I have written several articles on postings related to politics. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on these political events.
What is governance?
Most discussions about governance assume that everyone involved has the same notion of just what “governance” means. In fact, there may be substantial differences in understanding of what it does mean. So the best starting point in any discussion is a common definition, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. The definition offered here is based on an extensive review of governance literature and validation through my research, teaching, and consulting experience.
Governance is defined here as the dynamic interaction between people, structures, processes and traditions that support the exercise of legitimate authority in provision of sound leadership, direction, oversight, and control of an entity in order to ensure that its purpose is achieved, and that there is proper accounting for the conduct of its affairs, the use of its resources, and the results of its activities.
The definition of governance and the seven pillars of democratic governance offered here draw from common themes that emerge from governance documents of major organizations such as the OECD, World Bank, Southeast Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Agency, Commonwealth Association of Corporate Governance, and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accounts.
Seven pillars of democratic governance
Seven generally accepted, interrelated pillars of democratic, and consequentially “good,” governance follow:
1. Legitimacy is grounded in constitutional documents and incorporation instruments, “rule of law,” respect for traditions, and credibility with key stake/shareholders who “freely” consent to the authority of the governing body. The Canadian Bill of Rights (1960) affirms “men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of Law.” The American Declaration of Independence (1776) captures another essential component of this concept with the following words: “governments…derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
2. Participation (or engagement) is the involvement of electors, shareholders, members and other key stakeholders in planning, decision processes, and evaluation. This allows a governing body to obtain reliable information, serves as a reality check and watchdog, spurs operational efficiency, and provides feedback by users of public services necessary for monitoring access to, and quality of, services. And it clearly defines the lines of accountability.
3. Responsible stewardship is faithful exercise of the duties of due care, diligence, and loyalty in the efficient use of financial and human resources allocated to the purposes for which they were entrusted.
4. Ethical conduct includes respect, honesty, openness, integrity, trustworthiness and fairness in all interactions; commitment to the spirit as well as the letter of laws, rules, regulations, norms and traditions; service to the benefit of primary beneficiaries above service to self; and leadership by example.
5. Transparency requires timely access by electors, shareholders, members, and other key stakeholders to low-cost, relevant, reliable information about finances, products or services, management of resources, and decision processes. Transparent procedures in organizations may include open meetings, accurate disclosure of financial and other critical performance indicators, compliance with freedom of information legislation, and ready accessibility of annual reports and audited financial statements.
6. Predictability refers to the conduct or actions of elected officials/board members and appointed staff. Predictability results primarily from laws, regulations and role definitions that are clear, and known in advance; are fair; and uniformly and effectively enforced. It is essential to stakeholder confidence and public trust that stewardship and fiduciary responsibilities will be properly exercised, that business will be conducted ethically and that projected results are realistic. Predictability encompasses the notion of “promise keeping” captured in the familiar words of Canadian poet Robert Service: “A promise made is a debt unpaid.”
7. Accountability is the capacity of electors, shareholders, and organizational members to call decision-makers to account for their actions. Effective accountability has two components: “answerability” and “consequences.” The first is the requirement to respond periodically to questions concerning one’s official actions. The second is the need for the acknowledgement of achievements or shortcomings…rewards for achievements, and the application of deterrent sanctions for breach of rules or serious deficiencies in performance.
How do we stack up against these principles in North America?
1. Legitimacy: National, provincial/state and local legislative bodies as well as governing bodies of many public institutions (e.g. education) and nonprofits (particularly those with a broad membership base) are elected. Directors of many other public institutions are appointed by the legislative bodies and are thus accountable through them to the electorate.
However, flaws in electoral procedures such as occurred in Florida during the 2000 US presidential election can leave lingering questions about the legitimacy of a particular election (who can forget the “hanging chads?”). Nevertheless, the rule of law prevailed in the ultimate decision of the US Supreme Court. One could go on to dissect the dynamics of the court, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. One could also draw a contrast with the Pakistani president’s removal in 2007 of jurists in Pakistan’s high court in anticipation that its pronouncements on that country’s presidential elections would not be favourable to him.
Legitimacy can be threatened when a candidate is elected under the banner of one political party and then “crosses the floor” to sit as a member of cabinet in an opposing party, as occurred in the Canadian Parliamentary election in 2006. Legitimacy may also be called into question when, as in the case of the recent appointment of a replacement to the US Senate for the outgoing Senator/President-elect, the appointment was made by the discredited former Governor of Illinois.
2. Participation (or engagement): Although the “crossing the floor” example noted in the previous paragraph is not a breach of the traditions of the Westminster Parliamentary system upon which the Canadian system is founded, the fact that it occurred within just a few days after the election was broadly perceived as undermining this principle through breach of trust with the electorate, and undermined his legitimacy in office. Irregularities in registration or electoral procedure that disenfranchise certain voters also breach this principle. They tend to occur with greater frequency in the US than in Canada.
3. Responsible stewardship: Directors of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC recently came under fire, in a highly publicized case of board abdication of its stewardship responsibilities. An independent report concluded that numerous principles of responsible stewardship were violated during the tenure of its former top executive, including overcompensating him and allowing him to create an “imperialistic and insular culture.”
This continues a long tradition of similar, though thankfully not frequent, lapses in board oversight that date back to the early nineties with similar board defaults at the United Way of America, the American and Canadian Red Cross, Canada’s National Arts Centre, the International Olympic Committee and, more recently the Toronto Zoo, being among the most glaring.
Excessive board trust and reliance on charismatic CEOs (rubber-stamping), failure to exercise objective oversight of services independent of management, and failure to “follow the money” or establish effective financial controls (particularly on expense accounts) are the themes that run through these defaults and numerous others in the private sector.
4. Ethical conduct: The 2007 Report on the Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer measures corruption against public experience and perceptions with bribery. North America fares best among the seven regions of the globe. Canada fares somewhat better than the United States. NGOs and religious institutions are rated least corrupt, while political parties, legislative bodies and police – in that order – are rated most corrupt. However, the line between “criminal” bribery and institutionalized lobbying and “influence peddling” may be rather blurry, particularly when these practices involve huge sums of money.
Politicians and political parties that depend upon large campaign donors are almost inevitably compromised to some degree in their capacity to objectively fulfill their duty to act in the best interests of the whole. “Who pays the piper calls the tune.” Surely the relationship between such donors/special interests and political leaders contributed to the lack of regulatory oversight of financial institutions that led to the current global financial crisis.
This makes reform of campaign financing to prevent such corrupting influences even more critical. Canada certainly has a lead over the US in this regard, although not everyone is committed to public financing. The current Canadian government’s attempt in late 2008 to abandon it nearly resulted in a constitutional crisis for this country.
5. Transparency: Nonprofit and public sector organizations, many with open meetings, web posting of key documents (strategic plans, governance policies, annual reports, and sometimes even board minutes) employ high standards of transparency. Public sector organizations are typically subject to “freedom of information” legislation. Nonprofits are usually more transparent than public companies or private corporations.
However there are increasing attempts to prescribe disclosure requirements in the US (Sarbanes-Oxley). Canada’s approach encourages voluntary participation in good governance practices with a “principles-based” approach by publicly listed corporations, although Securities Exchange regulations mandate certain minimal standards. In addition, shareholders’ rights groups such as the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance are pushing corporations in the direction of greater transparency.
6. Predictability: We all know the dismal record of politicians with respect to “promise keeping.” North American politicians typically campaign from the “left or right” and govern from the centre. Once in office, they suddenly gain new insights that make policy promises less feasible. Little wonder they are held in such low esteem.
Just as important to this principle is compliance with laws, regulations, bylaws, and policies. It is also critical that roles and expectations for board and staff alike are explicitly defined, that those roles are fulfilled diligently and with due care, and that rules are fair, and uniformly and effectively enforced. In my experience, a substantial minority of nonprofits engage in practices that are inconsistent with bylaws and/or policies (when they actually have established such policies and role descriptions) and that bylaws and policies are often inconsistent with each other. Predictability is quickly eroded under such circumstances.
7. Accountability: Elected members of governing bodies are regularly required to “face the voters” in periodic elections. This gives the electors an opportunity to express their opinion on the performance of the elected officials…either rewarding them with re-election or punishing them with defeat. Some provinces (e.g. British Columbia) and states (e.g. California) also have recall provisions to remove elected officials. However, the bar is set high for the number of voter signatures required to force a recall vote.
The directors of nonprofit organizations also account to their members through periodic elections where there is a membership base broader than the board of directors itself. While there are usually bylaw provisions that allow for the removal of directors, the actual application of such negative sanctions is rare. The exceptions are more likely to occur when a director’s attendance record falls short of a minimum standard. Sanctions seldom occur as a result of a performance deficiency. The nature of relationships between volunteer board members often makes it easier to just allow the term of the offending director to expire.
Nonprofits also account for their performance through annual general meetings, annual reports, audited financial statements, periodic communications with members, open meetings, and publication of key governance documents.
Publicly traded companies and private corporations are held to account by regulatory requirements for disclosure and the harsh vicissitudes of the market.
How Democrats turn USA into an Authoritarian State:
- Label political opponents a domestic terrorist and an enemy of the state.
- Try to silence your political opponents by canceling their media outlets and supporting by big tech censorship.
- Use the vast power and authority of the state to track and snoop on your political opponents.
- Trying to circumvent constitutional privacy protection by partnering with 3rd parties to do the snooping.
North Americans can be confident that their public institutions warrant a higher degree of trust than those in many other parts of the globe. Nonprofit organizations contribute between 5.7% and 9% of GDP in our respective countries. They employ millions of workers and huge numbers of volunteers, including those on volunteer boards of directors. The nonprofit sector in North America is among the best developed and sophisticated in the world. It is vibrant, committed, and generally produces a higher return on dollars invested than any other sector of the economy. Yet it is not free from falling short on fulfilling the promise of the principles enunciated here. There is always room for improvement. And no sector shows greater promise of rising to that challenge.
Three Pillars of Democratic Empowerment
Brad Delong recently presented what he impishly called ‘The Seven Cardinal Virtues of Equitable Growth’. For me, DeLong’s list is a mixed bag. But there are a few items on the list I would unreservedly endorse. One is his second virtue:
2. Invest. Invest in ideas, in equipment capital, in structures capital, in education: we need more of all forms of investment. Boost public and private investment: we need both kinds.
I also very strongly support the last two items in DeLong’s virtuous septet:
6. We need more equality. If we want to have equality of opportunity 50 years from now, we need substantial equality of result right now.
