President Biden and the future of democracy

President Biden and the future of democracy, by Brendan O’Neill.

Trump and some of his supporters will continue for a while longer to insist there was fraud in the voting process.

But you will not see the establishment talk about a broken democratic process. The Russian meddlers will disappear into thin air. Social media will have been seen to have done a good job rather than a bad one. The Observer in the UK won’t publish long, insane essays about the election having been ‘stolen’ by ‘shady’ forces. The New York Times and the Washington Post won’t publish op-ed after op-ed saying democracy is busted. No, this time they will say democracy works. Why will this radical about-face occur? For one simple reason: in 2020 the elites’ favoured candidate won.

The shocking rage against democracy and spread of conspiracy theories that we witnessed from the cultural and media elites over the past four years, following the election of Trump and the victory of Brexit, were motivated by a simple and deeply dangerous view — that democracy is only good when it gives us, the elites, what we want.

When democracy puts a Biden- or Clinton-style technocrat in the White House, it’s great; it is working. When democracy returns a favourable result for the EU, it is celebrated, or at least paid lip-service to. But when democracy returns a result that these people expressly argued against — whether it’s Trump in power, Britain leaving the EU or Greece saying no to more austerity — then it is demonised, described as defective, and sometimes even ignored.

This points to one of the most worrying beliefs of the technocratic establishment and the woke elites: that democracy exists to serve their agendas and install their people in power. This is as wrong as it is possible to be. It is a catastrophically mistaken view of democracy and one that we must continue to challenge. Democracy is about empowering the people to decide the fate of the nation. The people. This is what so horrified the elites, the experts and the educated classes in 2016 – the fact that the people, them, the low-information hordes, behaved in a way that they were clearly instructed not to. They voted Trump, they voted Leave. This is why we were subjected to four years of top-down rage against democracy and ceaseless efforts by influential and wealthy people to delegitimise and even overthrow the millions of votes for Trump and Brexit. …

Let’s get real about democracy. It is about the people deciding what happens. Not experts, not technocrats, not clever people with PhDS. All people. Their decision rules.

If you only like democracy when the people give the ‘right’ answer, then you aren’t a democrat — you are an elitist who sees democracy as little more than a legitimising gloss on the course of political action you and your clever friends had already decided upon.

If you are cheering the democratic wave that brought Biden to power but you revolted against the democratic waves behind Trump and Brexit, then you aren’t a democrat — you are a cultural neo-aristocrat who sees ordinary people’s political role as little more than nodding along to your views, your policies and your power.

The Democrats aren’t democrats, obviously. No truth in advertising there.

hat-tip Stephen Neil