreme Court, many of whom were in attendance.

In sum, during the years of liberal majorities, the left once defended the sacrosanct nature of the third branch of government. Now, when rulings do not always go their way, they seek to discredit and impugn it. And they employ direct intimidation, willful blindness to threats to the justices’ private homes, and plans to alter the makeup of the court to fit their ideological agendas.

Democracy is also endangered by radical efforts to alter decades of voting protocols to achieve short-term political advantage. Never has a political party organized its state attorney generals and kindred courts to ban their likely opposing presidential candidate from state ballots.

Yet Colorado, Illinois, and Maine did just that in an effort to erase Trump’s name from their state ballots, on grounds that he was an “insurrectionist,” despite never being charged with, much less convicted, of “insurrection.” The anti-democratic effort was designed to deprive millions of voters of their right to vote for the candidate of their choice and to diminish the chances of down-ballot state and local Republican candidates.

In 2020, under the guise of the COVID lockdowns, anti-democratic liberal activists sued or sought out sympathetic bureaucrats in numerous states to overturn state voting laws, a right traditionally given to the state legislatures by the Constitution. They proved so successful that, in a historical first, 68% of Americans in 2020 did not vote on Election Day. By design, the vast majority of them were Biden voters—even as the rejection rate of less verifiable mail-in and early voting ballots radically declined.

At various times since the 2017 Trump inauguration, Democratic activists have sought to neuter the 235-year-old Electoral College by circumventing it through the so-called “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.” The effort would force electors to reflect the national rather than their own states’ votes. Earlier, following the 2016 election, the Left organized a concentrated effort—saturating the media with ads featuring Hollywood celebrities— to convince electors to reject the popular vote counts in their states that Trump had won, and instead to become “faithless electors” and swing the election to Hillary Clinton.

The anti-democratic left has railed about ending the 187-year-old filibuster—but only when Democrats are a minority in the Senate. And many in the Democratic Congress have lobbied to admit Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, as states in order to gain four new left-wing senators, thus ending the 65-year-old 50-state union.

Never before had impeachment been envisioned as a normal political ploy to weaken a first-term president once he lost his House majority. Yet the Democratic House majority, for the first time in history, impeached a first-term president twice. And also, for the first time, Democrats tried him as a private citizen in the Senate and rushed to judgment without a special counsel investigation or report.

There are two themes in the left-wing assault on American democracy’s rules, protocols, and long-held traditions. One, the left advocates changing or ending an institution only when it has lost control of it. And two, it would charge as “insurrectionary” any similar Republican effort to do the same.

The January 6, 2020, riot was a stupid and dangerous gambit. But the buffoonish act was certainly not an “insurrection” that justified militarizing the capital for weeks, stocking a congressional investigating committee with partisans, or using the day to permanently delegitimize the Trump candidacy.

No one arrested was armed. Many of the rioters were let into the Capitol by law enforcement. And we now know that Trump actually did request 10,000 guardsmen to keep the peace, a fact covered up by the January 6 committee.

Insurrectionists do not advise their partisans to march “peacefully and patriotically” to the Capitol. Of the five who died on January 6, four likely died from natural causes. The left spread a gargantuan lie that Capitol Officer Sicknick was killed by “insurrectionists.” But in fact, he died the following day from natural causes.

The left also suppressed news of the circumstances surrounding the one violent death of Trump protestor Ashli Babbitt—the unarmed military veteran who was lethally shot while entering a broken window. The name of the shooter, an officer of the Capitol police, in a first, was deliberately suppressed by the media for months.

A prize-winning New York Times reporter claimed that the FBI informants were numerous among the crowd. The number, nature, and purpose of such informants were never disclosed by the FBI.

Of course, not all riots that threaten federal property and functions are deemed the same. In summer 2020, Antifa and BLM fueled 120 days of street violence. The result was $2 billion in property damage, 35 deaths, 1,500 officers injured, and 14,000 arrests.

The violent looters, arsonists, and demonstrators likewise focused on government facilities. But rather than swarming the Capitol, they torched a federal courthouse, a police precinct, and a historic Washington, DC, church. They tried to swarm the very White House grounds and harm the president, who was whisked by the Secret Service to a secure bunker—a fact mocked by the New York Times.

There are two other symptoms of the Democratic assault on democracy. One is the use of the courts to nullify the candidacy of the left’s presidential opponent in the 2024 election. Many things can be said of the lawfare waged against Donald Trump, but two themes are uncontestable: one, if he had not run for reelection in 2024, he would not have been targeted; and two, were he a man of the left, he now would have no legal worries. Trump’s fate, by design, will be in the hands of big blue-city, left-wing prosecutors, judges, and jury pools.