7. We are going to need a bigger and better government. The private unregulated market does not do well at health-care finance, at pensions, or at education finance. The private unregulated market does not do well at research and early-stage development. The private unregulated market does not do well with commodities that are non-rival. We are moving into a twenty-first century in which these sectors will all be larger slices of what we do, and so a well-functioning economy will need a larger government relative to the private economy than the twentieth century did.
But let me add a few additional items to DeLong’s rousing itemization of the virtues. The Christian thinkers of old, developing their own list of seven virtues, actually distinguished the four cardinal virtues from the three theological virtues. I will steer well clear of theology, but would instead like to make some analogous suggestions in the realm of political ideals. So in amending DeLong’s list of cardinal virtues, let me put forth these Three Pillars of Democratic Empowerment:
I. We need more democracy. And that doesn’t just mean we need more elections and more access to voting. We need more real, honest to goodness, full-participation, deliberative, hands-on democracy. We need more active citizen engagement in all aspects of the processes that determine our future. We need more democracy at the national, regional, state, local and sub-local level. And we also need more democracy inside organizations, including corporations. We need, in a word, an American democratic renaissance.
And since we are dabbling here with analogies to high doctrine, let me put the matter in suitably apocalyptic terms: The 21st century in America is the battlefield on which will be waged a moral and political war to determine which shall be the dominant form of social organization in our country: (i) the democratic form of organization based on the equality of all and the engaged participation of all members of a social organization in the decisions determining the future of that organization, or (ii) the corporate form of organization based on hierarchical systems of command and control. Both of these forms of organization may survive in some degree, but only one can be dominant. Democracy must win. Americans must choose decisively to embrace the best parts of its muddled but vigorous democratic tradition, and extend democratic forms of decision-making throughout the social sphere.
We have to get back into the habit of thinking that the future is not something that only happens to us. It is not a place where fate just happens to land on us with a heavy, unsummoned weight. It is a place we are entitled to deliberate about, argue about and then democratically choose. And once we have made an informed and thoroughly debated choice about what kind of future we want as a people, we then formulate a strategy for getting to the place we have chosen, and execute that strategy.
Some will see this as heresy. For some decades now, Americans have been taught to believe that only evil communists think this way about the future. For the true-blue, decadently neoliberal American, the future isn’t supposed to be chosen or planned in any degree; it’s supposed to be delivered to us by 1,000,000 independent entrepreneurs seeking their own self-interest by building better mousetraps and tastier burritos. Social progress on this model reduces to the indefinite multiplication of just so many improved salsa options at The Burrito Pavilion.
This is a slavish and doltish attitude. It is slavish in that in its ultimate psychological and political effect it defers real power not to the so-called invisible hand, but to those individual titans who happen to possess and control our society’s capital resources. It is doltish in its blind denial of the innumerable examples of the successful implementation of bold, deliberate plans and strategies, both in our society and other societies.
II. We need to advocate for a restructuring of work and life in the United States. Real democratic citizenship and equal dignity for all cannot be realized without changes in the way we live and work. It is impossible to predict how the nature of work will evolve over time. But however that evolution of work goes, we know there will be a great deal of work to be done. The burdens of that work must be divided and shouldered fairly; and the fruits of that work must be shared equally as well. Also, a democratic people cannot afford to exhaust all of their precious, limited time in forging a material living, but must conserve and set aside enough time to do the work of governing their society.
I propose a reduction in formal employment to a firmly enforced, national 4-day work week, with the new open day to be devoted to community and democratic work. Everyone will be expected to participate in or on a school board, a conservation committee, a zoning board, a parks committee, a legislature, government commission etc. In a functioning democracy, everyone needs to be part of the government. Preserving democratic liberty isn’t just a matter of claiming rights; it’s a matter of shouldering responsibilities. Self-government is hard work, and the first rule of democratic understanding is this: govern or be governed. A citizenry can’t govern itself, and make itself into a truly democratic polity, if the heavy demands of income-earning work squeeze out all of the time that needs to be devoted to the responsibilities of engaged and effective participation in democratic society.
III. We need to restore the bargaining power of labor and restore work and the people who do it to a place of privilege over capital and the people who own it. We must commit to a system of 100% full employment, with the public sector permanently mobilized and standing ready to provide work and income-earning opportunities to everyone who is willing and able to work, but for whom the private sector has been unsuccessful in generating a viable employment opportunity. And having done that, we must double the minimum wage and enact suitable compensatory adjustments and restrictions at the top end of the income scale. This is the only way to end the permanent buyers’ market in labor that is responsible for decades of rising inequality and insecurity.
Right now, both of our major parties are failing to grasp this imperative, as is seen in the recent debate over the House of Representatives vote to cut the SNAP program. The ruthless Republican solution is based on permitting plutocratic capitalists to lord it over a demoralized and insecure workforce that must bow and scrape for work and income opportunities, and choose between either accepting whatever degrading and meager opportunities are on offer from the plutocrats or accepting the destitution of unemployment without public assistance. The Democratic welfarist alternative is more humane, but is organized only around the idea of alleviating that ruthlessness somewhat. By failing to push forward toward a commitment to full employment, Democrats passively accept a de facto caste system consisting of the fortunately employed on the one side, and the dependent poor and unemployed recipients of aid on the other side. What is really needed is a powerfully engaged and active public sector that provides all of the work opportunities that the private sector can’t or won’t provide. This is the only way to secure full dignity and democratic equality for all of our fellow-citizens.
By combining some of DeLong’s recommendations for equitable growth with these pillars of democratic empowerment, maybe we can come up with a society that is really worth living in again.
How Will the Coronavirus Reshape Democracy and Governance Globally?
The coronavirus pandemic will likely have a transformative impact on multiple dimensions of democratic politics and on governance more broadly. Global leaders should prepare to respond quickly.
The new coronavirus pandemic is not only wreaking destruction on public health and the global economy but disrupting democracy and governance worldwide. It has hit at a time when democracy was already under threat in many places, and it risks exacerbating democratic backsliding and authoritarian consolidation. Already, some governments have used the pandemic to expand executive power and restrict individual rights. Yet such actions are just the tip of the iceberg.
The coronavirus will likely transform other pillars of democratic governance—such as electoral processes, civilian control of militaries, and civic mobilization—and potentially reset the terms of the global debate on the merits of authoritarianism versus democracy. The pandemic will almost certainly usher in broader effects on governance by overburdening countries’ basic governance functions, taxing their sociopolitical cohesion, exacerbating corruption, unsettling relations between national and local governments, and transforming the role of nonstate actors.
This article surveys this wide spectrum of effects. Of course, much remains uncertain as long as the ultimate scope and severity of the crisis are unknown. As the pandemic penetrates lower-income and fragile states, it will likely have even more profound and unpredictable effects than those visible thus far. This article focuses on the first-order political effects of the pandemic and governmental responses to it. Powerful second-order effects resulting from the unfolding global economic slowdown will pack a further governance punch.
The overall picture is foreboding. Yet the pandemic’s impact may have silver linings. Civil society groups mobilizing responses on the front lines of the pandemic may reinforce democratic vitality at the local level. In some places, effective state responses may shore up trust in government or technocratic expertise. Electoral disruptions may spur needed innovations in election administration. It is essential that supporters of democratic governance everywhere attend to this sweeping range of effects, both negative and positive, to identify entry points and interventions that can preempt long-term political damage and nurture potential gains.
CENTRALIZING POWER AND CLOSING DEMOCRATIC SPACE
As many observers have begun to document, the pandemic is leading to a rapid expansion of executive power around the world, with potentially dramatic implications for democratic space. Over the past month, most countries have restricted public gatherings and citizens’ freedom of movement, and more than fifty countries have declared states of emergency. The severe public health emergency of course requires extraordinary measures. But as the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law has highlighted, such responses should meet basic tests of necessity, transparency, and proportionality. It is also crucial that they be time-bound and subject to periodic review.
There are already signs that some governments are using the crisis to grant themselves more expansive powers than warranted by the health crisis, with insufficient oversight mechanisms, and using their expanded authority to crack down on opposition and tighten their grip on power. Thus, the pandemic may end up hardening repression in already closed political systems, accelerating democratic backsliding in flawed democracies, and further bolstering executive power in democratic countries.
Four interrelated areas of concern stand out in this rush toward new emergency powers and restrictions.
CENTRALIZATION OF POWER
Illiberal leaders are taking advantage of the crisis to further weaken checks and balances and erode mechanisms of accountability, thereby entrenching their positions of power. In Hungary, for example, a new law allows Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree indefinitely, without any parliamentary oversight. In the Philippines, the parliament passed legislation granting President Rodrigo Duterte nearly limitless emergency powers. Similarly, in Cambodia, a new draft law on national emergency would give the government unlimited access to martial power while drastically curtailing citizens’ political rights.
ABRIDGMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
Some authorities are already using the crisis—and their emergency powers—to abridge citizens’ fundamental rights. One particularly clear trend is heightened control over free expression and the media, under the guise of fighting “misinformation” about the virus. The Chinese government has censored information about its response and detained journalists who reported on the outbreak. In Thailand, citizens and journalists who criticize the government’s handling of the crisis face lawsuits and government intimidation. The Egyptian government recently forced a Guardian reporter to leave the country after she had questioned Egypt’s official count of coronavirus cases. In Jordan, the prime minister now has the authority to suspend freedom of expression.
EXPANDED STATE SURVEILLANCE
The crisis is also accelerating governments’ use of new surveillance technologies. In Israel and South Korea, for example, governments are using smartphone location data to track down citizens who may have been exposed to the virus. In Hong Kong, new arrivals must wear electronic location-tracking wristbands; Singapore does extensive contact tracing and publishes detailed information about each known case. While enhanced surveillance is not per se antidemocratic, the risks for political abuse of these new measures are significant, particularly if they are authorized and implemented without transparency or oversight. In India, for example, the government has pressured local media to maintain positive coverage even as it implements troubling strategies such as “requiring quarantined individuals to periodically upload selfies” and using location tracking to ensure that the photo is taken at the individual’s home. The pandemic has given governments in China, Russia, and other authoritarian states greater justification to deploy even more intrusive systems, including widespread use of facial recognition and social media monitoring.
There is a risk that governments may use the current need to restrict public gatherings as a pretext to crack down on the wave of antigovernment protests that have roiled global politics over the past several years. In Algeria, for example, where major protests last year pushed the government toward some political reforms, authorities have banned all protests, marches, and demonstrations. A key issue to watch is whether these bans stay in place indefinitely. Another concern is that they will be enforced in discriminatory ways, meaning that opposition protests could be curtailed while progovernment rallies are tolerated or encouraged. Governments now also have a means to ban protests without officially saying so: shelter-in-place orders have the same effect.
