Constitutional Defamation: Democrats, not Democracy, are in Danger this Election

Below is a slightly expanded version of my Hill column on the widespread claims that democracy is in peril if the GOP prevails in the midterm elections. On the eve of the midterm elections, one would think that our constitutional system has only days to live. Indeed, on Fox Sunday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn declared “I’ve studied history all of my life. I taught history. And I’m telling you, what I see here are parallels to what the history was in this world back in the 1930s in Germany. This country is on track to repeat what happened in Germany when it was the greatest democracy going, when it elected a chancellor that then co-opted the media.” In other words, the Republicans are like Nazis about to overthrow democracy, an analogy to the rise of Adolph Hitler. It is notable that Democrats, including President Biden, are now arguing that the media is pro-Trump or coopted by the Republicans.

Here is the column:

If a single moment could sum up the growing hysteria heading into the midterm elections, it was the appearance of historian Michael Beschloss on MSNBC this week when he warned that, if the Republicans prevail, we could see “our children … arrested and conceivably killed.”

In other words, it is not gas prices, the economy or crime that once again are the top polling issues for voters. Instead, it is democracy or death, gas or grandchildren — you choose.

The drum major in this parade of horribles has been President Biden, who was widely criticized for an earlier Philadelphia speech that denounced his political opponents as fascists plotting to overthrow democracy.

Biden returned to this theme in what White House chief of staff Ron Klain called his “final warning” to voters. The president ominously cautioned voters who might be thinking of voting for Republicans that, “make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us.” In other words, be afraid, be very afraid.

President Biden and others have returned to that theme as Democrats appear to be losing ground even in traditional blue states. Among others, Hillary Clinton warned that the GOP is trying to “steal” the election and that “they’re going after democracy.

The president’s attacks do not appear to be gaining much traction, with polls showing that most people view him as inciting political unrest. Nevertheless, on almost every network and cable news program, the mantra seems unrelenting: If the GOP prevails in the midterms, democracy could be lost.

Whereas the media once pushed a false Russia collusion claim in the 2016 election, this time it is pushing a claim that the GOP itself represents the threat to our liberties and very lives.

As Democratic alarm over a GOP win in both houses of Congress has increased with polling in the past two weeks, so has the alarming rhetoric. Beschloss, for instance, warned that not only may democracy have just a few days left but there may be no one allowed to record its fall: “Fifty years from now, if historians are allowed to write in this country and if there are still free publishing houses and a free press — which I’m not certain of, but if that is true — a historian will say what was at stake … was the fact whether we will be a democracy in the future, whether our children will be arrested and conceivably killed.”

The Democratic campaign against GOP candidates as extremists and election deniers is breathtakingly dishonest. Democratic leaders like Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), have been accused of deceptive practices in spending tens of millions to support the most conservative candidates in Republican primaries. Those candidates — now denounced by Democrats as “extremists” — prevailed in their primaries with the Democrats’ support and could now win in states like New Hampshire.

At the same time, Democrats and the House’s Jan. 6 select committee are pursuing those who engaged in similarly inflammatory rhetoric leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot — just as the airways are filled with Trump-like warnings that the midterm elections are about to be “stolen.” Likewise, just as some on the left claim there may be no more real history books after the midterms, others are campaigning to ban books by figures like Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the name of protecting free speech.

What leaders like President Biden seem to forget is that our Constitution not only was written for times like this, it was written in a time like this. Federalists and Jeffersonians actually — not just figuratively — tried to kill each other with the use of laws like the Alien and Sedition Acts.

But James Madison crafted a Constitution for the worst of times — and the worst of leaders. He famously observed that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” So he created a system that contains a series of checks and balances to prevent the concentration — and the abuse — of power.

There has been a growing crisis of faith on the left as leaders and pundits  have attacked our Constitution and its institutions, including the Supreme Court. These objections appear to be based not on the Constitution failing to resist extraconstitutional demands but on it failing to yield to such demands. These figures apparently are upset that the democratic process or the Supreme Court have not given them what they demand. Thus, the Constitution or the court must go.

