Utah Sen. Mike Lee spent much of Wednesday night’s debate live-tweeting and, at one point, made a particularly bold declaration: “We’re not a democracy.”
That claim is used by Republicans not to “describe who we are, but to claim and co-opt the founding for right-wing politics — to naturalize political inequality and make it the proper order of things. What lies behind that quip, in other words, is an impulse against democratic representation,” Jamelle Bouie wrote in The New York Times last year.
The argument is based on the belief that in the United States — which is very much a democracy because the people are, in fact, responsible for electing those in power — the general concept of liberty should supersede all other political considerations.
The senator expressed this idea when he briefly elaborated in a follow-up tweet:
Such a brazen admission only confirms what many already know: Conservative efforts to suppress voters, gerrymander districts, and skew the census are all part of a strategy to remove power from voters and concentrate it in one party, the GOP. This, critics argued, was an admission by Lee of his sympathies for fascism, which seeks the absolute rule of a one-party state.
Lee’s tweets were quickly ratioed, and many called the senator a fascist: