Lee is currently self-isolating after he was among those who attended the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett and later tested positive for COVID-19.
The tweet sparked an immediate outcry from those who expressed fears that the Trump administration and its allies in Congress would not accept the results of the election should former vice president Joe Biden win in November, and would use such arguments as pretext. Many compared Lee’s argument to those that have been made by authoritarian regimes throughout history.
Can’t believe I have to say this: Democracy is the objective.
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) October 8, 2020
Good morning, Trump is demanding the arrest of his political rivals, Pence won’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power, and Republican Senator Mike Lee thinks “liberty” can exist without the ability of the people to freely choose their leaders.
— 😱 Endless Zoom Meeting 😱 (@AdamSerwer) October 8, 2020
Reached for comment Thursday for clarification about Lee’s tweet, spokesman Conn Carroll cited the Federalist Papers, in which James Madison warns of the possibility of “the superior force” of an “overbearing majority.”
“Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths,” Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10. “Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”
This explanation did not assuage critics, who claimed the argument that the United States was never a democracy does not hold water.
“Senator Lee engages in sophistry in its worse form,” said Ronald L. Sullivan Jr., a prominent Harvard Law professor and litigator whose academic specialties include civil rights and civil liberties, in an email message. “He conflates a hyper-technical definition of our constitutional design with shorthand that describes our lived traditions. We are both a constitutional republic and a democracy. And, achieving our democratic aspirations is very much our collective objective as a nation. Senator Lee knows or should know this.”
Mike Lee – A Republic is a TYPE of Democracy, the same way a “Maple” is a type of Tree.
Other types of Democracies: Direct Democracy, Parliamentary Systems, etc.
If you are too ignorant to understand what type of Government we have – you are too ignorant to participate in it. https://t.co/1BvwhH1Lsg
— Mark Judson For Congress – Scorched Earth Democrat (@Judson4Congress) October 8, 2020
Requests for comment were sent Thursday to the offices of US…