Widespread references to Jan. 6 should inspire greater confidence in our constitutional system and dispel the doubts being voiced by President  Biden and others. The Capitol riot was denounced by most Americans; Republican leaders like Vice President Pence and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) carried out their constitutional duties. Federal judges (including many appointed by then-President Trump) uniformly rejected challenges to the election; the Supreme Court, with six conservative justices, repeatedly ruled against Trump — including all three of his appointees.

The Constitution has weathered every storm in our history, including a Civil War and a “war” over civil rights. We’ve tackled everything from a depression to desegregation; we’ve faced periods of violence and vitriol that tore us apart. And yet, we remain.

The U.S. Constitution is not an elegant or poetic document, but it has one thing to commend it: It is designed to survive the worst of times and the worst of leaders, and it has done just that.

The Democrats’ democracy-or-death mantra is not just demagoguery. It is defamation of a constitutional system that has proven itself, time and again, to be up to any challenge. Democrats indeed may be in danger in this midterm — but democracy is not.

77 thoughts on “Constitutional Defamation: Democrats, not Democracy, are in Danger this Election”

  1. This is what happens when you live in an echo chamber.

    The Democrats thrived in a Nanny State.
    They know what’s best and we’re all pleebs.

    Now their Nanny state is about to end.
    This election is a paper revolution where the votes will topple their world view.

    To them… as Turley points out… Democratic view of what a Democracy is… is threatened.

    The Democrats are counting on the MSM to echo their words and threats as if they are real. There are those on MSNBC and CNN and others who are doing just that.
    But no one except the feeble minded are buying in to it.


  2. We have to count all the votes, every dam one of them. Even if we are counting votes in January .

  3. Thank You, Prof. Turley, for the sobering enlightenment re: our decision-making tomorrow to protect our Constitutional Republic….

  4. The attempts to brand a political opponent as a Nazi seems to be pretty much a variation of Mike Godwin’s Law. Godwin’s Law posits that “As a discussion on the Internet grows longer, the likelihood of a person/s being compared to Hitler or another Nazi, increases.”

    While that “law” may be true, when politicians do it, they are usually engaging in the psychological defense mechanism known as projection.

    1. I think what turley said was spot on. “Yield”. And add that “democracy” is dead. Since we are a republic! What’s being asked by the people tomorrow night is a yield… our republic. If which “we the people” win we’ll own over 30 states. TheN some. Making constitutional amendments easier. Of course ppl like Hillary who like the 17th and at al. Don’t want to respect our republic. She thinks it’s as easy a moving to new york! And getting elected. Tomorrow our republic comes home to roost….And that’s what scares them most! When after a hundred years the “people” start to unwind the tampering with the constitution…And senators might actually go back as a state sent roll\role. That’s what scared them…that we are a representative republic…..not a democracy…And the people we send forth bind together our union….have to answer to their own people…..not money bags! They are afraid of people!

    2. @JFeldman,
      I remember when that first came out when the internet was Usenet.

      You can add to the list using the term fascist, although how do you handle ANTIFA? ANTIFA is ironic because they are the real fascists in the crowd. The only difference is that they don’t wear brown shirts, just black.

  5. Now you understand that Beschloss is a slavering sycophant and dutiful agent of the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs).

  6. Allowing dependent parasites to vote causes the vote to be worthless.

    The American Founders never intended for dependent parasites to vote.

    Who, in their right mind, would take direction from dependent parasites?

  7. The Founders gave Americans a restricted-vote republic, not a one man, one vote democracy.

    “Crazy Abe” Lincoln et al. took that away with Karl Marx’s antithetical, improperly ratified and unconstitutional. “RECONSTRUCTION Amendments,” aka DESTRUCTION Amendments, which abrogated the right of States to entitle voters.

    The Supreme Court recently acted retroactively by 50 years to strike down antithetical and unconstitutional Roe v. Wade and a false, phantom constitutional right to abortion.

    The Supreme Court must now act retroactively by as many as 150 years to strike down every particular aspect of the entirety of the unconstitutional American welfare state.

    The Supreme Court has the power of Judicial Review. *

    The Justices of the Supreme Court swore an oath to support the clear and evident, meaning and intent of the literal English words of the U.S. Constitution.