ADDITIONAL RISKS TO DEMOCRACY
The health crisis will likely disrupt or distort democracy in other ways. These unfolding effects have received less attention to date, yet they will be essential to watch in the months ahead.
The pandemic threatens to upend electoral processes around the world. The United States has already delayed several state-level presidential primary votes, and candidates have curtailed rallies and retail-style campaigning. Several European countries—including Italy, North Macedonia, Serbia, Spain, and the United Kingdom—have postponed national or local elections. Ethiopia has as well. In the coming months, elections are slated in Burundi, the Dominican Republic, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mongolia, and elsewhere. Many of these elections may also be postponed. Putting off elections means that citizens are (at least temporarily) deprived of their right to choose their leaders, at a time when leadership choices are of paramount importance. Even where elections do proceed, the chilling effect on turnout could be considerable, particularly among elderly and vulnerable populations.
Given the severity of the crisis, short-term postponements are understandable. In many countries, holding elections in the current context would create significant risks for voters as well as poll workers. Yet some governments may also use the pandemic as a pretext to postpone elections indefinitely, or until a more politically convenient moment. In the coming months, it will be essential to monitor whether governments that postpone elections set a clear timetable for rescheduling the vote, in coordination with all relevant political actors.
On the positive side, the virus could spur innovations in electoral and voting processes that ensure greater preparedness for future shocks. Possible innovations include expanded early voting and vote-by-mail options, greater reliance on remote voting technologies and online voter registration, and new investments in voter education. South Korea, for example, is taking steps to allow its citizens to vote from home or from hospitals in its upcoming parliamentary election.
However, major shifts in electoral administration will also give rise to new complications and risks, and therefore require significant preparation. Online voting could be vulnerable to hacking and incite fears of foreign influence. In countries with weak state and technological capacities, implementing certain innovations may not be feasible. Countries that have already pioneered new election technologies may have valuable lessons to share in this regard.
UNBALANCED CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS
Crisis responses may shift the balance of power between militaries and civilian authorities. In many countries, ranging from Iran and South Africa to Israel and Peru, the military is being called upon to enforce lockdowns and aid the pandemic response in other ways. While this is almost certainly warranted in the immediate emergency period, it may open the door to increased military involvement in the economy and domestic affairs.
In other places, crisis responses may entrench already diminished civilian control over military actors. Pakistan is embroiled in a struggle between military and civilian officials over the pandemic response, leading the security sector leadership to sideline the civilian prime minister and work directly with provincial-level administrations. In Iran, military leaders appear to have assumed significant decisionmaking authority in managing the response.
In countries where military actors have a history of human rights abuses, ceding more policing functions to the military may have problematic implications. These concerns are already on display in South Africa, where soldiers and police officers were reported to have used excessive force in the first few days of the lockdown, and in Kenya, where human rights groups decried security force abuse in enforcing a curfew.
In the coming months, it will be crucial to monitor whether policing functions and other authorities are transferred back to civilian authorities or whether the pandemic ends up permanently strengthening military actors’ role in political decisionmaking, economic governance, and internal security. On the other hand, in countries where military actors already exert high levels of political influence, an ineffective response may potentially weaken their public image as guarantors of stability.
PRESSURES AND POSSIBILITIES FOR CIVIL SOCIETY
Governments’ emergency responses to the pandemic risk aggravating the already significant trend of shrinking space for civil society in many parts of the world. Emergency restrictions on movement, assembly, information, and privacy all work against vibrant civil society organization and action.
Yet at the same time, the crisis may spur new forms of mobilization or other innovations in activism. Activists and movements in different parts of the world are figuring out how to comply with physical distancing guidelines while still making their demands heard. The crisis has already fueled new protests (for example, in Egypt), and some existing protests have moved online. In the Philippines, the hashtag #OustDuterte trended on Twitter as citizens expressed their discontent over the government’s flawed response to the virus. Of course, as civic activism moves online, further challenges may emerge, such as the dissipation of protest energy, a decline in public visibility, and the potential spread of extremist ideologies. More online activism will likely spur even more restrictions in online spaces, whether internet disruptions such as throttling, shutdowns, and blocking of social media platforms; stepped-up surveillance; or punitive laws and regulations for online activities.
But the crisis may also provide opportunities for movements to grow their constituencies by advocating on behalf of local communities. Civic groups around the world are already responding actively, and in many cases valiantly, to the crisis. Community organizations, health activists, rights watchdogs, women’s groups, and other civic groups are on the front lines of healthcare responses—helping marginalized citizens survive, activating informal support networks, raising money, and advocating for faster and more effective government action. In China, for example, students have organized social media campaigns to raise money for hospitals in Wuhan, and publicized complaints that government-backed charities funneled emergency aid to government offices rather than hospitals. In the Philippines, universities and newly formed civic groups are organizing to help vulnerable groups affected by government lockdowns. New mutual aid groups are also emerging in the United States and the United Kingdom. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Lucha movement has urged the government to step up its crisis response; in Afghanistan, citizens are coming together to volunteer their services.
This civic engagement may help blunt the negative narratives about the loyalty, authenticity, and effectiveness of civil society that illiberal leaders have been propagating in recent years. It may also draw more resources into the sector, and possibly even weaken nationalist critiques of international support for civil society.
RESHAPED DEBATE OVER AUTHORITARIANISM VERSUS DEMOCRACY
The varying success of different types of governments at managing the crisis may reshape the important global debate about the relative desirability of authoritarian and democratic governance. Both China and the United States are already fighting for control over global perceptions, with President Donald Trump branding the virus as “made in China” and the Chinese government investing in English-language propaganda to defend its high-tech authoritarian approach.
It is too early to say which type of political system will prove more effective at managing the crisis. Some authoritarian regimes have done relatively well so far, like Singapore and Vietnam, while others, like Iran, have done poorly. Among democracies, South Korea and Taiwan have performed admirably, while others, like Italy and the United States, have not. Carnegie scholar Rachel Kleinfeld argues that factors such as lessons learned from past health crises and a country’s levels of state capacity, legitimacy, and citizen trust have been more important than its specific regime type in determining the quality of responses thus far. Yet the idea that a firm authoritarian hand is needed for dealing with the crisis may nevertheless gain wider ground, especially if China appears to keep the virus under control and the United States does not.
BROADER GOVERNANCE IMPLICATIONS
Beyond the pandemic’s effects on democracy, a range of governance ramifications may emerge in the months ahead.
BASIC GOVERNANCE VIABILITY AND REGIME STABILITY
The pandemic will exert enormous pressures on governance institutions in heavily affected countries—especially on health systems, but also on many other essential government functions, from education and food supply chains to law enforcement and border control. Even in comparatively wealthy states, like Italy, Spain, and the United States, health systems in the worst-affected areas have already cracked under the weight of the pandemic. Crisis responses will inevitably require triage well beyond the health sector, diverting government attention and resources from other vital functions and challenges. This problem will be exacerbated as more and more politicians, government leaders, and civil servants test positive for the virus, rendering governments less able to operate just when they need to be working overtime. The specter of the pandemic has also forced legislatures and government agencies to curtail operations or work remotely, resulting in inevitable losses of efficiency.
As the virus spreads more widely in weak states, these governance challenges will be even more pronounced. The acute public health emergency will be on a collision course with an abject lack of government capacity, frail institutions, limited government reach, and low citizen trust in leaders (and corresponding reluctance to heed public health directives). Social distancing will be difficult to observe in crowded settlements, especially if residents are reliant on informal work to survive. At the same time, governments in many developing countries will struggle to mobilize adequate resources to ease the effects of an economic recession. Robust international assistance efforts will be essential, but insufficient implementation capacity may hinder their effectiveness. In countries already suffering from protracted conflict or instability, the pressures of the pandemic and resultant cascade of governance failures could lead to at least partial state collapse.
PRESSURE ON SOCIOPOLITICAL COHESION
The pandemic will strain basic sociopolitical cohesion in many states. The differential effects of the health crisis along key axes—rich vs. poor, urban vs. rural, region vs. region, and citizen vs. migrant—may sharpen existing sociopolitical divides. The pandemic may compound those strains by exacerbating political polarization where it already exists. From India and Bolivia to Poland and the United States, many democracies are already suffering from rising animosity and tensions between contending political camps. As the crisis worsens, opposing sides may disagree about the gravity of the pandemic or about appropriate government responses—a dynamic that could be intensified by people’s greater reliance on online communication while they remain mostly isolated in their homes, and by governments using the crisis to advance partisan agendas. In the United States, for example, partisanship has heavily shaped perceptions of the severity of the crisis and individuals’ trust in the government’s response. In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro’s dismissal of the seriousness of the crisis has inflamed an already fierce political divide.
At the same time, the “wartime” imperative to combat the pandemic could invoke feelings of shared sacrifice and collective mission that heal rather than aggravate societal and political divisions. But such a rallying effect likely requires political leaders to rise to the challenge and take a unifying approach, which goes against the populist playbook in use in many countries. Tracking leadership styles and messages will be key to understanding the longer-term effects of the pandemic on sociopolitical cohesion.
Government responses to the pandemic are likely to exacerbate graft and corruption in many countries. Crises involving urgent medical needs and scarce supplies inevitably present opportunities for smuggling, graft, price-gouging, and fraud.
Corruption undermines the effectiveness of public health responses, particularly if valuable resources are diverted from high-need areas or citizens are denied treatment if they refuse to pay bribes. Both domestic actors and international partners assisting with public health responses should anticipate these risks and avoid the tendency to adopt an “anything goes in an emergency” attitude. In the medium term, the perception and reality of heightened corruption may increase popular discontent with governments.
However, the crisis could also end up spurring new anticorruption measures. If corruption spikes rapidly when governments implement crisis measures, widespread public outrage may catalyze reforms that improve health governance and public accountability. More immediately, the prospect of high-stakes corruption may also mobilize civil society, governments, and international actors to take preventive steps, especially in places that are still less affected by the pandemic. In the United States, for example, legislators heeded calls for increased oversight in the new economic stimulus package. Civil society groups in Nigeria are urging government authorities to institute corruption safeguards as the country braces for the coronavirus. Possible additional measures may include concerted diplomatic pressure for greater oversight over aid flows or increased adoption of recommendations already developed by advocacy groups.