There are commonalities in such lawfare: Laws are being used in novel fashion solely to “get Trump.” Statutes of limitation are suddenly waived to go after Trump. Federal laws are being bootstrapped by state prosecutors. Some of the prosecutors are themselves compromised and have likely either violated judicial canons or may be subject to prosecution.

Judges are not shy about expressing their dislike for Trump from the bench. Some prosecutors have coordinated with the White House. And the application of justice is blatantly asymmetrical, given that Trump is being tried for some crimes that Biden himself has committed but has been exempted from.

So our institutions have been corrupted in an anti-democratic and purely partisan fashion. The FBI, along with the Clinton campaign and its paywalls, hired a foreign national, Christopher Steele, to smear a presidential candidate in conjunction with the 2016 campaign. The agency also contracted social media censors to suppress news deemed unhelpful to the 2020 Biden campaign.

FBI directors have lied under oath or pled amnesia before Congress when questioned about the agency’s efforts to interfere in the election process. The Department of Justice has also been weaponized. It has sought to exempt the Biden family, violent pro-abortion protestors, and various radical groups from prosecution, even as it goes after pro-life activists and parents at school board meetings. It has segregated January 6 protestors in solitary confinement without charges being filed for months.

On campuses, it is the anti-democratic left, not the right, that has de facto suspended the First Amendment and denied free speech and expression. The left has repeatedly violated both the spirit of the Civil Rights Act and the letter of the law in its use of racial discrimination (the “good” “anti-racism”) to hire, promote, and admit on the basis of race and gender.

It has neutered the right to due process in its frequent kangaroo courts as it tries students for anti-woke thought crimes. And universities have violated freely and brazenly various civil rights statutes that prohibit racial segregation in housing and public spaces, as they institutionalized racially separate graduations, safe spaces, and dorms.

Most disturbing has been the weaponization of the U.S. military. It was on record, in promising to scour the ranks for so-called white supremacists. Yet by December 2023, the Pentagon admitted it discovered no such cabals. But it did drum out some 8,400 veteran soldiers for not being vaccinated, despite most having developed natural immunity from prior infections.

It instituted race- and gender-based protocols for recruitment and promotion and inaugurated an entire woke DEI apparat. Yet now it faces a shortfall of some 40,000 recruits. Mostly the dearth of manpower is due to the fiasco in Afghanistan, coupled with the loud accusations from the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on down that whites as a collective are somehow under automatic suspicion—supposedly dangerously embittered by the new Diversity/Equity/Inclusion woke Pentagon protocols.

The country has become wary of its own officers. During 2020, retired generals and admirals brazenly violated the uniform code of military justice by openly and publicly smearing and slandering their own Commander in Chief.

Some, along with a former Pentagon lawyer, called for a military intervention, a veritable coup, to remove the president, well apart from scheduled elections. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs freelanced by contacting his communist Chinese counterpart to apprise him that should his own president call a state of emergency possibly involving nuclear weapons, Gen. Mark Milley would first forewarn the Chinese about the actual nature of the threat and intent of the American president.

The Left talks grandly of “democracy dies in darkness” as Joe Biden beats the dead horse of January 6 to warn that democracy is in its greatest peril. But all such rhetoric is projection. The verbiage masks the most comprehensive effort in modern American history to radically change, destroy, or warp American laws, customs, and traditions for the short-term aim of gaining and retaining political power.

The rationale is that the left is of such superior morality and wisdom that it has the right to violate the Constitution or the hallowed traditions of the country to achieve the higher end of ensuring a progressive agenda.

In sum, the defense of those destroying democracy is that they are doing it to prevent others from doing what they would do, should they have been on the receiving end of exactly what they are now doing.

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33 thoughts on “The Anti-Democratic Democratic Left”

  1. Democrats want to do away with free elections, and US law and order, as it has been understood by the people for over 200 years.

    Republican leaders must be on guard that Democrats do not illegally alter voting and other electoral processes in 2024, as they did in 2020. They brazenly bragged about it after the election (Molly Ball, NY Times, Jan 2021).

    It behooves all citizens who love their country to vote in November to save it – rest assured that those who hate America will never relent. They have proven that.

  2. Thank you, Professor. That is a pretty good summary of the situation. It would have been nice to have had a comparison to similar situations which were observable in several 20th century countries. One might mention the Reichstag fire and Kristallnacht for example. But it’s understandable that one might not want to go too far in actually naming names.

  3. Narcissistic projection is a psychological defense mechanism that allows a narcissistic individual to avoid acknowledging their flaws and to protect their grandiose self by projecting their shortcomings onto others.

