'Scholars' Release 'Statement of Concern' Declaring 'Democracy' Dead in America Unless Nancy Pelosi's Election Power Grab Is Passed

(AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

The 2020 elections were a disgrace. Under the guise of responding to a bogus “public health emergency,” tried and true processes were cast aside, some by state officials and others by power-crazed federal judges, and replaced with a mishmash of ill-conceived and arbitrary rules that seemed, putting the best gloss on them, tailored to “do something.”  To look at them more skeptically, the rule changes give the appearance of being an overt attempt to corrupt the electoral system. The alacrity with which the political and judicial systems overseeing contested elections have dismissed for ‘lack of standing’ challenges have fed suspicions that the fix was in before the first ballot was cast. Indeed, according to an Ipsos/Reuters poll released last week, 56% of all Republicans believe the election was stolen.

All the while, state legislatures stood idly by, thumbs firmly inserted in their fourth point of contact, and watched their Constitutional authority over the “time, manner and place” of elections usurped without so much as a whimper.

Ostensibly to solve a problem that did not exist prior to the meddling of people not entitled to make election rules, the Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced a monstrous bill that involves nothing less than a federal takeover of all elections. It would expand “voting rights” to the point that the term “registered voter” would have no meaning. Such limits and potential penalties are associated with cleaning up voter rolls that it is safe to say that core Democrat constituency, the deceased, would continue to grow and become more vibrant. State legislatures would be barred from creating Congressional districts, “independent” commissions would have that authority. The Federal Elections Commission would be weaponized. And, in a jab at President Trump, all presidential and vice-presidential candidates would have to disclose ten years of income tax returns.

The bill sailed through the House but stalled in the Senate thanks to its 50-50 split and the refusal of West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Arizona Democrat Krysten Sinema to go along with this travesty. But that has not ended the debate. Enormous pressure is being placed on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to get rid of the filibuster or engage in other legislative sleight-of-hand to pass a bill that is almost certain to be challenged in court and throw the rules for the next election into chaos equally that of 2020.

Into this mess steps a fearless group of “scholars.” Because when you have a tough problem that must be solved and has immense negative consequences if it goes wrong, the people you want involved are pencil-necked twits who’ve never, to paraphrase former District of Columbia Mayor Marion “the bitch set me up” Barry, have never run anything but their mouths.

Today a group of over 100 self-proclaimed “scholars of democracy” posted a “Statement of Concern.” While posing as a plea for transparent elections, the clown-car are merely shills for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The “tell” is that they were not at all concerned about the 2020 election beyond having their panties mostly wadded when President Trump and a lot of Republicans refused to roll over and play dead when faced with mathematically improbable outcomes. I’m appending the statement at the end of this post, or you can read it and the list of morons signing it at this link.

Here is some of the nonsense they are slinging about.

Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes. They are seeking to restrict access to the ballot, the most basic principle underlying the right of all adult American citizens to participate in our democracy. They are also putting in place criminal sentences and fines meant to intimidate and scare away poll workers and nonpartisan administrators. State legislatures have advanced initiatives that curtail voting methods now preferred by Democratic-leaning constituencies, such as early voting and mail voting. Republican lawmakers have openly talked about ensuring the “purity” and “quality” of the vote, echoing arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote.

State legislatures have the right to certify elections. They always have. Having them get more actively involved in oversight rather than being a rubber stamp is not a bad thing. The voting laws these people are sniveling limit ballot access to legal voters. That is a good thing. Attaching criminal penalties to meddling in elections should have been done decades ago; it is a shame that those penalties will not cover federal judges who take it upon themselves to rewrite campaign laws days or hours before the polls open. In my view, early voting and “mail voting” should be banned by Constitutional amendment, be that as it may, permitting states to limit either is the way our federal system is supposed to work.

But by multiple expert judgments, the 2020 election was extremely secure and free of fraud.

Who cares how many “expert judgments” are rendered? “Experts” are not a branch of government. “Experts” can be bought and sold rather cheaply (a workman is worthy of his wages, I read somewhere once). Given the lack of forensic audits, and in the case of mail-in ballots, the impossibility of establishing an audit trail, any expert making such a claim has only beclowned themselves.

And it goes on and on.

