The Progressives’ Phony Democracy

The fears of the Founders and the prophecies of
Tocqueville are on their way to becoming reality.

FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE — The sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia has sharpened the divide between the progressives’ idea of technocratic federal power, and the Constitution’s limited government that Scalia eloquently championed for almost 30 years. This division has a long history that transcends the failed presidency of Barack Obama.

The Democratic Party grew out of opposition to the elitist Federalists, whose president John Adams was known as “His Rotundity” for his girth and alleged aristocratic tendencies. James Madison in 1792 established the contrast between the two parties that persists to this day: the Federalists were “more partial to the opulent,” and believed that “government can be carried on only by the pageantry of rank, [and] the influence of money and emoluments.” Those who would become Democrats, Madison wrote, believed “in the doctrine that mankind are capable of governing themselves,” and he charged that power lodged “into the hands of the few” is “an insult to the reason and an outrage to the rights of man.” In short, the Democrats were about power to the people rather than to privileged elites.

Two centuries later, the Democratic Party still uses the rhetoric of democracy, and castigates the Republicans as the tools of greedy corporations and crypto-fascist plutocrats––“Wall Street” and the “Koch brothers” being the shorthand for this nefarious cabal. Yet in their policies and practices, the Democrats are now the true elitists who have narrowed government “into the hands of the few,” even within their own party. Consider the recent two presidential primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. In the popular vote Bernie Sanders tied Hillary in Iowa and wiped her out in New Hampshire. Yet Hillary ended up with more delegates––394 to Sanders’ 44. Why? Because there are 712 “superdelegates,” Congressmen, governors, some mayors, and certain party apparatchiks. Each superdelegate is worth about 10,000 of one citizen’s vote. So much for believing “mankind are capable of governing themselves.”

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