  4. Excellent analysis, Dr. H.

    J6 was Trump’s worst unforced error, and maybe the worst ever for any president. Despite that, it’s distressing to see the left so enthusiastically engage in behavior they have to know is unconstitutional. It’s like, in addition to “By any means necessary,” their approach is “Because we can.” Distressing and disgraceful.

  5. Victor, Your summary of anti-democratic acts by the American Leftists reads like relentless waves crashing ashore. The breakwater is holding for the moment but it is being overwhelmed and undermined. How much longer can it stand? The Leftist can now taste victory.

    The Leftists have tested our electoral system and found it so vulnerable to fraud that they could run a basement dwelling, demonstrably corrupt and demented candidate, and win. They tested the Executive branch and found they could successfully manage a scarecrow president who would take orders from a shadow Leftist cabal and never being questioned by the American media. They are one fraudulent election away from breaching the breakwater and total power.

    One a finer note, Ashli Babbitt was murdered by the Capitol Police Officer. It was clear to see on video. She was unarmed and posed no deadly threat. There was no warning given. There were people pushing her through the window and police officers directly behind her. She was murdered and there were no consequences for the shooter. Everyone is a witness.

  6. Danny Alexander

    Why was VDH not chosen to give the SOTU rebuttal, instead of that pathetic performance by a Tic Toc girl posing as a senator?

  7. So there were 154 who died of ‘natural causes’ on Halloween in South Korea, including several US citizens and Korean military personnel!
    Rosane Boyland was pushed to the ground and crushed under other bodies as Capitol Police forced the crowd out of the tunnel. Several individuals attempted to give Ms Boyland mouth to mouth and CPR before they were able to get Capitol police to move Ms Boyland back into the Capitol and get EMT assistance. Unfortunately it was too late. The autopsy did find her perscription medication in her system but the odds that was the cause of death is unlikely and disputed by her family. Much in the same manner of those 154 fatalities in Itaewon South Korea, being crushed to death is not natural!

  8. Thank you for the comprehensive article. The Left does not want to work within our Constitution and is working to fundamentally change our nation. Like many others, I fear the worst coming up ahead of the 2024 election. In my nearly 62 years as an American, I can recall no time more dystopian than that of 2024.

  9. One thing left out. The Senate Democrats support, including illegals in the census. This will affect the distribution of congressional seats and give the Democrats,they hope, a permanent majority. The whole “open border“ is designed as a coup to keep the Democrats in power permanently. Compared to this, other woke offenses pale.

  10. Definitely and hopefully, these leftists hopefully will be on the receiving end come next January.

    Tit is needed to stop tat.

  11. You missed your calling as a SotU rebuttal speech writer. And yet the trap laid by the actual SotU isn’t worth falling for. Your drum beating must continue.

  12. Susan Singleton

    Well said!! As I read your remarks, I wished I could send this to friends and family. They persist in packing their brains with the illogical premises of the Left, as expressed in propaganda by the Press.
    Your podcasts are marvelous, and have helped me organize my own thinking about the purpose of government.
    I remember years ago when Glenn Beck and his blackboard diagrams were educating us on the future takeover by the Marxists.

  13. edward McFarlane

    Prof Hanson – clearly the left is loaded with hypocrisy as you point out. They no longer fear that the “other side” will do the same to them when in power. The objective of their approach is to make sure the other side is never in power, and the United States becomes a one-party country. I believe that collectively we need to sound the alarm that unless the “other side” actually does get into power, this election, this year that there is no longer any moderation in the democrat party. The only two voices of any moderation – Manchin and Sinema are gone, should they be replaced by democrats the court will be stacked and the filibuster will go away. Then look out.

  14. The Left has no ethics, no morals. Only desire for power, and the money power can suck. Any talk of principles is marketing.

  15. Victor – Who is responsible for enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice?

    Why weren’t the retired generals and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mark Miley, charged with crimes?

  16. Victor – Who is responsible for keeping mobs from intimidating and influencing Supreme Court judges in violation of federal law?

    Why weren’t the judges protected?

  17. Yet the unthinking left is and will keep regurgitating the phrase “threat to democracy “ whenever President Trump is mentioned

  18. The sad part is that when Jesus comes back, if the dems had their chance, they would try and crucify him again. They hate God, the Bible disgusts them, and they are devoid of any character, morality, and just crave power while living inside their gated community with their security detail in full force.

    What is amazing is how fast this all happened after Jan 20, 2021. They wasted no time in destroying the American way of life. Their ideology shifted 180 degrees so fast it was like a blink of an eye and the border was open to all.