The virus may reshape dynamics between national and regional or local government actors. Local officials are on the front lines of the crisis response, sometimes reinforcing and sometimes competing with messages from national leaders. In Afghanistan, where the central government’s presence in the periphery is limited, some provincial governors have been shoring up its policies and bolstering its response efforts. The governor of Nangarhar Province quickly set up an emergency aid fund and publicly dispelled myths about curing the virus, while other governors have supplied basic food packages to encourage infected men to stay home from work.
Elsewhere, the virus response has exacerbated friction between local and national officials. In Hungary, where the opposition party controls several major cities, the central government unveiled a measure that would dilute mayors’ decisionmaking authority during an emergency. Local leaders quickly attacked the plan as one that would undermine the coronavirus response, and the government eventually walked it back. In Turkey, the pandemic has renewed long-standing tensions between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the opposition-party mayor of Istanbul. Contrary to Erdoğan’s directives, the mayor has advocated a lockdown of Istanbul and launched his own fundraising campaign to galvanize the response, prompting national leaders to block the effort. In the United States, the pandemic response has intensified frictions between Trump and several Democratic state governors critical of his administration’s response.
These trends could change internal power relations in various places, whether by enhancing local-level leaders’ legitimacy at the expense of national officials or worsening governance fragmentation. Where friction between national governments and opposition-party local leadership tracks ideological, regional, and rural-urban lines, it may exacerbate preexisting political polarization.
ENHANCED ROLES OF NONSTATE ACTORS
The virus may also reshape relationships between nonstate actors and governments, with important implications for government legitimacy and claims to sovereignty. Where governments enjoy low levels of citizen trust, cooperating with nonstate systems of governance may be essential to ensuring an effective crisis response. In Sierra Leone, for example, local chiefs were highly influential in containing the spread of Ebola. The Taliban in Afghanistan are already committing themselves to cooperating with health officials from international organizations like the World Health Organization that typically collaborate with sovereign governments. Arab governments are mobilizing official Islamic institutions and authorities to help them manage the crisis, which may help them compensate for low levels of public trust in official communications and directives—while potentially also reinforcing government control over the religious domain.
However, nonstate actors’ enhanced role in implementing crisis responses may also strengthen their legitimacy and authority in the eyes of local communities, thereby entrenching their political influence. In Rio de Janeiro, for example, drug trafficking gangs have imposed a coronavirus curfew in the city’s favelas and handed out soap to local residents, while condemning the Brazilian government’s lack of action. In Lebanon, the paramilitary organization Hezbollah has reportedly mobilized a remarkable 25,000 people, including medics, to combat the virus, in addition to organizing new testing centers and ambulances and repurposing an entire hospital for the crisis. Although the group insists that its efforts are meant to “complement the government apparatus”—Hezbollah is part of the government coalition—the response stands in notable contrast to the struggles of the official Lebanese administration. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have launched a coronavirus awareness campaign in areas of the country under their sway; whereas the Kurdish-led region of northeast Syria, which maintains autonomy from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, has initiated curfews, coordinated aid delivery, and stood up isolation wards to combat the virus.
As in many situations of acute crisis, rapid and effective efforts by nonstate actors to enforce order or deliver services can foster or reinforce alternative systems of governance, particularly if the government is seen as absent, ineffective, or divisive. On the other hand, different regimes may try to use the crisis to shore up their control over nonstate entities. It will be important to monitor these: in fragile or low-income states, nonstate actors’ heightened roles in crisis response—or, alternatively, their efforts to impede effective responses—will likely reshape citizens’ perceptions of state legitimacy and their expectations of the state.
TIME TO PREPARE
Looking ahead, all domestic and transnational actors concerned with democracy’s future must closely monitor the wide-ranging, fast-moving political effects of the pandemic, rapidly devise responses to lessen potential harm, and seize any positive opportunities the crisis may present. Coming soon is a second, perhaps even bigger wave of political disruption that will be caused by the unfolding global economic crisis. Potentially devastating increases in economic inequality, unemployment, debt, and poverty, as well as pressures on the stability of financial institutions, will put enormous strains on governance systems of all types. After the global financial crisis that erupted in 2008, few foresaw the very long tail of negative political consequences. Yet that crisis ultimately ushered in the rise and spread of illiberal populism, fragmentation of party systems, and consolidation of several authoritarian regimes—long after economic recovery was under way.
Amid a new crisis even more daunting in scale, there is a natural tendency for governments and individuals alike to be consumed by the urgency of near-term domestic fallout from the pandemic. But just as the virus’s contagion respects no borders, its political effects will inevitably sweep across boundaries and continue to echo long after the health emergency has eased. Now is the time to get ready.
Exposing Dangerous Delusion
The Democratic Party’s socialistic economic initiatives are taking root, especially among Millennials. They’re woefully uneducated on its tenets and the devastation it has brought hundreds of millions in history. They’re seduced by lofty yet unrealistic promises and lured by charismatic politicians often going unchallenged by the sympathetic anti-Trump media.
A current example is their “Green New Deal”:
- Full employment, and if you dislike your job you depart and the government gets you another. You cannot be fired.
- Free health care.
- Free tuition from pre-K through college.
- Affordable housing for all with rent control and inability to be evicted. This will fix “climate problems” and income inequalities, they promise.
New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the party’s new star, who’s a symbol and proponent of Democratic socialism. She told 60 Minutes she was a “radical”; “advocated free health care for everyone”; and proposed a “top tax rate of 70 percent like the U.K. [it’s actually 45 percent], Finland or Sweden” (minuscule and easily manageable populations of 5 and 10 million compared to our 350 million).
Our already $22 trillion debt would quickly explode from this delusional scheme, devastating millions, collapse our economy and result in rioting like in Venezuela.
Do you know that in his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx said the “progressive income tax” imposed by the governing elite was a “despotic inroad on the rights of property” requiring the Communist revolution?
Are you ready for the government to confiscate your savings and property upon death instead of you bequeathing them to your family?
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the availability of total healthcare—primary, specialty, pediatric, OB-GYN, geriatric and mental—for all 9.5 million residents including 300,000 illegal immigrants, 600,000 uninsured and anyone with pre-existing conditions. Simply call a 311 number. He proposes the government assume authority over everyone’s property; universal free pre-K childcare and marijuana legalization.
Additionally, Governor Cuomo and Hillary Clinton propose the “Reproductive Health Act” be enacted immediately to codify abortion guaranteed up until birth.
Presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are both avowed socialists. California Senator Kamala Harris is announcing her candidacy, having gained notoriety for arrogant behavior at the Kavanaugh hearing, along with forcefully assaulting a judicial nominee simply because he’s a member of the 2-million strong,136-year-old Catholic “Knights of Columbus.”
Once Marginal, Now Mainstream
My parents were Democrats, and I grew up as a boy having a positive view of Presidents Truman and Kennedy. I was shocked and saddened when I later discovered the history of the Democratic Party as the party of slavery, secession and segregation. As I’ve watched the ascent of extremism, socialism and godless secularism in its ranks, I’m alarmed with millions of patriotic Americans at the trajectory of its politicians, policies and platform—attractive on the surface but dangerous in their outworking.
House Speaker Pelosi stated in USA Today (Jan. 3, 2019) the top two “generational challenges of our time are reducing income disparity and combating the climate crises.” While we should all strive to be good stewards of the environment, we must be discerning not to succumb to hysteria based not on scientific empirical evidence but from Al Gore’s theories and disproven myths catapulting him to multimillionaire status.
21 Areas Reveal Democratic Party Positions
1. Radical redistribution of wealth.
2. Aggressive climate-change initiatives.
3. Complete takeover of health care by federal government plus inclusion of all illegal immigrants.
4. Open immigration policy with full acceptance of all children and relatives; no border “walls”, entrance requirements, e-verify or penalties for those refusing deportation; disregarding the rule of law and full support for “sanctuary cities”; neglecting national security and allowing George Soros-funded anarchy to “crash” our immigration system.
5. Government control over corporate profits.
6. Progressive taxes on the upper middle class and above.
7. Legalization of recreational marijuana.
8. Implementation of comprehensive LGBTQ agenda—including indoctrination of children in schools, transgender initiatives, gender reassignment surgery and removal of any “sexual discrimination” in the workplace and schools, disregarding conscience objections.
9. Taxpayer abortion on demand until birth, with full funding of Planned Parenthood.
10. Major defense spending cuts with money redistributed to entitlements.
11. Comprehensive gun control.
12. Liberal, not originalist, judges on the Supreme Court and federal courts.
13. Alignment and support for radical feminist agenda and marches.
14. Increased censorship of “hateful” conservative thought on social media.
15. Liberalized voting standards to include fraudulent practices and everyone the Party deems as “disenfranchised”.
16. Partnership with Palestinians.
17. Alignment with United Nations and European Union transnationalism initiatives promoting “One World” globalism rather than nationalism with international cooperation.
18. Euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide.
19. Taxpayer-funded childcare and college tuition.
20. Elimination of the Electoral College.
21. Reestablishing of Iranian “nuclear deal” alongside increased protection for Islamic “rights” in America and abroad at the expense of Israel’s safety.
Warning and Wake-Up Call
Without a desperately needed spiritual awakening, America is on a dangerous slope. Millions must recognize how the enemy is using the Democratic Party with its seductive, totally unrealistic, godless vision for America. It is totally foreign to that of our Founding Fathers and 242-year heritage.
The brutal reality is that the Democratic Party is not the one of even a generation ago. It has become radicalized; hostile to biblical values and religious freedoms; disrespectful to individuals and institutions; unashamed in using profanities and employing intimidation in the media and public square; increasingly irrational, lawless, dishonest, hypocritical, corrupt, and mean-spirited (remember the Brett Kavanaugh hearing?); and finally, flippant in dismissing “due process” and our two foundational societal pillars of the sanctity of human life alongside the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.
Here’s the deal: As we’ve watched the difficult-to-believe destruction of the 108-year-old Boy Scouts of America because the organization capitulated to forces the Democratic Party championed, let us consecrate ourselves at this defining time to intercession, gospel proclamation, “salt and light” activism and courageous, uncompromising obedience to God.
Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures. “Therefore, ‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty'”.
The devil is a defeated foe and no matter how destructive his influence is at this critical time, remember, “The earth belongs to the Lord, and its fullness, the world, and those who dwell in it”.
Democrat is the New Communist
It is a real possibility that we could at some point in the very near future be bordering on a communist nation if the liberals and Democrats have their way. In this case you have to look no further than the 10 planks of communism so eloquently explained by the man many leftists hold so dear – Karl Marx.
