The Effort to Oust Trump Jeopardizes Journalism, Democratic Norms | Opinion

It does not take an astute observer to see how elites in the media, Hollywood, the federal bureaucracy, academia, international institutions, foreign policy establishment and Silicon Valley are united in their opposition to President Donald Trump. His brazenly offensive persona and unabashed assault on the status quo have created mass uncertainty during a pandemic. Even from a conservative point of view, it is understandable that this intersectional rancor, a trans-partisan alliance of sorts, would challenge Trump.

But Trump is just one man, and in their frenzy to remove him from office, these interests are jettisoning their principles for what they believe is the greater good. Embracing an ends-justify-the-means mentality to defeat the always-Machiavellian Trump may yield a favorable result next week at the ballot box. But the long-term ramifications could be more harmful to liberal democracy than anything the president could accomplish.

In the past few weeks, Big Tech entities have censored a salacious story about the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop because they believe it hurts his father's chances to win the presidency. Facebook communications director Andy Stone said his platform would censor the article regardless of its truthfulness. Even though the former vice president and his troubled son have not denied the legitimacy of the laptop contents released by the New York Post and other outlets, prestigious journalists have done the work of the Biden campaign, speculating without evidence that it was a Russian disinformation operation.

Some maverick left-wing journalists, such as Matt Taibbi, Michael Tracey and Glenn Greenwald, have posited that the media response to the Biden leaks is the real scandal. While Hunter's suspect foreign deals and his father's potential knowledge of those acts are certainly newsworthy, they are probably not much of a game-changer for the race. Tech companies' response reveals a more insidious threat to our democracy. It shows the rise of a political elite who are happy to control information and act as a de facto truth commission for the public for whom they harbor a growing contempt.

One particularly troubling statement reveals the extent of the decline of the Fourth Estate. In a Washington Post op-ed, professor Thomas Rid wrote, "We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation—even if they probably aren't."

Rid is not a partisan hack by any means. He is an academic with the most substantial credentials. He works as a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. His point of view is seemingly ubiquitous throughout major American institutions. Journalistic inquiry must be abandoned if the corporate-appointed stewards of the written word do not like the impact its findings may have on the masses' minds. These elite actors have internalized the axiom of "ignorance is strength," allowing their hostility toward Russia and other rationalizations to jettison longstanding principles.

Some commentators, such as Michael Anton of the Claremont Institute, have theorized that Democrats are attempting to turn the election into a color revolution against Trump. The suggestion has proved controversial, and has even caused Anton to receive an ominous death threat from a think-tank official. They allege that Democrats set the stage by creating organizations, staffed with liberal operatives posing as nonpartisan and independent, to influence popular narratives regarding the vote.

Trump
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., for Florida on October 3, 2019. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty

Take for example the Transition Integrity Project (TIP), which is run by longtime Democratic operative Rosa Brooks and filled with a "bipartisan" group of Republicans and Democrats, all of whom not-so-coincidentally share a hatred of Trump. Before she rebranded herself as a crusader for protecting elections, Brooks was openly outlining ways to remove Trump from office—even floating the idea of a military coup—only a week after his inauguration. More recently, Brooks wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post last month discussing the results of TIP's "war game" simulation of the election—predicting that unless Biden won big, his supporters would bring "street-level violence and political crisis."

In that scenario, the Democrats in the TIP's war game prepared to take unconventional measures to remove Trump from office. Influential Democratic operative John Podesta, playing Biden, refused to concede the election after losing. He then called for Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors, nullifying the vote, with blue states threatening secession to remove Trump from office regardless of the decision made by the American people.

Now, imagine if a group of predominantly Republican operatives had done the same before President Obama could be elected in 2008. Imagine if they had staged a lobbying effort warning that Obama's win might not be legitimate and that, under their predictive analysis, he would cause widespread violence if he won. And imagine if some of the most powerful corporations and highly respected journalists in the world defiantly refused to report on potentially damning details connected to his Republican opponent.

What would that look like? Would such a string of events invoke cries of fascism from the Left? If the shoe were on the other foot, would Democrats be okay with such obscene gaslighting and hypocrisy?

The idea that the operations against Trump constitute a color revolution may be a bit far-fetched. But it seems likely that the various institutions supporting Biden are working together to fight an adversary they all loathe for practical reasons. Trump's policies are inherently destructive to the status quo, and the institutional powers that stand to lose out amidst the chaos are likely opposing him out of self-interest.

However, in a desperate rush to defeat Trump, these interests have overstepped their bounds and engaged in behavior that imperils our republic. Suppose their combined efforts are successful, but result in the permanent loss of free speech, reputable journalism, checks and balances and other core American values. Is the victory worth it? That cure may be worse than the disease.

Gavin Wax is president of the New York Young Republican Club, chair of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, digital director for the Young Republican National Federation, an associate fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a frequent guest on Fox News. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.