  19. Once again proof that unless the subject is election integrity the subject is a distraction. Without election integrity the left cannot be stopped. With election integrity the left cannot succeed. They know it. Isn’t it time for the right to make it their #1 issue?

  20. Stephen A. Hill

    Roe V Wade can be reargued as follows: “At some point, a clump of Human Cells has to stop being treated as a cancer, and must be treated as a person. Once a clump of Human Cells becomes a person, a State is Constitutionally mandated to afford the fetus Equal Protection Under the Law. Under the 10th Amendment, a State can select when a fetus becomes a person.” And if the Rule of Law is suspended by the Left, then they have set the stage for a second American Revolution.

    1. A human being exists when the ovum and sperm cells unite. The conceived individual has a full complement of human DNA, one set from each parent. The diploid number of chromosomes will continue to direct the growth of the new person.

      God has designed the development of people in the womb. The psalmist praises God for his work in creating him. God not only creates but knows and determines the future for that individual.

      Psalm 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was not of them.

  21. There are rats in: Corpo. rat. e and Democ. rat Republicans and Democrats implement Machiavellian duplicity. Read The Prince and What would Machiavelli Do: The Ends justify the Meanness by Stanley Bing. Freud: The times are gloomy fortunately it’s not my job to brighten them. Will Rogers: Don’t worry things will get better despite our efforts to improve them.

  22. Tally Rosengren

    Interesting that both parties seem to be saying the same things about each other. Why not quit squabbling and get some very important things done.
    Also, just because something is old doesn’t make it perfect. That’s why we have the amendments.

  23. Victor,

    Great column as always. One slight correction: the Capitol riot was on 1/6/21, not 1/6/20.

    Thank you,

    Mike Nelli

  24. Robin D Gallese

    Dear Dr VDH,

    Your insight, analysis, critical reasoning, historical expertise, and whichever other terms signify your unfailing contribution to the truth and to reality are appreciated more than I can state.

    In spite of my record level of cynicism in our “public servants,” I continue to be optimistic that the indominable American spirit will be victorious over the rot.

    Grouchy old lady

  25. Stop playing checkers while the Demo’s are playing chess. Imitate their new found election process’s to the tee.
    3 am declare the Republicans have won and challenge anyone who disputes the record results. This unfortunately is the state of our affairs. Power and money.

  26. Hanson’s prescriptions are accurate. But there is no cure forthcoming. We saw the Hildabeast destroy tens of thousands of classified emails without penalty. Why?

    We saw the government burn women and children to death at Waco because they were a fringe religious group. Nothing was done to the ATF or FBI nor DOJ. Why?

    America saw a woman armed with a deadly baby shot down for no reason by the FBI? What was done. The usual, zip.

    We saw the FBI ignore terrorist attack after terrorist attack, the World Trade Center (twice), Las Vegas, Boston, California, Florida, the San Antonio FT Hood Muslim massacre. Bush, Clinton, Obama and above all Biden have weaponized the government and developed the Stasi. There is no oversight, no punishments depending on party and rank. Only the proles get punished and that depends on their color.

    When justice is denied, when the government is your enemy, when your representatives treat invaders better than Americans, there is no excuse for compromise, remedies, negotiation. A purge, full and complete is required to cleanse these corrupt monsters who rotate from academia, corporations, foundations and the government to destroy this nation.

    The GOP does nothing. They have stolen the ballot box, are shutting down the soap box, and are trying to seize the cartridge box. I for one have lived in people’s paradises. I will not live in another.

    1. Thank you dear sir or madam,for what you just said says it all so clearly and know one old vet is with you 100%…… Locked & Loaded!

  27. Democrats seem to want it both ways
    Anything they do is legitimate and above board
    Anything that the opposition does is ILlegitimate
    SCOTUS declares against them, the Court is wrong and must be destroyed
    Anything the Court does in their favor calls for dancing in the streets
    If Repubs win an election, it is false and there MUST have been interference
    If Dems win, no matter how much evidence of tampering, game over, it’s legit
    They protest, no matter how destructive, disrupting and violent, and it’s “the will of the people”
    Even when “fiery but peaceful”
    When the opposition protests, no matter how civilized, it’s a violent insurrection and people must be sent to the dankest pits of the gulag

  28. “The Anti-Democratic Democratic Left, 31 Comments/March 11, 2024.”

    It looks better as, “The Anti-Democratic Democrat Left.” The Democrat Left is Anti-Democratic. Why conceal it?


    Yes! All that does add up to “the most comprehensive effort in modern American history to radically change, destroy, or warp American laws, customs, and traditions for the short-term aim of gaining and retaining political power.”

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