Rather than cut to the chase and delve right in to the meat and potatoes of communism and how we are headed down the path to a communist dictatorship, I feel it is imperative to understand just how we got here…
The birth of the socialist movement
Socialism is the “new norm,” at least within the liberal movement, and many in the Democrat Party are buying into this sentiment as well. While some may think this is something new, the progressives within the Democrat Party have been working towards this end for more than 100 years. The progressive movement began around 1890 and was designed to combat what many felt were social ills that plagued society following the industrial revolution – the only problem was that this movement was designed to give government at the highest levels the power to address these perceived ills rather than let the people find a means to come together to find a solution.
While many believe the progressive movement died around the time of WWI, that couldn’t be further from the truth, as the mindset the progressives of the early 1900’s still lives on to this day. Progressivism as a whole is the idea that government should control industry, manage labor unions, oversee farming, etc. According to the progressives of the time, government should control business and dictate to the citizenry how they are supposed to live – which is exactly how the Democrats and most liberals feel today. After all how would we live without the government handling our health care, providing us transportation, educating our children, taxing “the rich” to “give to the poor,” – without government we would surely die!
Socialism is the new progressivism
It’s easy to see how the progressive mindset could give way to socialism, and that is where we stand today. Democrats have shed their cloak of anonymity, openly supporting socialist principles such as government-run health care, free college, and even a universal basic income.
It used to be that Democrats of yesteryear would shy away from any talk of openly supporting socialism. Nonetheless, the modern day Democrats are finally beginning to embrace their newfound identity as they coalesce around individuals like freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and veteran socialists like Bernie Sanders. These two embody what it means to be a socialist with their never ending rhetoric designed to drive a wedge between the perceived rich and the poor. As a result it becomes government’s responsibility to ensure the “rich” pay their “fair share” all the while the connected class and the elites live the life of luxury far detached from the ills plaguing the society they have ruined.
Onward to communism
Rather than go through each of the 10 planks of communism, I will explain a few of the most prevalent ones and how they relate to the way in which our federal government operates today…
- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes
- The government has been gobbling up land throughout the country for decades. Whether it be for national parks or through the use of eminent domain, the federal government has been usurping land from the citizenry in chunks and many do not even realize it. To put it in perspective, the federal government owns roughly 640 million acres of land throughout this great nation of ours.
- Perhaps more telling, people have to pay “property taxes” to the government, for land they supposedly own, to fund public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax
- Now this one is easy! Socialists have been right out in the open about this one for a long time now. Every time they claim that the rich don’t pay their fair share this is what they are referring to – the need for a heavier and more burdensome income tax.
- Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State
- This is yet another aspect of the 10 planks of communism that has been out in the open for quite some time now. The socialist wants you and me – the peons – to be forever reliant on big government, and what better way to rely on them than to make government-run transportation the only means to get from point A to point B? The socialist hates that you and I have the ability to move about whenever we want, they believe that we should only be allowed to move about when they say and go where they think we should go.
- Free education for all children in public schools.
- This is actually the final plank in the 10 planks of communism, and what better way to sum up what communism is than the control over the educational system, and that is exactly what we are seeing take place in this country today. Since the inception of the federal educational system in October of 1979 under President Jimmy Carter we have seen a continued decline in the quality of the education our children are receiving. Subsequent government led initiatives such as No Child Left Behind and Common Core have been utter disasters leaving our children helpless subjects of their federal government.
One thing is abundantly clear, they want power and they will do whatever it takes to get that power. There are sinister forces at work here, and those in power see you and me as just nameless faces who are nothing more than subjects of their government. The overlords in government know what’s best for us and they intend to ensure we follow along with their plan that has already been outlined for them by their idol Karl Marx.
2020 the “Perfect Storm” facing our Republic— All three branches of our Government are in peril
Historical Discovery…An election in 1917 forecast the election in 2020! Here are the elements from 103 years ago!
- Years of preparatory work were spent in misleading and mis-directional propaganda
- Contested voting results marred the election’s finality and ultimately its dismissal
- Claims that the poor were going to be disenfranchised of their votes
- The scheduled voting was extended by two months
- Division, violence, slander and libel were widespread
- A delusional/cunning/conniving campaign made unrealistic promises to win the population
- Anger and mob violence were deliberately stirred against “privilege,” possessions, and status
- Deceptive claims persuaded the “majority” they were robbed of their electoral victory
- Inevitable civil war was sparked at the election’s end because Lenin’s group failed to win the majority
- The dissolution of the old State and a “transformation” of the new system was promised to lead to true socialism but it brought history’s worst and longest ruling tyrant
And here is how it happened…
Here is a basic reminder of your 9th Grade American Civics materials…The Founding Fathers of our Republic designed a system of governing to prevent the evils inherent in the onerous governing systems of Europe. The Republic was to be governed in a way that the majority would have a say BUT safeguarded against a rogue majority controlling the nation. A deliberate system of “checks and balances” was wisely incorporated against evil efforts to seize national control.
The ultimate safeguard was the separation of the State’s governing into three distinct bodies. While each would have an impact upon the others, that impact was deliberately limited. The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of the Republic were designed to be independent but function with unity to guide the nation, preserve freedoms, and guard the human rights that are often disenfranchised by evil systems and philosophies. One of the greatest feats of our Republic is the exercise of individualism when these three branches of governing are properly functioning.
However, at this point in our nation’s historical narrative the “perfect storm” threatens ALL THREE of these safeguards of our Republic. And my disconcerting observation is that many prance and dance around with a Pollyannish attitude denying the reality of our current situation. The prevailing cultural concern is as absurd as the attitude of one busily rearranging the deck chairs on the sinking Titanic!
The assault on the EXECUTIVE BRANCH
The resistance has been hard at work even prior to President Trump’s inauguration. Attempts to nullify the electoral process have been constant. The evil agenda was visible. Our President has suffered evil resistance of historic proportions. The basic cause is his commitment to the U.S. Constitution. It is the unchanging Constitution that provides the legal governing making the USA an exceptional nation of individuals. This fixed and knowable Constitution gives our nation the strength and energy envied by the world and loathed by tyranny. )The Resistance/DEMS/BLM/ANTIFA demand an activist Court that will change our Republic’s basic foundational principles.)
The stated position of the resistance has been loud and long—they have robbed President Trump of his first four years as President. They have dared to present the most ridiculous reasons for his disqualification and removal. They have manipulated, deceived and extorted support for their evil agenda. They have ignited violence that has divided and destroyed the civility of the USA. Their evil purpose was to achieve the political purge of a duly elected President of the United States of America. Our President has been nominated for multiple Nobel Peace Prizes for his exceptional ability to broker true peace between Middle Eastern nations. But the resistance shrugs forgetting they excitedly embraced the Peace Prize awarded to Obama which is admitted now as an award for nothing! The resistance’s political maneuvering and evil mission is well documented.
Those of the resistance are described by inspiration. Their conniving and cunning evil is a constant action seeking to destroy legitimate order. Psalm 36:4, “He plans wickedness upon his bed; He sets himself on a path that is not good; He does not despise evil.” (See also Ecclesiastes 10:20)
Even the classics describe the reality of this evil. From Stevenson’s pen we remember the confession that describes those seeking to nullify the legality of President Trump’s election. Like the pained soul of Henry Jekyll the resistance can confess, “I lost my identity beyond redemption…had I risked the experiment while under the empire of generous or pious aspirations, all must have been otherwise, and from these agonies of death and birth, I had come forth an angel instead of a fiend…At that time my virtue slumbered; my evil, kept awake by ambition, was alert and swift to seize the occasion.” Perhaps the most troubling reference that Stevenson’s pen gives to the resistance character states, “O my poor old Harry Jekyll, if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend.”
Inspiration and the Classics unite in describing today’s controlling evil that occupies every thought of the Progressive/Liberal/BLM/ANTIFA “resistance” as “Satan’s signature upon a face.”
This is the first element of today’s “Perfect Storm.” There are two more elements…
The assault upon the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
It is the Legislative Branch of our Republic’s government that involves the citizenry in the governing process. The population’s vote is a significant and treasured freedom. That vote expresses the desires of each State of the Union and is recorded by the Electoral College so that a free election is not controlled by a militant mob. The Founding Fathers wisely saw the potential of a militant group manipulating and coercing control. The establishment of the Electoral College was a masterful move safeguarding the Republic’s freedoms. By this method the most populous States are equal with the least populous—true equality.
The 2020 General Election is recognized as a critical point in our nation’s history. It can be said that every election is critical and previous elections have suffered the militancy of Progressives/Liberals attempting to undermine the Constitutional foundation of our nation. These past challenges failed because the general population was aware of the evil being campaigned and were educated regarding the safeguards of our Constitution. But the context has dramatically changed for the 2020 General Election. In this current election the Constitutional safeguards are condemned and the population is ignorant of just how fragile individual freedom is. It appears that many have been groomed and are eager to believe the Progressive/Liberal/Democratic lies and embrace anarchy. This is not a new situation. History is amazing as it details how the past continues to explain the present.
Consider the Russian Revolution. I offer just a scant discussion on Lenin’s role in this aspect of Russian politics. Hopefully I will have opportunity to offer a more complete discussion. Consider the first “free election” that Russia experienced. It was held in October or November 1917 (the month depends upon which calendar you consult). Lenin promised a “free” election where all votes would be equal and each citizen would be heard. The election was scheduled and a number of political parties provided the voters a choice. Among the many parties were two dominating parties: the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (Lenin’s Bolsheviks).
The propaganda fueling this election is intriguing. Lenin had confidence that his party would be an overwhelming victor. He was convinced that his pamphleteering during his exile was persuasive. He was convinced that only he knew best what the poor citizens needed for happiness in life. Lenin had devised a governing system by which the State would help the poor citizen to have free health care, free food, personal land ownership, and the erasure of all class “privileges” by redistributing wealth/financial resources/personal property. Under Lenin’s control there would be no more denial of personal rights, no more prejudice of persons, and no more unjust financial levels. All would be totally “equal” IF Lenin’s perfect Revolutionary State was allowed to transform into the Marxist utopia.
Here is where history becomes instructive regarding the Legislative Body of the State.
When the Tsar abdicated, the Russian Provisional Government was formed. Its purpose was to organize the free elections for the Russian Constituent Assembly. The provisional government lasted only eight months and was replaced by the Bolsheviks. A significant footnote to this period is that the Provisional Government was unable to make decisive policy decisions due to political factionalism and a breakdown of state structures. The anarchy fomented by Lenin and the Bolsheviks rendered a civil governing impossible. Whatever legislative bills were presented were instantly killed by opposition. Revolutionary unrest fueled violence. This was a deliberate design of non-cooperation and pure resistance! The deliberate campaign for divisiveness and refusal to perform governing duties is a sobering similarity to the resistance in modern day American politics. Lenin’s free election was conducted but here are some troubling facts from its history:
1) The election was designed to be held on specific dates BUT some argued that the peasants in the outlying territory needed more time to get their votes counted. So, the ballot counting was extended in some places by TWO MONTHS!