    The Supreme Court has no power to legislate, modify legislation expressly, or modify legislation implicitly through “interpretation.”

    It’s long past time for the Supreme Court to begin faithfully fulfilling its sworn oath.

    “The doctrine of judicial review holds that the courts are vested with the authority to determine the legitimacy of the acts of the executive and the legislative branches of government.”

    – DOJ, Office of Justice Programs

    1. “… and a false, phantom constitutional right to abortion. ”
      Where does the constitution get the ‘Right’ to allow your neighbors via beaurcracy to dictate violation of a random body under a corrupt, self-serving definition of ‘life’?

      1. olde reb; A decision about protecting life can ONLY be made by the people. I see no other constitutional path.

    2. They won’t ever. May as well book a fishing charter…one way! And call it a life day! I wish I’d never gone to law school….my spouse would have had such a better life! People….please never recommend law school I to ppl you love. They will never enjoy bliss! Spare your loved ones!

  8. The Old pre-MSNBC Beschloss in a Q&A with me from 2002: ‘I’m a registered independent and I have tried to keep politics as much out of my history and everything else as I can. At least, I strive to keep as a-partisan as an historian as it gets.’

    1. Really? Same side who tells us democracy is over. I have a word for that sob….kma! I sat at the table with a wwi vet. As child. But I am just one person. I seriously feel like fighting back. I don’t feel like votes are enough. I seriously feel like fighting back….like really ready to lay down my life for this type of fight. That’s what he’s dredging up and gas lighting and inflaming. …he’s the one yelling fire…..And I won’t mind it if someone else twists hips neck! Or puts him under xyclone b. Forever.

  9. Although the Constitution was written for the best and worst of times, the separation of departments such as the Justice Dept., the CIA etc. have been used in collusion as seen in the attempted coup by Obama, Hillary. The system only works when people in power have the best intentions for the government, it can be circumvented when those people are working with bad intentions.

  10. Blah, blah, blah–more of Turley’s paid spin. Turley DOES know better. It is a fact that Democracy is under the greatest threat since the Civil War, and it is because of Republican election deniers–people who espouse the Big Lie, who promise to rig votes and reject valid Democrat votes because Trump asks them to, and who DO know the Big Lie IS a lie–but who will say or do anything to get the hoardes of dumbaxx Trump voters to vote for them. This is how badly they want power, and it’s wrong all day long. Tell us, Turley, when in US history has there been a presidential candidate who announces before Election Day, because he is losing in the polls, that the only way he can lose is if the other candidate cheats? Someone who plans, long before Election Day, to claim victory when he knows he’s going to lose? Someone who refuses to concede, who makes up lies about all sorts of alleged shenanigans that account for his loss other than the fact that most voters rejected him, that he was a massive failure as a leader, and whose incompetence in handling a pandemic resulted in the unncessary deaths of 130,000 Americans. And, who won’t stop lying even those all of his claims have been disproven; who still not only won’t concede, who: 1. tried to bully the VP of the USA to refuse the ceremonial duty of accepting certified vote counts from states; 2. tried to bully state election officials to “find” votes that don’t exist; 3. who filed 60+ lawsuits that failed for lack of evidence; 4. who went on “Stop the Steal” rallies to stir up fans, telling them to go to Washington DC and to “fight like hell or you’re not going to have a country any more”; 5. Who sat in a chair for over 3 hours, mesmerized by his power and the glory of his adoring fans, watching his fans attack Capitol Police Officers, break into the Capitol, excrete human waste on the floors and walls, invade the Speaker’s Office, deface the John Lewis Memorial, erect a gallows with chants of “Hang Mike Pence”, and ignored requests from his staff and even his daughter to call it to a halt. When he finally does call off the loser squad, he tells them he “loves them”. Now, we find out he also stole classified documents, lied about returning them, is litigating the issue and even fundraising over it. Do Republicans speak out against these proven facts? No. Instead, because they have nothing to offer the American people, and Trump supporters are a sure thing, Republican candidates continue to support the Big Lie and have pledged to discard votes if the counts don’t turn out the way they want them to. And, who does Turley attack? Not the Big Liar in Chief–he goes after American patriots who point out that American democracy is on the line and is hanging by a slender thread, all due to the massive ego of a former reality television performer.

