Elections

Nancy Pelosi Is Already Attacking the Legitimacy of the 2020 Election

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks ahead of a House vote authorizing an impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Capitol Hill, October 31, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Democrats are unable to accept the fact that a bunch of voters will simply disagree with them.

‘Nancy Pelosi just stated that ‘it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate.’ @FoxNews In other words, she thinks I’m going to win and doesn’t want to take a chance on letting the voters decide. Like Al Green, she wants to change our voting system. Wow, she’s CRAZY!” tweeted Donald Trump Tuesday.

Well, not exactly. Trump’s tweet quotes a Fox News reporter summarizing Pelosi’s position, not the speaker’s statement verbatim. Left-wing Twitterverse, of course, was immediately able to jump all over the president’s clumsy wording and act as if the substance of his contention was wholly untrue. It wasn’t.

In her Dear Colleague letter pushing back against Republican anti-impeachment talking points, Nancy Pelosi wrote this: “The weak response to these hearings has been, ‘Let the election decide.’ That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.” Is he?

If a Republican had suggested that a presidential election was a “dangerous” notion, he would have triggered around-the-clock panic-stricken coverage on CNN and a series of deep dives in The Atlantic lamenting the conservative turn against our sacred democratic ideals.

What Pelosi has done is even more cynical. She’s arguing that if Democrats fail in their efforts to impeach Trump — and, I assume, remove him from office — then the very legitimacy of the 2020 election will be in question before any votes are cast.

Though most liberals have long declared the 2016 contest contaminated, as far as we know, absolutely nothing — not even the most successful foreign efforts in “interference” or “meddling” — damaged the integrity of the election results. Notwithstanding the belief of over 60 percent of Democrats, precipitated by breathless and often misleading media coverage, not one vote was altered by Putin, nor was a single person’s free will purloined by a Russian Twitter bot or Facebook ad.

And, contra Pelosi’s implication, whatever you make of Trump’s request from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s shady son, not one voter will be restricted from casting a ballot for whomever they please in 2020. In truth, voters will know more about the inner workings of Trump’s presidency than they have about any other administration in memory. Maybe they care, maybe they don’t, but that’s not up to Pelosi.

Rather than safeguarding the integrity of our elections, Democrats have corroded trust in them. Post-2016 calls for increased control over speech on the Internet, for instance, pose a far greater danger to American freedoms than anything our enemies at the Kremlin could cook up. And if the contention is that the only truly legitimate election is one that is free of any attempts to mislead voters, as seems to be the case, then we might as well close up shop. Because the presence of unregulated political rhetoric is a feature of a free and open society. We will never be able to, nor should we aspire to, limit discourse.

It shouldn’t be forgotten, either, that this habit of injecting doubt into the electoral process is nothing new. For the past 20 years (at least), Democrats have shown a destructive inability to accept the fact that a bunch of voters simply disagree with them. If it’s not “dark money” boring into their souls, it’s gerrymandering, special interests, confusing ballots, voter suppression, crafty Ruskies or the Electoral College. Democrats can’t lose on the merits. Someone, somewhere, has fooled the Proles into making bad decisions.

All that said, it is Pelosi’s constitutional prerogative to try to impeach Trump for any reasons she sees fit, even if her goal is only to weaken the political prospects of her opponent. No, it isn’t a “coup,” but it’s certainly not a constitutional imperative, either. It’s a political choice.

In the end, the presidency happens to be one of the things we do decide via elections. That will almost surely be the case when it comes Trump, and Pelosi knows it. And when Trump isn’t removed by the Senate, and if the results don’t go the way Pelosi hopes, she’s preemptively given Democrats a reason to question the legitimacy of yet another election.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

Most Popular

U.S.

A Data Double Take: Police Shootings

In a recent article, social scientist Patrick Ball revisited his and Kristian Lum’s 2015 study, which made a compelling argument for the underreporting of lethal police shootings by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Lum and Ball’s study may be old, but it bears revisiting amid debates over the American ... Read More
U.S.

A Data Double Take: Police Shootings

In a recent article, social scientist Patrick Ball revisited his and Kristian Lum’s 2015 study, which made a compelling argument for the underreporting of lethal police shootings by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Lum and Ball’s study may be old, but it bears revisiting amid debates over the American ... Read More
Culture

How Long Will Margaret Sanger Last?

Much of the radical Left is at present consumed by a feverish desire to erase from U.S. history anyone whom they’ve deemed in some way insufficiently loyal to the progressive creed of 2020. The statue-toppling brigades have exercised little discretion in determining which of our leaders are no longer fit for ... Read More
Culture

How Long Will Margaret Sanger Last?

Much of the radical Left is at present consumed by a feverish desire to erase from U.S. history anyone whom they’ve deemed in some way insufficiently loyal to the progressive creed of 2020. The statue-toppling brigades have exercised little discretion in determining which of our leaders are no longer fit for ... Read More
Education

Meritocracy without Meeting

Harvard University announced that it was canceling in-person classes for the entire upcoming academic year because of COVID-19. Students can attend digital Harvard for the exact same price. Some of my fellow conservatives are wondering if the stresses of pandemic conditions will finally pop an over-inflated ... Read More
Education

Meritocracy without Meeting

Harvard University announced that it was canceling in-person classes for the entire upcoming academic year because of COVID-19. Students can attend digital Harvard for the exact same price. Some of my fellow conservatives are wondering if the stresses of pandemic conditions will finally pop an over-inflated ... Read More

Year Zero

Every cultural revolution starts at year zero, whether explicitly or implicitly. The French Revolution recalibrated the calendar to begin anew, and the genocidal Pol Pot declared his own Cambodian revolutionary ascension as the beginning of time. Somewhere after May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd, while ... Read More

Year Zero

Every cultural revolution starts at year zero, whether explicitly or implicitly. The French Revolution recalibrated the calendar to begin anew, and the genocidal Pol Pot declared his own Cambodian revolutionary ascension as the beginning of time. Somewhere after May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd, while ... Read More