2) Throughout the 1917 campaign Lenin argued that the citizens deserved a government that represented “the proletariat’s interests” because, in his estimation, all other governments represented the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” Lenin argued that the rich would never give up their “privileges” and so the soviets would need to seize power by violence. Lenin’s propaganda fueled the division that would destroy the Russian nation. He urged violence nurtured by envy and jealousy arguing that some had “privileged status” that others did not and this great “inequity” could only be removed with a violent overthrow.
3) Even though the first free election included a number of different political parties, Lenin was confident that his Bolsheviks would win. That did not happen. The final tabulation exposed Lenin as suffering defeat and his Bolsheviks only garnered 23.26% of the vote. The Socialist-Revolutionaries emerged with 37.61% of the vote. Lenin was unhappy and contested the results! Lenin refused to concede protesting the legitimacy of the election.
4) The objective of the resistance was a one-party government and an absolute silencing of opposition. “It is the duty of the revolution to put an end to compromise, and to put an end to compromise means taking the path of socialist revolution” Lenin, Speech On The Agrarian Question November 14 (1917).
Carefully consider how Lenin embraced the freedom of voting while masterfully disguising his evil objective of silencing the opposition and developing a one-party ruling government.
After the election results were announced, Lenin stood and revealed the coup. The results were called flawed. Those in opposition were eventually murdered. Lenin instituted his famous “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Lenin said this was the best course for the average citizen and this dictatorship would dissolve when all privileged distinctions were erased, all wealth inequities removed, and all land ownership seized. And the Russian population permitted this dictatorship to exist!
When applied to the 2020 General Election in the USA, this historical anecdote should sound national alarms! The very concepts that Lenin used to nullify the free election of Russia in 1917 are being used in today’s election. In fact, some of the very words and phrases that were used by Lenin are parroted by the Democratic Progressives today and characterize the membership of Democratic Party in the USA!
When the election process of our governing Constitution is compromised and dismissed as archaic and inapplicable THEN our nation has lost the compass for safely navigating the treacherous existence in this world.
The assault upon the JUDICIAL BRANCH
History reminds its students that the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justices were forever changed in 1987 with Joe Biden’s Judiciary’s malevolent confirmation hearing of Judge Robert Bork. Biden was campaigning to be the nomination of the Democratic Presidential candidate (which he would lose to Dukakis because of Biden’s plagiarism). In 1987 the custom was for such hearings to last two days or less. Under Biden’s chairmanship Bork’s hearing was weaponized and lasted TWELVE days. Such a reprehensible action has earned its own idiom in American language—“so and so was ‘Borked’.”
The 1987 Democratic Party’s politicizing and weaponizing the confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court appointments opened the floodgates for the most contentious events in the governing of the United States of America. One only needs to go back to the recent hearings to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. The personal slander, insidious innuendos, manufactured complaints and a host of other evil actions have become accepted political weapons (Or as Speaker Pelosi remarked, “arrows in our quiver”). In past times it was customary that the sitting President was respected and his nominations were accorded with approval, even if the conservatives knew they were approving a Progressive/Liberal who despised the literalist view of the U.S. Constitution they voted for the confirmation. But now there is a horrid specter of divisiveness and vindictiveness enveloping the process.
The General Election of 2020 spotlights the tragic devolving of the status of the U.S. Supreme Court. It is suggested by some, with validity, that the Supreme Court is no longer focused upon apolitical justice but has assumed an active role in establishing law that the U.S. Constitution reserves only for the Legislative Branch.
The Democrats/Progressives/Liberals have announced their intent to “pack” the Supreme Court with Justices who disrespect the U.S. Constitution. They want a left-leaning Court that will sanction the total dismemberment of the constitutional statutes that made America a great nation. The far-left Daily Kos cautioned Republicans that a “future government controlled by Democrats is likely to pursue — court-packing — as the best way to rebuff a conservative Court majority viewed as illegitimate.” Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told voters during an October 2018 campaign event that Democrats should “pack the Supreme Court of the United States of America” after taking the House, Senate, and Presidency. Leading Democrats also warned that if the justices issue a pro-Second Amendment ruling, and if Democrats win the White House and the Senate in 2020, then they will fundamentally remake the High Court.
Former President Franklin Roosevelt issued this same threat in the 1930s after facing legal obstacles with his New Deal and subsequently “threatened to expand the Court by six seats for a new total of 15 justices so that he could get the rulings he wanted.” The American people, however, rejected his threat, leading to massive Republican victories in the 1938 midterm elections.
Former Democrat presidential candidates Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and now vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced that they were open to reshaping the court. “We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court,” Harris said, according to Politico. “We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that.”
During the summer of 2020 several major progressive groups, including Take Back The Court, Demand Justice, Progressive Change Institute, and the Sunrise Movement, signed a letter declaring their support for increasing the number of justices by “at least” two seats. The resistance wrote in part: “The fastest, most effective way to make the court representative of all Americans is to enact legislation increasing the size of the Court by at least two seats, and to quickly fill those seats with justices who will safeguard our democracy.” Note: In the context of this reference it is best to remember Lenin’s manipulative ploy that his “free” election would best represent “all Russians”?
In March 2019, President Trump astutely dismissed mounting calls from his Democratic opponents to pack the Supreme Court. “The only reason they’re doing that is they want to try and catch up, so if they can’t catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way,” he added.
The late Justice Ginsburg balked at the proposition of packing the Supreme Court. “It would make the Court look partisan,” the late justice told National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg last year.
The Judicial Branch of the government is to interpret laws respecting the United States Constitution’s limits. Once this unbiased governing is compromised, there is no lawful regulations for civility in our nation.
This is where the United States of America is positioned as the General Election of November 2020 nears. A discord and division prevail that has never existed. This violence has been stoked with bitterness. The Progressives/Democratic Party/BLM/ANTIFA assure us that regardless of the election there will be violence. We are being conditioned to think that electoral results will take weeks or months to be validated and even then, they will be challenged. The vitriol marking the battleground is undeniable. Following Lenin’s example in 1917 the Democrats have been told never to concede. The results are already announced, “Furious Democrats are considering total war — profound changes to two branches of government, and even adding stars to the flag (i.e. adding the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as States thus insuring Democrats have two solid additions to their column) — if Republicans jam through a Supreme Court nominee then lose control of the Senate.”
As the National Election of 2020 approaches we read of violence, destruction and carnage in the public sphere…Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent death sparked a political firestorm, as Republicans prepare for a contentious, pre-election confirmation showdown and some Democrats threaten to, quite literally, burn the country down.
The ”Perfect Storm” facing the Republic of the United States of America has formed and threatens the three pillars of our civility.
After Lenin’s Bolsheviks permitted a “free election” they moved quickly to strangle freedoms. Lenin’s opinion of the poor proletariat having the right to vote for individual choices morphed into a ruling class identified as the “Politburo.” The first Politburo consisted of: Lenin, Trotsky, Krestinsky, Kamenev, and Stalin. Lenin died. Trotsky was exiled to Mexico and was murdered. Krestinsky and Kamenev were assassinated. That left Stalin. Stalin manipulated the bureaucratic apparatus and seized power. By the 1930s, Stalin had transformed the Politburo into the supreme executive and legislative body of the Communist party and the Soviet government. Stalin was in command of its membership, decisions, and debates. The party congress now not only did not elect the politburo, but its own membership was fully controlled by the politburo. Not only had Lenin’s vision of a one-party political government been achieved but now it became a one-man political government! Individualism had been erased. The individual had ceased to exist and all had become “the State.”
The ”Perfect Storm” in Russia’s history resulted in the totalitarian reign of Stalin’s terror. Such is the conclusion of Russia’s first free election.
What will YOU do regarding the “Perfect Storm” in which our Republic is now struggling?
In this article I have shown that the Biden platform, which is nothing but a Bernie Sanders agenda, has caused irreparable harm to out country. There are ways that some of this damage can be reversed. (1) continue building and completing the border wall. (2) defund sanctuary cities. (3) Rescind DACA and DAPA. (4) Cut off foreign aid to countries who allow their citizens to illegally enter the U.S. (5) Open the country completely and admit that the mask mandate is nothing but a technique to control the citizens of this country. If these things are not done, it is questionable that there will be a country left by the end of his term of office.
charityvillage.com, “SEVEN PILLARS OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE,” By Mel Gill; b scholarly.com, “Pillars of Democracy: 7 Essential Pillars of a Democratic Government;” neweconomicperspectives.org, ” Three Pillars of Democratic Empowerment,” By Dan Kervick; carnegiedowment.org, ” How Will the Coronavirus Reshape Democracy and Governance Globally?” By Frances Z. Brown, Saskia Brechenmacher, and Thomas Carothers; charismanews.com, “21 Ways the Devil Is Using the Democratic Party to Destroy America,” By Larry Tomczak; thepoliticalinsider.com, “Democrat is the New Communist,” By Stephen Janiszak; matangitonga.to, “Free press important pillar of democratic society,” By Nuku’alofa, Tonga; thegatewaypundit.com, “History Repeats Itself: Democrats Are Using Tactics of the Marxists of 1917 in Russia to Steal 2020 Election,” By Jim Hoft; 247sports.com, “Saul Alinsky’s 8 steps to socialism….”; parlament.gv.at, ” vox.com, “23 maps that explain how Democrats went from the party of racism to the party of Obama<” By Andrew Prokop; davidharrisjr.com, “How Biden’s 7 Economic Goals Will Destroy The US Economy,” By Eric Thompson;
Saul Alinsky”s Doctrine: 8 steps to topple a nation and create a socialist state
1) Healthcare — Control healthcare and you control the people
2) Poverty — Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.
3) Debt — Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.
4) Gun Control — Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.
5) Welfare — Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).
6) Education — Take control of what people read and listen to — take control of what children learn in school.
7) Religion — Remove the belief in the God from the Government and schools.
8) Class Warfare — Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.
How Biden’s 7 Economic Goals Will Destroy The US Economy.
For over four decades former US Senator and VP Joe Biden ran as a centrist Democrat. With few ideas or legislative accomplishments to his name, it was surprising to me that Barak Obama chose Joe to run as his VP candidate.