    Today’s little toilet piece is red meat for the disciples: “don’t listen to them–they’re overwrought”. No, Turley, too many people have died for the cause of American democracy so that each voter’s voice can be heard and so that the people can have a say in who their leaders are–not who is in a position to rig elections to turn out they way they want. How on earth we have gotten to the point where candidates pledge to rig elections–saying so openly and without shame–and to continue supporting the Big Lie, despite the mountains of evidence proving that it IS a lie–is a matter for historians. And, no matter how much they pay you to downplay the very real risk to American democracy and to reassure the disciples that it’s OK to support the Big Lie, our way of life and our system of self-governance ARE on the line.

    1. Gigi

      Garbage In, Garbage In

      NUTCHACHACHA’s essence and perspective are redistribution of wealth and affirmative action; it’s reminiscent of Karl Marx, no?

      “Affirmative Action – Don’t Leave Home Without It!”


    2. You can pretty much guarantee that when the word denier is bandied about – you have a left wing loon speaking.

      If you want people to trust elections – conduct trustworthy elections.

      Without making a single reference to actual fraud
      it is trivial to point out that our elections are a mess.
      That election officals do not follow the law, do not want to follow the law.
      That they are reckless and careless and do most everything possible to undermine trust in elections.

      Just a FEW things that occurred recently in my state.

      almost 250K mailin ballots were sent to people who did not request them – which is illegal.
      The Courts ordered the SOS NOT to do this. She did it anyway – Oops.
      Purportedly these illegal ballots will be caught when they are returned.
      If you beleive that I have swamp land to sell you.

      Our constitution has 4 separate provisions that require in person voting.
      Yet the State Supreme court continues to allow mailin voting.

      Democrats have gone to the federal courts, and state courts 6 separate times to order counting of unsigned or undated mailin ballots.
      And they have lost EVERYTIME – both at our left wing nut state supreme court and at the US supreme court.

      Yet they are STILL fighting this.
      And we KNOW from past expereince that if the election is close – they will win in a local court, count the illegal ballots before a stay can be issued, and the higher court will decide – the ballots were counted the issue is moot.

      The DOJ has sent people to the most historically fraud ridden city in my state – not to prevent fraud, but to thwart the legally required election observers from being able to object when they see election fraud.

      These same city election officials have decided to hire special election security personal.
      Video of their training was leaked and these “security people” – were hired to get in the face of election observers and prevent them from doing their job.

      In 2020 in my state we have 275K more ballots counted than people who voted.
      We have nearly 400K ballots with no chain of custody – we have no idea where they came from

      These are just a few of the documented problems in my state – most in a single city – one that likely manufactured 200K votes in 2020.

      If you want elections to be trusted PLAY BY THE RULES.
      Welcome Transparency.
      Do the job competently.

      when there are problems with hundreds of thousands of ballots – claiming innocent error destroy’s trust.
      Do the job – do it well.

      Business strives to meet 6sigma standards – that is an error rate of 3.4/million
      That would be an error rate of about 30 ballot errors in my state. Not 300K+

    3. Republicans do not want power.
      All they want is for Democrats to NOT have power over them or other ordinary people.

      The current nationwide GOP agenda is almost entirely about THWARTING democrat intrusions into the lives of ordinary people.
      What is it Republicans want ?

      Ordinary police to do their job and go back to fighting crime as they did 5 years ago.
      Schools to quit indoctrinating their kids sexually and racially.
      The FBI to quite targeting parents that object to schools indoctrinating their kids.
      The FBI to cease operating as a weaponized arm of the democratic party.
      The Government to stop telling us what cars we must drive.
      The govenrment to quit depriving us of the energy we need to live our lives.
      The government to actually stop the flow of devastating drugs accross our border.
      The government to stop the uncontrolled flow of illegal immigrants accross our border.
      The government to quit spending money we do not have and foisting double digit inflation on us all.
      The govenrment to quit funding and cozying up to a regime in Iran that is now murdering women.

      Almost the entire GOP agenda is about Thwarting government power – left wing nut power, and returning that power to individuals.