Three things stand out. First and foremost is the degree to which this handful of academics has willingly signed onto a highly partisan, largely false,  and totally inflammatory letter (whenever you compare your opponent’s actions to the Jim Crow South, you are barely a gnat’s whisker from violating Godwin’s Law) in service of a highly partisan, anti-American, and unconstitutional agenda. Their lies about the various voting reforms passed in several states are disgusting in their dishonesty. I don’t know who they were trying to persuade, but this ain’t it, Chief. The second feature was their seeming ignorance of US history…perhaps too much time spent using the 1619 Project as a suppository rather than reading the Federalist Papers. Their appeal to “democracy” over and over seemed calculated to impress the truly stupid. We are not a democracy. We are a nation of laws. Our form of government is a federalist one. We are governed by the principle of subsidiarity, the commonsense notion that government should be as close to the people as possible, rather than by top-down, one-size-fits-all totalitarianism.

Lastly, though the odds are that the Democrat election rule-making power grab is dead and the odds are that the 2022 elections will eliminate, temporarily, the threat the Democrat control of Congress poses to the Republic, what will remain is a dedicated cadre of far-left academics at work in our colleges and universities using their sinecures as a perch from which to attack the very essence of what made this nation the freest nation in world history.

Statement of Concern

We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm. Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.

When democracy breaks down, it typically takes many years, often decades, to reverse the downward spiral. In the process, violence and corruption typically flourish, and talent and wealth flee to more stable countries, undermining national prosperity. It is not just our venerated institutions and norms that are at risk—it is our future national standing, strength, and ability to compete globally.

Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes. They are seeking to restrict access to the ballot, the most basic principle underlying the right of all adult American citizens to participate in our democracy. They are also putting in place criminal sentences and fines meant to intimidate and scare away poll workers and nonpartisan administrators. State legislatures have advanced initiatives that curtail voting methods now preferred by Democratic-leaning constituencies, such as early voting and mail voting. Republican lawmakers have openly talked about ensuring the “purity” and “quality” of the vote, echoing arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote.

State legislators supporting these changes have cited the urgency of “electoral integrity” and the need to ensure that elections are secure and free of fraud. But by multiple expert judgments, the 2020 election was extremely secure and free of fraud. The reason that Republican voters have concerns is because many Republican officials, led by former President Donald Trump, have manufactured false claims of fraud, claims that have been repeatedly rejected by courts of law, and which Trump’s own lawyers have acknowledged were mere speculation when they testified about them before judges.

In future elections, these laws politicizing the administration and certification of elections could enable some state legislatures or partisan election officials to do what they failed to do in 2020: reverse the outcome of a free and fair election. Further, these laws could entrench extended minority rule, violating the basic and longstanding democratic principle that parties that get the most votes should win elections.

Democracy rests on certain elemental institutional and normative conditions. Elections must be neutrally and fairly administered. They must be free of manipulation. Every citizen who is qualified must have an equal right to vote, unhindered by obstruction. And when they lose elections, political parties and their candidates and supporters must be willing to accept defeat and acknowledge the legitimacy of the outcome. The refusal of prominent Republicans to accept the outcome of the 2020 election, and the anti-democratic laws adopted (or approaching adoption) in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Montana and Texas—and under serious consideration in other Republican-controlled states—violate these principles. More profoundly, these actions call into question whether the United States will remain a democracy. As scholars of democracy, we condemn these actions in the strongest possible terms as a betrayal of our precious democratic heritage.

The most effective remedy for these anti-democratic laws at the state level is federal action to protect equal access of all citizens to the ballot and to guarantee free and fair elections. Just as it ultimately took federal voting rights law to put an end to state-led voter suppression laws throughout the South, so federal law must once again ensure that American citizens’ voting rights do not depend on which party or faction happens to be dominant in their state legislature, and that votes are cast and counted equally, regardless of the state or jurisdiction in which a citizen happens to live. This is widely recognized as a fundamental principle of electoral integrity in democracies around the world.

A new voting rights law (such as that proposed in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act) is essential but alone is not enough. True electoral integrity demands a comprehensive set of national standards that ensure the sanctity and independence of election administration, guarantee that all voters can freely exercise their right to vote, prevent partisan gerrymandering from giving dominant parties in the states an unfair advantage in the process of drawing congressional districts, and regulate ethics and money in politics.

It is always far better for major democracy reforms to be bipartisan, to give change the broadest possible legitimacy. However, in the current hyper-polarized political context such broad bipartisan support is sadly lacking. Elected Republican leaders have had numerous opportunities to repudiate Trump and his “Stop the Steal” crusade, which led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Each time, they have sidestepped the truth and enabled the lie to spread.

We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary—including suspending the filibuster—in order to pass national voting and election administration standards that both guarantee the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want. Our democracy is fundamentally at stake. History will judge what we do at this moment.