Republican senator says 'democracy isn't the objective' of US system
A top Republican senator said "democracy is not the goal" of America's political system, at a time when his party was accused by Democrats of plotting to suppress voters and questioning a peaceful transfer of power in the November elections having posed widespread outrage.
Utah Senator Mike Lee made the inflammatory statement in a tweet early morning after Wednesday's vice-presidential debate.
"Democracy is not the goal; freedom, peace and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish. A democracy of rank can prevent that," he wrote, incorrectly writing prosperity.
This was followed by a series of tweets, made during the debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, in which Lee claimed "We are not a democracy" and questioned their role in the US government.
Related: Is America a Democracy? If so, why is it refusing to vote millions?
Lee, one of a group of Republicans who recently tested positive for coronavirus, wrote: "The word" democracy "does not appear anywhere in the Constitution, perhaps because our form of government is not democracy. It is a constitutional republic. It is important to me. It should matter to anyone who is concerned about the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few. "
He added, “Government is the official use of coercion - nothing more, nothing less. The constitution protects us by restricting the use of state violence. "
His democracy tweet immediately triggered alarms, including from a number of former government officials.
Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director of the FBI, tweeted: "Democracy is not the goal". Our suspicions are confirmed. "
Walter Shaub, former director of the United States Bureau of Government Ethics, said: “The people of my grandfather's generation knew what to do with fascists. Now a member of Congress is asking us to join them. I wonder why you hated America so much. "
Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Bernstein wrote, "If we are not supposed to rule the people, who exactly should rule?" Throughout American history, from the Framers to the present day, the answer has always been the same: the people. "
This comes amid growing concerns about the integrity of the November 3rd election.
In the vice-presidential debate, Harris accused Donald Trump of promoting electoral suppression and said he had "openly tried to suppress the vote".
During the presidential debate, he sparked fears of potential voter intimidation when he told supporters to "go into the elections and look very carefully".
Meanwhile, Trump and Pence have refused to assure voters a peaceful transfer of power if Republicans lose the November election.
The President said, "Well, we have to see what happens." And in the vice-presidential debate, when asked what he would do if Trump refuses a peaceful transfer of power, Pence said, "First and foremost, I think we will win this election."
Less than a month before the election, Democrats and civil rights groups tried to simplify postal voting during the pandemic, while Republicans and the Trump campaign fought to maintain restrictions.
In Florida, a federal appeals court ruled in September that those convicted of criminal offenses cannot vote unless they have paid back all outstanding debts - potentially blocking the election of an estimated 744,000 people.
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