Democrats’ silence gives “law and order” advantage to Trump–the most lawless president in U.S. history

The greatest charge against Donald Trump is that he has violated his oath to uphold the law and the Constitution, and has abused his power by violating the Constitution and the law so many times, in so many ways, that most of us have lost count, and have simply lost track if his transgressions.

Nonetheless, when Americans see scenes of a “liberated” zone in Seattle, while the police and other forces of order stand idly by, and Democratic officials essentially ignore their responsibilities to maintain law and order, what do voters think? What do they think about their Democratic elected officials’ abject failure, in effect, to put down a rebellion?

When mobs pull down statues, and the debate is over whether the person to whom the statue was erected deserves to be so honored, instead of over the maintenance of law and order in a democratic society, what do voters think?

Democrats argue that Trump is the lawless president.

Yet how can Democrats make this argument in the 2020 elections, with any credibility, if they stand idly by when their own supporters break the law?

Why do they mindlessly cede the “law and order” issue to Trump and the Republicans? Surely their acquiescence in the lawless actions of mobs who “liberate” part of downtown Seattle or who tear down statues will figure prominently in Trump’s and Republicans’ election campaigns later this summer and fall.

Why are the Democrats so blind?

Why don’t they seize the issue, and take a stand in favoring observance and enforcement of the law?

Why doesn’t Joe Biden make a strong statement in this sense?

It would be easy for Democratic officials and candidates to take such a stand.

But they would have to lead, if only a little bit.

Otherwise, they may be seen both as hypocrites on the issue of Trump’s lawlessness, and as dangerous politicians who would endanger public order out of fear of alienating voters who support such lawless actions.

Leaders explain the relations of things. In a democracy, with real elections, questions like the disposition of statues should be decided by elected officials or at the ballot box. A strong Democratic leader could explain this.

Americans are not living in Russia or the Soviet Union, where the tearing down of a statue of, e.g. Stalin, would have an entirely different meaning.

Do the members of the mob in Seattle really think they are launching a revolution? They should look at “the correlation of forces”, think long and hard about what their actions mean, in a democratic society, and then go home. If they don’t, Democratic officials in Seattle and the State of Washington should move–promptly–to remove them.

And if they want to win in November, Joe Biden abd the Democrats should speak out loudly in favor of law observance and enforcement. Now.

The maintenance of public order is one if the pillars of a democratic state governed by law.

It is a bulwark of our democracy, and a first line of defense against neo-fascists and others who would undermine our constitutional order.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

The Observer
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, The Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, The Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.