During his 47 years on Capitol Hill Joe was mentored by racists, such as KKK member WV Senator James Byrd. He was against bussing black children across town to white schools and pushed through criminal reform, leading to the lock-up of thousands of young back men, for decades.
In addition, the Obama / Biden record as on the economy is dismal.
Polls show that while most express their belief that President Donald Trump would be better for our economy than Biden, many voters who have not heard the specifics of Biden’s economic plan believe his agenda will be relatively harmless.
Why, because for decades most Americans did not experience big shifts in their lives from one administration to another, democratic or republican.
With President Trump’s record economy improving the lives of millions of Americans up to the shutdown, the 2020 re-election of President Trump was a forgone conclusion. But with the huge impact from the COVID shutdown, voters seem to be drifting back to the party of old they have supported in the past.
Let’s look at what’s actually in Biden’s economic plan so everyone has their eyes wide open when they vote. Regardless of Joe’s past economic positions, the rapidly mentally declining 77 years old politician has been surrounded and endorsed by far-left activists including AOC & Tom Steyer who are guiding him to adopt their hyper green agenda.
Biden’s plan is further to the socialist left than anything such liberal nominees of yesteryear, including Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Barack Obama, and even Hillary Clinton, ever dreamed.
According to economist Stephen Moore, here are the most dangerous ideas in the Biden plan:
No. 1: The most significant tax increase in the history of America.
Biden would raise taxes by some $4 trillion over the next decade.
Small businesses with a maximum corporate income tax rate increase from 21% now to 28%. The capital gains tax would skyrocket from 24% to 40% for those making more than $1 million per year, thus threatening to tank the stock market and reduce every family’s retirement savings in America.
No. 2: The end of right-to-work laws in America.
Biden’s plan forces millions of workers to join a union and pay union dues, whether they want to or not. Today, 27 states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Texas, have right-to-work laws that give workers the right to choose to join the union. The National Right to Work Association warns that these state laws are effectively repealed under the Biden plan. Big Labor bosses could snatch away thousands of dollars right out of workers’ paychecks without their consent.
No. 3: The end of U.S. energy independence.
Under Trump, America has become energy independent for the first time in at least 50 years. Biden insists he won’t ban fracking, but his radical energy agenda requires zero fossil fuels by 2035, which means hundreds of high-paying jobs lost in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. Saudi oil sheikhs and Russia will love that plan, but it sure isn’t good for America.
No. 4: Higher death taxes.
The death tax is one of the most unfair taxes because the public already pays a lifetime of income taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes and property taxes. The Biden tax scheme of taxing 45% of a family farm, ranch or family-owned business could require these legacy businesses to break up to pay the taxes. That’s un-American.
No. 5: Say hello again to the corrupt Paris climate treaty.
Trump wisely pulled the United States out because almost none of the countries has come close to meeting their pollution targets. They want America to pay all the bills, which Biden seems willing to do. We are already reducing carbon emissions more than virtually any other nation. China and India are adding multiple times as much pollution into the atmosphere as America is.
No. 6: A $400 billion blue-state bailout.
Biden wants states that have already balanced their budgets, such as Arizona, Tennessee and Florida, to bail out bankrupt blue states such as California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. That isn’t fair. It only rewards bad behavior and government lockdowns imposed by incompetent Democratic mayors and governors.
No. 7: A $15-an-hour minimum wage.
This will destroy millions of jobs for young people and low-skilled workers. It will severely damage poorer states with lower costs of living, such as Mississippi, Arkansas and South Carolina. Can you think of a worse time to saddle small businesses and restaurants with higher costs when so many firms are already facing bankruptcy due to the virus?
Is it any wonder that socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and radical leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have enthusiastically embraced the Biden plan? Some economists, myself included, worry that we could be looking at a second Great Depression with the Biden policies.
23 maps that explain how Democrats went from the party of racism to the party of Obama
he Democratic Party is the longest-existing political party in the US, and arguably the world. But in its over 180 year existence, it’s completed a remarkable ideological and geographic transformation. Originally a staunch defender of Southern slavery, the party now wins the support of most nonwhite voters. Once an advocate of rural interests against coastal elites, the party now draws much of its strength from cities and coastal areas. These maps tell the tale of the Democratic Party’s origins, its various metamorphoses, and the sources of its strength — and weaknesses — today.
1) Democrats: The party of Andrew Jackson
For 28 years after Thomas Jefferson was elected president in 1800, his party, deemed Democratic-Republicans by today’s political scientists but commonly referred to as Republicans then, controlled the presidency and dominated US politics. But by the mid-1820s, that party had begun to fracture. Factions formed around politicians from different regions with competing ambitions — one of whom was Andrew Jackson, who had gained national fame as a general during the War of 1812. In his 1824 presidential bid, Jackson won pluralities of both the popular vote and electoral college. But since no candidate won an outright majority, the election went to the House of Representatives, which chose John Quincy Adams as president. Jackson quickly became the leading opposition figure to Adams’ presidency, and in their 1828 rematch, the results of which are shown here, he won broad support everywhere outside the Northeast, and swept into office. At the time, his supporters didn’t have an official name, and were usually called “Jackson men.” But because they argued that they had the popular will, they distinguished themselves from their rivals by calling themselves “Democratic” Republicans — and eventually, just “Democrats.”
2) Democrats: The party of Indian removal
One major issue animated Jackson’s presidency from his very first year: the forced removal of Indians living east of the Mississippi River, to clear the way for more white settlement. This map shows the removal of the “Five Civilized Tribes” — Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole — that ensued after Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830. Indians were rounded up from their homes, and sent to concentration camps and on forced marches. About 46,000 people were expelled during Jackson’s presidency. The issue was one of the most important in defining the new Democratic Party — according to historian Daniel Walker Howe, an analysis of Congressional votes at the time found that “voting on Indian affairs proved to be the most consistent predictor of partisan affiliation.”
3) Democrats: The party of Manifest Destiny
With the Indians moved out, the Democratic Party turned its sights westward. By the 1840s, the party had embraced the idea of “manifest destiny” — that (white) Americans were divinely entitled to domination of the whole North American continent. In his book The Battle Cry of Freedom, historian James McPherson calls Manifest Destiny “mainly a Democratic doctrine,” and writes that the party “pressed for the expansion of American institutions across the whole of North America, whether the residents — Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, Canadians — wanted them or not.” This map shows all 19th century westward expansion in the contiguous US, but pay close attention to the westernmost regions. Three massive expansions — the annexation of Texas, the Oregon acquisition, and the postwar Mexican Cession — occurred during the presidency of Democrat James K. Polk. The Mexican-American War in particular, pushed by Polk and criticized by the opposition Whigs, expanded US holdings all the way to California — and set the stage for controversy over whether slavery should be expanded to these newly-acquired territories.
The Civil War and its aftermath
4) Democrats were the party of slavery
As the 1850s began, the question over whether slavery should be allowed in new territories and states became the major dividing line in American politics — and the Democratic Party more and more clearly became the most important institutional supporter of slavery. Their main rivals, the Whigs, were split on the issue regionally, but even most Democrats outside the South were expected to refrain from criticizing the so-called “peculiar institution.” Furthermore, Democratic conventions had a rule requiring two-thirds approval for any presidential nominee, which effectively gave the South veto power over the choice. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act — passed under Democratic President Franklin Pierce, by a Democrat-controlled Congress — set the stage for even stronger sectionalism in US politics, over slavery. Most notably, the new law outright repealed the decades-old ban on slavery north of the 36°30′ line, instead allowing residents of the Kansas and Nebraska territories to vote on whether to permit slavery by popular sovereignty. The law and ensuing bloody conflict in Kansas provoked a tremendous backlash in the North, and was the death knell for the regionally divided Whig Party. An irrevocable split between Northern and Southern Whigs allowed for the rise of a new Northern party organized around opposition to expanding slavery — the Republicans.
5) The Democratic Party fractured during the Civil War
Crisis finally arrived with the 1860 election of Republican Abraham Lincoln as president, the subsequent secession of 11 Southern states, and the breakout of the Civil War. The new Confederacy was suspicious of party organizations, so though former Democrats like Jefferson Davis played major roles in the new government, the Democratic Party no longer operated in the South during the war. In the Union, however, the party remained Lincoln’s main opposition. There was a range of opinion, including moderate Peace Democrats who preferred a negotiated settlement, Copperheads who wanted to cease the war immediately and blamed abolitionists for provoking it, and War Democrats who wanted peace through victory. In 1864, Republicans pushed a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery, which went down to defeat in the House in June because 57 of the chamber’s 72 Democrats opposed it, as shown on this map. As Lincoln ran for reelection that year with the support of some War Democrats, the Peace Democrats fought back with what historian William Lee Miller called “the most explicitly and virulently racist campaign by a major party in American history.” Democrats constantly stoked fears that Lincoln’s policies would lead to miscegenation and racial equality. The party had performed well in the 1862 midterms, and as late as August 1864 Lincoln expected to lose. But the fall of Atlanta in early September restored public confidence in Lincoln’s handling of the war. He swept to a landslide victory that November, and passage and ratification of the 13th Amendment soon followed.
6) The Democratic domination of the South
After the Civil War, it was clear that the Republican Party was the nation’s governing party. In the next 11 presidential elections, spanning 1868 to 1908, Democrats only managed to win twice (Grover Cleveland’s two nonconsecutive terms). They held the Senate for just four years in that 40-year timespan, and the House of Representatives for 16. In the South, however, the Democrats became effectively the only party — a situation that would last for decades, since the Republican Party was so closely associated with Lincoln, the war, and the end of slavery. This map shows how the South overwhelmingly voted for Democrats in presidential elections. But the dominance existed at state and local government levels as well, leading to constant abuses of the rights of freed blacks. “Long into the twentieth century, the South remained a one-party region under the control of a reactionary ruling elite who used the same violence and fraud that had helped defeat Reconstruction to stifle internal dissent,” wrote historian Eric Foner in his book Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution.
7) The party of farmers and silver
After Reconstruction, racial issues receded from the national debate — and instead, monetary policy became the hot-button issue of the late 19th century. The 1873 adoption of the gold standard and ending of silver coinage was incredibly controversial among farmers, who blamed the policy change and the business interests who supported it for various economic hardships. As a result, farmers across the South and West began to gravitate toward the Democrats. Matters came to a head in the election of 1896, when Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan attempted to mobilize a national populist coalition against gold-supporting capitalists, saying his opponents “shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” But he failed — the rural states that backed him weren’t enough for a majority, because more populous states in the Northeast and Great Lakes voted Republican. “McKinley’s triumph indicated that the Republicans had secured control of America’s industrial base,” wrote historian HW Brands in his book American Colossus. “Urban workers crossed class lines to vote with their employers rather than with the farmers of the South and West.” They would keep doing so — letting the Republican Party dominate national politics — for decades.