    4. Total US Covid Deaths are now over 1M – 70%+ of those occured during the 22 months Biden was president.

      Further, pretty much EVERYTHING the “experts” told us about Covid was a LIE.
      Can you name a single thing that these experts got right.

      I do not blame Biden for the 700+K deaths that occurred in the 22 months of his presidency.
      But I absolutely blame him for LYING that he could do something about that.

      I would note that most everyone KNOWS democrats are about to lose BIG in this election.

      The Polls strongly favor republicans and the polling error for the last 3 elections has OVER stated democrats by 3-6%.
      Yet, there are plenty of democrats claiming they are going to win – including Biden.

      Are these criminals?

      You seem to insist that unless other people accept your predictions or claims – they are criminals.

      Disagreement is part of life.
      Disagreeing with you is not a crime – frankly it is a duty.

    5. Hillary Clinton never conceded 2016. Claiming fraud
      Stacy Abrams never conceded 2018. Claiming fraud

      Need I go on ?

    6. “A tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

      Even Today Stacy Abram’s is once again denying that she lost the GA governor’s race – Twice.
      Al Gore was not “a threat to democracy” for challenging the 2000 election.
      Clinton was not “a threat to democracy” for challenging the 2016 election.

      The lawlessness and lack of transparency in our elections is a “threat to democracy”
      And that is solely to the blame of democrats.

      If you beleive you won an election legitimately – then you should not be afraid to shine the light on it.

      Further the conduct of an election and the results should not hinge on who was the Secretary of State during the election.
      My state has a long long long history of political corruption by Democrats for DECADES – long before there was a Trump.

      Most everyone in my state KNOWS that any republican MUST win by atleast 400K+ votes statewide – to exceed the fraud that is certain to come from Philadelphia in EVERY election. Only Chicago has a longer history of political corruption that Philadelphia.

      That is an actual threat to democracy.

      Follow the actual law – as written by the legislature.
      If you do not like that law – change it.

    1. TiT,
      I think I am going to vote first to destroy Democracy, then have a big celebratory breakfast.

      Dinner, I think I may have a steak with a brown-red wine reduction sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and roasted veggies.
      I think a dry champagne would go well.

  11. I find it very interesting that the Democrats bring up fascism. The fascist wanted to control the media with an iron fist. Check Democrats. The fascist wanted to control the indoctrination of children (CRT). Check Democrats. The fascist pushed the banking industry to not give loans to their opposition (Paypal and loans to oil companies). Check Democrats. The fascist wanted to control all domestic production of energy (attempt to regulate oil pricing through threats of higher taxation) Check Democrats. The fascist demonized anyone who disagreed with them. Check Democrats. The fascist made up false stories about their rivals (RussiaGate). Check Democrats. The fascist attacked Jews (Al Sharpton and Ocasio- Cortez). Check Democrats. The fascist demanded control by the central government (you didn’t build that). Check Democrats. It’s not to difficult to recognize similar patterns of behavior and in what direction they lean. The bubble in the level is all at one end of the glass and the hand lowering the level is the hand on the left.

  12. Clearly the Democrats have “focus-grouped” their narrative, but that will only lock in the 30-35% that hypnotically believe this country is on the right track. The fear they are projecting isn’t resonating with those facing wintertime choices between heating their homes, commuting or putting 3 squares on the dinner table. They aren’t concerned with losing “this democracy” when those currently running it are no longer listening to the majority they claim to represent.

  13. The Democrats keep harping on Jan. 6th as if it was some kind of armed revolution to take over the government instead of a clumsy 4-hour selfie fest at the Capitol. Meanwhile, Democrats attempt to subvert the government by attacking its very foundation: the Supreme Court and the Constitution. They are clever SOBs.

  14. Yes the federal constitution has and will prevail in the worst of times and the worst of leadership.
    At the end of last week was a NYT article pointing out the Wisconsin Governors race,(very expensive race) might go for naught if three historically Dem state house seats switched to Republican. Embrace this awesome check and balance on power.

