Politico guest writer argues U.S. Constitution is the enemy of democracy

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In the lead up to the year-anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, a Politico guest writer argued on Wednesday that the Republican Party as well as the U.S. Constitution are threatening democracy.

Corey Robin, a Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, contributed an opinion column for Politico titled “Republicans Are Moving Rapidly to Cement Minority Rule. Blame the Constitution.” As the title implied, Robin suggested the Republican Party as well as the U.S. Constitution are preventing the “national majority” from acting.

This photo made available by the U.S. National Archives shows a portion of the first page of the United States Constitution.  (National Archives via AP)

“Driving the initiatives of the Republicans and the inertia of the Democrats are two forces. The first is the right’s project, decades in the making, to legally limit the scope and reach of democracy. The second is the Constitution, which makes it difficult for the national majority to act and easy for local minorities to rule. What happened on Jan. 6 is far less significant than what happened before Jan. 6 — and what has and has not happened since then,” Robin wrote.

While the Republican Party is targeted by Robin as “a novel threat to American democracy,” Robin concludes that the political party is using the barriers imposed by the Constitution.

“Democracy is not just the enemy of the Republican Party. It is also the enemy of the Constitution,” Robin wrote. “Americans associate the Constitution with popular liberties such as due process and freedom of speech. They overlook its architecture of state power, which erects formidable barriers to equal representation and majority rule in all three branches of government. The Republicans are not struggling to overturn a long and storied history of democratic rules and norms. They’re walking through an open door.”

U.S. Capitol Police hold protesters at gun-point near the House Chamber inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Robin continued to criticize constitutional staples including the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate for ignoring the national majority in favor of the minority vote. At the end, he lamented that this “constitutional steeplechase” is “a typical American story.”


“If there is any solace to be gained from this sorry story, it is that it is a typical American story. We are not facing the importation or imposition of a new mode of rule. We need no labored analogies or showy theories to make sense of it. We are in the same constitutional steeplechase that generations past have had to hurdle across or hurl themselves through. Whether we are at the start, middle, or end of that course is now, as always, an open question,” Corey concluded.

Politico Playbook previously covered the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots by referring to the event as “one of the darkest days in American history.” Within its daily report, the article also revealed Senate Democrats’ attempts to use the day to push for a vote on the stalled voting rights legislation. 

Voting rights activists participate in a pre-march rally during a March On For Voting Rights event at McPherson Square August 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“But Democrats are hoping that Thursday will be more than just a day of remembrance. In the Senate, we hear from well-positioned sources, there’s a desire to take the opportunity to supercharge the party’s long-stalled voting rights legislation — possibly even using the anniversary to try to get Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to go nuclear on the filibuster or embrace rules changes,” Politico wrote.

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