Embracing government activism
8) Woodrow Wilson and Progressivism
The Progressive political tradition arose in the US as the 19th century slipped into the 20th. It focused on fighting corruption, countering the power of monopolistic trusts, social reform, and the active use of government to try to improve people’s lives. Originally, there were progressive elements in both parties (and outside them), with Republican Theodore Roosevelt and Democrat Woodrow Wilson as leading figures. This map shows the electoral college results of the 1912 presidential election, which pitted Wilson and Roosevelt (now heading a new Progressive Party) against each other and the incumbent Republican president, William Howard Taft. Wilson won, and Democrats enacted various economic and governmental reforms during his presidency, such as an antitrust law and an income tax. Eventually, the Democratic Party became known as the main home for progressives.
9) The party elected to fight the Great Depression
This is the map that finally restored the Democratic Party to dominance of national politics. After the 1920s decade of Republican rule, generally pro-business policies, and a booming economy, the bottom finally fell out when the Great Depression crushed the presidency of Herbert Hoover. The discrediting of laissez-faire ideas and the inability of Republicans to deal with the crisis led to landslide Democratic victories in 1932, when, as this map shows, the average unemployment rate among gainful workers was 34.5 percent. Franklin D. Roosevelt swept into office and enacted the New Deal, perhaps the most sweeping domestic legislative program in American history. His administration also dramatically expanded the size of government and created the modern executive state.
10) The party of government spending
The New Deal — which became the emblematic liberal program for decades to come — included various attempts to boost the economy, jobs programs, laws expanding union powers, and the creation of Social Security. It also led to a lot of individual projects, ranging from infrastructure development to arts, that put people back to work and made clear the role government could play in American life. This map shows the sweep of New Deal projects across the country, from the Chickamauga Dam in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a post office in Riverton, Wyoming. Head over to the Living New Deal website for the interactive version of the map, which shows the specifics of every single project.
11) The party of unions
In the decade after the National Labor Relations Act passed in 1935, US union membership more than quadrupled, to 14.3 million workers, writes Rich Yeselson. This expansion provided a new and durable organizational base that became increasingly associated with just the Democratic Party. But unions didn’t flourish everywhere — they had particular trouble breaking into rural areas and the South. The expansion of union influence and power produced a backlash — both among the Republican Party and business interests, and in the still-Democratic South, which was suspicious of union organizing. In 1947, these two elements joined together to enact the Taft-Hartley Act over President Truman’s veto. The law “stopped labor dead in its tracks at a point when unions were large, growing, and confident of their economic and political power,” Yeselson writes. States were now permitted to pass “right to work” laws that prevented mandatory union membership among employees — and many soon did.
12) The split over civil rights
The Democrats’ coalition of the mid-20th century was divided between Southerners who supported segregation, liberal activists trying to end it, and others outside the South who were happy to look the other way. Eventually, though, the supporters of civil rights gained the upper hand, pushing through important civil rights and voting rights laws in the mid-1960s. This map shows states where Democratic senators voted for cloture for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where they voted against it (which meant continuing the filibuster), or where the party had two senators whose votes were split. Nearly all Republicans voted in favor of cloture, which was invoked 71-29, but it was Democratic president Lyndon Johnson who signed it and the subsequent Voting Rights Act into law — which helped drive more and more black voters to embrace the party that had so long been associated with racial discrimination.
13) The (gradual) loss of the South
”I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come,” President Johnson said shortly after signing the Civil Rights Act, according to his aide Bill Moyers. Yet party loyalties take a long time to shake off, and while the South certainly appears lost to Democrats today, the break-up was very gradual. Democrats maintained control of the House of Representatives for an amazing 40 straight years between 1955 and 1994, in large part because of continued support from conservative Southerners, as shown in this map by Jonathan Davis at Arizona State University. The Senate, too, remained in Democratic hands for all but six of those years. Majority control didn’t necessarily mean the party could pass progressive bills, though, as many of the Southern conservatives frequently partnered with Republicans to block liberal initiatives. The South also provided the Democrats’ only two successful presidential candidates between 1968 and 2008 — Jimmy Carter, who won nearly every Southern state in 1976, and Bill Clinton, who won a few.
14) The antiwar movement
Democratic presidents began American involvement in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. But Vietnam created a tremendous political backlash in America, as hundreds of thousands were drafted and tens of thousands died for a war with no end in sight. This map shows five major examples of anti-Vietnam War protests between 1967 and 1968 — the fifth of which infamously occurred at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and spiraled into violence. Since the sixties, there’s been a dovish tradition in the Democratic Party — even if it isn’t always heeded. When George HW Bush took the Gulf War resolution to a vote in 1991, the chamber was controlled by Democrats — but just 18 percent of Democratic senators, and 32 percent of Democratic House members, voted in favor of war. After 9/11, more Democrats voted for George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, though many on the left remained suspicious. When that effort foundered, anger over it helped energize the Democrats and restore them to Congress in 2006. Senator Hillary Clinton’s vote to authorize force in Iraq similarly helped propel Barack Obama to the nomination, and the presidency, in 2008.
Today’s Democratic coalition
15) Democrats are strong in big cities
This map of New York’s political donors is from a series by Crowdpac that plots out the address of every disclosed political donor in America, and uses blue dots to mark Democratic donors and red ones to mark Republicans. We see here that NYC is overwhelmingly blue, which makes sense — according to an analysis by Richard Florida, 11 of the 15 largest US cities voted for Obama over Romney in 2012, and Obama performed particularly well in denser cities. “Affluent, high-tech, creative class metros” like New York and Los Angeles are “mostly blue,” while “less advantaged, less skilled metros in the Sun Belt and even in the Midwest are increasingly red,” Florida writes.
16) Richer Americans vote Republican, poorer ones vote Democratic
In recent years, the richest states — many of which are in the Northeast or on the West Coast — have tended to vote Democratic. But that doesn’t mean that the Democrats are the party of the rich. These maps, from Andrew Gelman’s book “Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State,” separate how the richest third and poorest third of the population in each state voted in the 2004 presidential election (which was won by George W. Bush). Gelman’s analysis shows that the richest third of nearly every state’s electorate voted for Bush, while the poorest third of voters in most states opted for Democrat John Kerry.
17) Democrats perform badly among evangelical Protestants
Here’s another map of where Democrats are strongest today — in places where there aren’t many evangelical Protestants. American politics weren’t always incredibly polarized by religion, but restrictions on school prayer and the expansion of abortion rights helped trigger the mobilization of the Christian right. These issues weren’t purely partisan when they first came up, but gradually, Democrats and the liberal establishment became known for protecting abortion rights, defending the separation of church and state, and (more slowly) expanding gay rights.
18) Few Blue Dog Democrats remain
After the dramatic defeat of many House Democrats in 1994, the more conservative members of the party felt they needed a group to better coordinate them — or at least a label they could use to distinguish themselves from the party’s liberals. So the “Blue Dog Democrats” were formed. Its members tended to be more pro-business and more socially conservative. By 2009, with the Democrats back in control of Congress for Obama’s first year, the coalition had swelled to include 54 members of the House, and great pressure was placed on Blue Dogs to support Obama’s agenda on health reform and cap-and-trade — which many of them did. The backlash broke the Blue Dogs, and the vast majority of the coalition either retired or was defeated in subsequent elections. These maps show the decline in House districts represented by Blue Dogs from 2009 to 2013. The Blue Dogs’ ranks will shrink further after the Democrats’ 2014 drubbing, to either 14 or 15 (depending on a recount).
19) The party of unions
Labor remains a key pillar in the Democratic coalition in states where it still has a presence. But union membership has dropped so much, and unions have been so weakened, that the party now has to look elsewhere for much of its financial support and organizational muscle — to rich donors and social issue interest groups. Private-sector union membership has particularly plummeted, from 35 percent or so in the 1950s to just 6.9 percent in 2011. This map shows the percentage of each state’s 2011 labor force that was in a union — and makes it clear that Democrats perform better in more unionized states. Measures that would weaken unions further, like right to work laws or restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees, are key pillars of the Republican agenda in many states today.
The future of the party
20) The growth of the nonwhite electorate
Since LBJ’s 1964 landslide, Republicans have won more of the white vote than Democrats in every single presidential election. Initially, this led to the Democrats losing the presidency quite frequently. But as the share of the nonwhite population has grown, Democratic prospects in presidential elections have improved — and the party has won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. “Every year, the nonwhite proportion of the electorate grows by about half a percentage point—meaning that in every presidential election, the minority share of the vote increases by 2 percent, a huge amount in a closely divided country,” Jonathan Chait has written. By 2020, he added, “nonwhite voters should rise from a quarter of the 2008 electorate to one third.” This map, from PolicyLink, shows one projection of how much US population growth in the next 30 years will be due to people of color.
21) Democrats and the white vote
Though Barack Obama won the 2012 presidential election, he only picked up about 40 percent of the white vote — the lowest for a Democrat in decades. But this decline wasn’t evenly distributed. The New Republic posted an excellent map that makes this clear with a county-level comparison of Al Gore’s performance in 2000 to Barack Obama’s performance in 2012. In the red counties, Obama did better than Gore, and in the blue counties, he did worse. “Democrats have a problem with Southern whites, not all whites,” Nate Cohn wrote, pointing out that Obama won heavily-white New Hampshire, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The party performed less well among whites in the 2014 midterms, though, so we’ll see how things turn out in 2016.
22) Weakness in the states
The Obama presidency has brought some major setbacks for Democrats in the states, as you can see in this map, which shows the partisan balance of state legislatures after the 2014 midterms. Democrats ended up with full control in a mere 11 state legislatures, while the GOP got full control of 30. The number of states where Democrats control both the governorship and the state legislature has been cut to 7 — the fewest since the Civil War. If the states are the “laboratories of democracy,” as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it, it’s the Republican Party, not the Democrats, who will be the ones conducting experiments in the next few years.
23) Growth of Hispanics in key states
The growth of the Hispanic population has been particularly important to presidential-year Democratic math. These maps, from Pew, show the growth of that population from 1980 to 2011. This growth already helped California and New Mexico become solidly Democratic states on the presidential level, and helped tip swing states Florida and Colorado toward Barack Obama too. It also gives political context to President Obama’s deportation relief executive action of November 2014: Democrats believe that the future of their party relies on the strength of their bond with the Hispanic electorate.
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