In a tweet sent out over the weekend, Rob “Meathead” Reiner declared that “For our Democracy to survive, two things have to happen. Donald Trump needs to be Convicted for Jan. 6th and there can be no Third Party Candidate.”
Reiner’s comment was so blatantly anti-democratic that it elicited an avalanche of criticism, some of it from leftists who didn’t particularly like the idea of barring third-party candidates. As one person on X (formerly known as Twitter) responded: “Better make sure there’s no second party candidate either, just to be safe. For Democracy.”
Another way of putting what Reiner said: We need to kill democracy in order to save it.
So, who cares what Reiner thinks? Well, alarming as his view might be, it’s fast becoming the position of a huge swath of Democrats. Namely, that the biggest threat to “democracy” is that people won’t vote the way the left wants them to, and that anything, including violence, is acceptable to avoid that fate.
Hard Reality: For our Democracy to survive, two things have to happen. Donald Trump needs to be Convicted for Jan. 6th and there can be no Third Party Candidate.— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) September 8, 2023
We noted in this space recently how the left has started labeling anything it don’t like as a threat to “democracy.”
Election laws designed to mitigate fraud are threats to democracy. ‘Misinformation’ – defined as anything the left doesn’t like to hear – is a threat to democracy. Recent Supreme Court rulings are a threat to democracy. The prevalence of guns is a threat to democracy. Climate change is a threat to democracy. The ‘war on woke’ is … you guessed it … a threat to democracy.
In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen headlines such as:
- “The GOP’s impeachment push is an attack on democracy”
- “Elon Musk Is a Threat to Democracy”
- “Georgia criminalizing post-George Floyd protests is a new blow to democracy”
- “Trump’s Threat to Democracy Is Now Systemic”
- “Threats to democracy: Climate misinformation and gendered disinformation”
- “The Supreme Court’s ‘Major Questions Doctrine’ Is a Threat to Democracy”
- “Housing Crisis a Threat to Democracy”
- “Doug Jones: Third party presidential bids ‘threat to democracy’”
- “Vivek Ramaswamy Is a Threat to Democracy”
These endless sky-is-falling alarms have nothing to do with protecting democracy. They have everything to do with the left’s desire to squelch debate. By claiming that one side is a threat to democracy, there’s no need to engage in discussion.
The flip side is that violence becomes an acceptable alternative. If one side is threatening democracy, a violent response might seem justified.
And that’s exactly what a recent poll showed is happening.
The University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats asked 3,543 adults about the use of violence to achieve various political ends. (We commented on this poll a while back.)
One of the questions asked if “The use of force is justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency.” The survey found that 3.9% of Republicans “strongly agree” with that statement, with another 5.6% saying they “agree.”
The press hyper-focused on that finding. But given that the same survey found that 42% of Republicans believe Joe Biden stole the 2020 election, that 9.5% doesn’t seem all that shocking..
Let’s look at another question from the survey: Is “The use of force . . . justified to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president”?
Turns out that 16.1% of Democrats agreed with that statement, with almost one in 10 saying they “strongly agree.”
Think about the difference between those two questions and the implication of those responses. On one hand, 9.5% of Republicans say force is justified to protect democracy by installing the duly elected president.
On the other hand, 16.1% of Democrats say force is justified to prevent a duly elected president from taking office.
Now ask yourself, which side is a threat to democracy? Those who want elections to be decided by voters according to the laws set forth in the Constitution, or those who would be willing to use violence to stop a duly elected president from taking office?
We would love to hear Meathead’s answer. But we have a good idea what it would be.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board