If you’re a proponent of election integrity in 2021, you’re a bigot.
If you still have questions about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, you’re not only a bigot, but you might be a domestic terrorist.
President Joe Biden and his Democrat colleagues have made the former clear in their rhetoric, as has the like-minded Justice Department through its actions. Biden’s national security and intelligence apparatus has made the latter clear in its strategy to counter domestic terror.
“Newer sociopolitical developments—such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election … will almost certainly spur some DVEs [domestic violent extremists] to try to engage in violence this year,” reads an excerpt from the intelligence community’s March 2021 threat assessment.
In keeping with the view that harboring questions about the 2020 election makes one not just a danger to society, but on the level of al Qaeda, Julie Kelly of American Greatness reports: “Nearly every charging document filed by Joe Biden’s Justice Department in the Capitol breach probe mentions the defendant’s belief about the 2020 presidential election as evidence of wrongdoing.”
What is going on here?
Claiming that the half of the country loathed by the ruling class is made up of bigots is nothing new generally, nor is fear-mongering that the belief people should vote in person, with identification, on a single election day is rooted in bigotry. But the linking of one’s views about elections to not only bigotry, but terrorism, does seem like a novel development.
The Capitol breach has been exploited, as predicted, to enable the ruling class to smear, toxify, and cripple its political foes, right down to hunting them as terrorists.
Notwithstanding that those who claimed for years that the 2016 election was “stolen by Russia”—many of whom demonstrated in streets across the country, some violently, throughout the Trump presidency—were never treated similarly, the claim is that Jan. 6 illustrated that questioners of the 2020 election were spurred to commit terrorist acts.
Set aside the fact that virtually the entire narrative of Jan. 6 as a murderous armed insurrection in which the republic hung in the balance has collapsed.
And set aside that the worst of the actors on Jan. 6 undermined the legitimate questions held by millions of law-abiding Americans about one of—if not the most—extraordinary elections in American history, given if nothing else the pandemic-justified reforms, the parties making those reforms, and the mere tens of thousands of votes in a handful of states on which the presidency hinged.
There’s something deeper going on here beyond Jan. 6 serving the illogic that links conservatism to bigotry to terrorism—demanding a whole-of-government, if not whole-of-society, response—when it comes to elections in particular.
Yes, Democrats want to make 2020 the new standard in election law, and apparently believe casting their foes as “Jim Eagle” and dangerous conspiracy theorists constitutes an effective way to do it.
But the domestic terror strategy, the political persecution of Capitol breach defendants, and the Justice Department’s outrageous attacks on Arizona’s Maricopa County audit (a warning to other states that might consider similar exercises) point to something deeper at play.
That something deeper is that the regime wishes above all else to retain its legitimacy, upon which its power and privilege rely. Who are you to question the election of its man, elections being the principal way by which he derives legitimacy? And if you do, what does that say about the strength of the regime?
If the regime harbored confidence in itself, it wouldn’t have to strain to turn the Capitol breach into Pearl Harbor or 9/11. It wouldn’t have to cast people questioning the sanctity of an election as terrorists. It would simply guffaw about states engaging in sure-to-be-fruitless audits.
The intelligence community’s domestic terror strategy, which threatens to unleash on citizens the powers of government—hand in hand with the private sector—in a way that would eviscerate liberty and justice, reveals a point:
Its “efforts speak to a broader priority: enhancing faith in government and addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation often channeled through social media platforms, which can tear Americans apart and lead some to violence. Enhancing faith in American democracy demands accelerating work to contend with an information environment that challenges healthy democratic discourse. We will work toward finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories that can provide a gateway to terrorist violence.”
Translation: The regime can’t tolerate questioning or dissension, and that of course includes the election of its man to the Oval Office, as well as future electors.
Strong, confident leadership welcomes transparency, openness, and accountability. Trust is earned, not gained by cudgeling critics and criminalizing their thoughts, censoring them, and siccing counterterrorism forces on them.
Ironically, the hysterical, over-the-top fashion in which the regime is currently operating will only erode the confidence people have in it, further undermining its legitimacy.
Ben Weingarten is a fellow of the Claremont Institute and co-host of the Edmund Burke Foundation’s “The NatCon Squad.” He’s the author of “American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party” and is currently working on a book on U.S.–China policy and its transformation under the Trump administration.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.