    That my friends, is why Democrats are terrified. Democrats goal was to own Washington DC, strip power away from states, counties, municipalities, and school districts, control those govt units by slowly get then dependent on the largess of the the federal Govt. Here’s $Billions in bridge money, tied to mandatory bike lanes in the city, and car free areas created to force the use of mass transportation. Want a 10% bump in teachers wages? No problem as long as crt is incorporated into every subject at every level.

    But Dems got lazy and stupid and used covid to exercise unchecked power against the people and they noticed and fought back. refused to take a shot that never did what it was claimed to have done, and closed schools and forced Parents to stand up and be heard.

    Every govt action should take place at the level closest to the people every time. Federalism needs to by enforced, Federal Govt enumerated powers must be enforced.

    1. @iowan

      Though one can choose their own level of hyperbole 😂 it’s fair to point out that Hitler began making the same sort of conditional ‘improvements’ before his and his party’s true colors were revealed. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

      1. James, as the good Prof points out, Germany did not have the US Constitution full of checks and balances. The most formidable is federalism. Something that needs to be re-instated at every opportunity. Just like SCOTUS did with Dobbs. The decision must be made by the people closest to the issue.

        It is beyond reason to bring Hitler into this discussion. 99.9& of the people lack the historical knowledge to discus the topic.

        1. @iowan

          Hence the hyperbole warning. 😉 I suppose what I was alluding to is that our checks and balances actually have to *hold*, and the miscreants in question seem to be a bottomless pit of circumvention and dirty tricks. I don’t invoke such imagery lightly – the rhetoric is not harmless, and the totalitarian nature of much of the past few years really is unprecedented here. Like everyone else, I am cautiously optimistic and simultaneously concerned about the rest of the week.

    2. Iowan, you should read “Swiss Inspiration for Democratizing Taxation”, based on similar ideas. Published in Tax Notes International, February 14, 2022 at p.811. You can request a copy from the author at

  15. If the so-called historian Beschloss is really worried whether there will still free publishing houses and a free press 50 years from now, he’d better start working on his pals in academia and the media who have been, and will be doing all the censoring. I’ve never placed much value in psychological explanations in politics, but what the Democrats have been doing just screams of psychological projection, which, the shrinks tell us, is a subconscious defense mechanism. Sounds perfect for people who believe in their perpetual victimhood. Houston, we have a serious problem.

  16. An excellent rendering of the situation today and why this Nation shall continue to flourish no matter how bad it gets at times.

    The real shame is the Media (known as the Press to the Founding Fathers) has abandoned its role in the lawful and proper telling of the truth both to those in Power….but also to the American People.

    if the Media would return to its rightful place and provide accurate and unbiased news reporting…..and clearly identify editorial opinion as being just that….we would see the end of all this hateful talk and violence resulting from interactions by those with competing views.

    As we look back over the past six years or twenty-two years…how would the situation today compare to what it would have been had the American Media just simply reported the “truth”….and done their due diligence to proper source reporting and making sure they had their facts straight?

    Would we have had the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, the Russia Collusion Hoax, January6th….the Covid Shut Down of the Nation?

    Would we have seen DOJ/FBI corruption ignored, the Biden Family selling of access go unreported, the Russia Collusion story exposed?

    Instead…the Media has abandoned all legitimate standards of journalism and the Nation is much the worse for it.

    Never mind elections being the source for real change…..setting the journalism train wreck back on its rails…..and seeing it keeping its eye on the rails is the quickest way to cure our Nation’s ills.

  17. Do you see a pattern here? First Antifa tars all conservatives “fascists” as they’re burning down cities and assaulting police. Then Biden calls conservatives “semi-fascists” in a public address. Now Clyburn is comparing Republicans to Nazis from the 1930s. The “free press” simply amplifies the hysteria instead of questioning it. This Nazi theme is very troubling, and it’s not just the usual election hyperbole. Either the Democrats really believe what they are saying, in which case they have a serious case of mass hysteria; or this is gaslighting on steroids. I don’t see how this can possibly end well.

  18. I am having a hard time finding anyone but the most cloistered that support the Democrat chicanery. Their entire machine has been revealed over the past several years, and it doesn’t appeal to any truly conscientious people who are actually paying attention. It’s ironic that the Dems are the ones that have so failed to evolve in the 21st century, and they have failed to evolve, in spades.

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