Former President Obama recently told an audience at a pre-election rally in Arizona that democracy “may not survive” the midterms. This was a sort of closing argument to Democrat voters. It affirmed warnings, issued by other politicians, that “democracy is on the ballot.” In her column, the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel counts four cycles of “histrionic claims of external threats, internal menace and political demise.” Donald Trump has been the Left’s foil. But this time, he was “neither on the ballot nor in the White House.” Voters cited their top concern as inflation, not democracy.
Ms. Strassel calls this a “Non-Drama Election” and concludes that “most Americans are exhausted by hysteria, impeachment, live congressional investigations, conspiracy theories and politicians who keep wrecking standards and norms in the name of saving democracy.” What most Americans want, she writes, is “a governing class that acknowledges their real problems, presents a somber plan for tackling them, engages in regular order and — more than anything — meets that baseline requirement of acting grown up.”
Is democracy at risk because some Americans question the fairness of elections? The best response to concerns about fairness and fraud is to pass laws making elections more secure — making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Following the 2020 elections, to the dismay of the Left, several states did just that. Plus, concern for the security of elections motivated more citizens to be trained and serve as poll watchers and election judges this cycle.
There’s a sense in which democracy will protect itself. Jonah Goldberg, editor of The Dispatch, explains that “democracy is about disagreement. It’s about arguments.” He says, “It’s a hedge against tyranny and a way to settle differences without resorting to the sword.” Democracy is a mechanism for the correction of errors, for the redemption of mistakes.
Believing saints, we protect democracy by participating in it — with wisdom — for the sake of our interests and those of the country.