Jason Chaffetz: Democrats have leveraged pandemic, economic pain and civil unrest for political gain

We must hold the line on defending and enforcing the checks and balances that protect us from a majority that has signaled its preference for tyranny

Never let it be said that Democrats let the crises of the past 12 months go to waste. With the coronavirus pandemic, forced closures of large swaths of the economy and civil unrest, the left did what it always does in times of crisis: leverage disaster for political gain. It worked. So we can expect to see a lot more of it.

 The left has continued its crusade to suppress conservative views in many forums, including taking the extraordinary step of barring the president of the United States from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram in his final days in office.

Earlier, leftists gutted election security procedures, using the pandemic as their justification.

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Democratic officeholders have managed to amplify false narratives and conceal true ones with the help of partners in the left-wing media, powerful social media platforms, the nonprofit sector and government.

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Whether it was misleading us about the efficacy of drug treatments that could have saved lives in the pandemic, or raising money to bail out looters and vandals who participated in riots around the country, there seemed to be no line the Democrats wouldn't cross to capitalize on America's misfortunes.

Welcome to disaster liberalism. And buckle up. Now that the success of these efforts has given Democrats bare majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, along with the presidency as of Wednesday, we can expect them to double down on the tactics that worked so well for them in 2020.

Given the choice between moderating their positions to attract more support and claiming a crisis to strip away checks on their power, the Democrats will choose the latter.

It would take a book to describe the many ways Americans have been betrayed by the Democrats' quest for power. And so I wrote that book. "They Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: The Truth About Disaster Liberalism," available in April, provides a deep dive into the hypocrisy, cynicism and destruction of disaster liberalism.

As I write in my book, the unfortunate truth about national disasters is that they provide a convenient pretext for dispensing with slow and deliberative democratic processes. In such times, leftists argue representative government is too slow.

Individual rights are also considered dangerous by the left. Opposing ideas are viewed as too extreme. Checks and balances are tossed aside as too inconvenient. And having dispensed with those bothersome guardrails, Democratic politicians seek to recklessly impose their agenda without the consent of the governed.

 The crises of the past 12 months provided the pretext by which leftists achieved their goal. Now that Democrats have the power they sought, we can expect them to continue to leverage real crises, exaggerate small ones, and fabricate new ones to justify exponentially bigger power grabs.

For the left, crises change but the solutions are always the same: more government, less freedom and higher taxes. Unfortunately for Democrats, our recent crises came during a Republican presidency under the stewardship of a man who showed little appetite for leveraging the crises to expand federal power.

I shudder to think what this country would look like today had Hillary Clinton held the reigns of the presidency during the coronavirus pandemic. But even with a Republican president and Senate to check their power, Democrats managed to leverage the crises that have engulfed America in ways that did great damage to our country.

Even as President Trump prepares to leave office, we see the strategy playing out. Democrats spent years justifying violence. They told us when we saw violent far-left Occupy and Black Lives Matter protests that "this is what democracy looks like." They used Facebook and Twitter to organize large-scale violence.

But now the tables have now turned. Democrats have signaled a 180-degree turn in the rhetoric now that they hold power. 

Suddenly, Democrats are no longer claiming that protests are "mostly peaceful" when some participants turn violent. Now they justify the suppression of an entire political party.

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Suddenly, Democrats tell us it’s OK to tar every attendee at protests with a broad brush when some engage in violence.

Suddenly, social media are a dangerous place to organize — but only for those who oppose Democrats. All others can continue to organize their violent protests unimpeded.

We can expect to see much more punitive responses to speech the left labels unpopular. We will see efforts to punish or retaliate against those who would undermine the majority position. No longer will we hear that "this is what democracy looks like."  

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For the good of our country, we need to resist efforts to use disasters as a justification for running roughshod over constitutional protections.

While Democrats control the federal legislative and executive branches, Republicans hold the majority of state legislatures. We must hold the line on defending and enforcing the checks and balances that protect us from a majority that has clearly signaled its preference for tyranny.

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