Michael Shellenberger: Democrats are worse than Trump when it comes to violating 'democratic norms'

The 'demonization' of Trump has led to a normalization of extremism among Democrats and the media

Nine years ago, as Donald Trump emerged as a presidential contender, America's most esteemed journalists and scholars argued that he was violating democratic norms.

Trump, they said, was ignoring the stabilizing, unwritten rules and values of American politics. This was evident in his vulgar language, vilification of immigrants, criticisms of the press, lack of cooperation with the intelligence community, and refusal to accept the 2020 election results.

But the demonization of Trump has led to a normalization of extremism among Democrats and the media.

According to multiple credible sources, President Barack Obama's Director of the CIA, in the summer of 2016, illegally mobilized foreign spy agencies to target 26 Trump advisors to claim, falsely, that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin controlled Trump.

Then, in January 2017, after Trump had been elected but before he took office, the U.S. Intelligence Community falsely claimed that Putin had favored the election of Trump when, in reality, the intelligence showed that Putin favored Hillary Clinton.

After taking office, current and former government intelligence operatives and Democrats falsely claimed that Russian disinformation on social media had resulted in Trump's election and worked with the Department of Homeland Security to censor social media platforms.

None of this is a defense of Trump. Trump uses extreme and inflammatory rhetoric, particularly about immigrants, that I strongly disagree with. He was wrong to deny and try to change the results of the 2020 elections.

But the fear that Trump could weaponize the government to exact revenge on his political enemies if he were to be re-elected is further proof of the danger of Democrats weaponizing the government.

Democrats went far beyond anything Trump did when it came to abusing their political power. After the Supreme Court ruled that Biden could not legally forgive student loans, he did so anyway.

Trump did not violate any Supreme Court rulings when he criticized judges, journalists, and intelligence agencies. We have a separation of powers for a reason.

Recent research has shown that the prosecution of Trump for supposedly taking and holding onto classified documents is not obvious that Trump put national security in greater danger than Biden.

There is evidence that the Biden administration worked with the National Archives and Department of Justice to demand the confrontation. And there is the possibility that the raid was motivated in order to recover documents related to the Russiagate hoax.

The recent felony conviction of Trump for falsifying business records relies on the idea that he misclassified campaign payments.

Democrats say, "Nobody is above the law," which is true. But Democrats are wrong to ignore the fact that prosecutors are constantly choosing whether to pursue certain cases over others.

Indeed, Hillary Clinton was found to have mislabeled payments related to the Steele dossier during her 2016 campaign, and she was never prosecuted. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) merely fined Clinton and the Democratic National Convention (DNC)) for this misconduct.

In fact, everything about New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg's recent conviction of Trump is abnormal.

For starters, Bragg campaigned on the promise to prosecute Trump. He turned the misdemeanor of falsifying business records into a felony by tying it to election interference. The case was so weak that both the Department of Justice and the former DA refused to prosecute it.

The judge in the case donated to Biden and his daughter is the president of a Democratic Party fundraising firm whose clients include Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the Russiagate hoax.

The judge told the jurors that they didn't need to agree on what crime Trump intended to commit by falsifying records.

Even CNN's top legal scholar, Elie Honig, who is also a former colleague of Bragg, said the trial violated norms.

"The charges against Trump are obscure and nearly entirely unprecedented," he said. "In fact, no state prosecutor-- in New York, or Wyoming, or anywhere-- has ever charged federal election laws as a direct or predicate state crime against anyone for anything. None. Ever."

All of this is a radical change from the ideals of the Democratic Party just a few years ago.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Democrats fought to restrict and reform the intelligence community so that it would stop spying on American citizens for their political activities.

Democrats defended a high standard for free speech, including the right of Nazis to march through neighborhoods of Holocaust survivors.

Since the 1990s, Democrats have raised the alarm about the abuse of prosecutorial power and elected progressive prosecutors, including Bragg, to reduce prosecutions of nonviolent crimes.

Today, Democrats are pioneering new ways to weaponize the government against political opponents.

The Russia hoax, the censorship of social media platforms, the effort to criminalize political differences, and the refusal to accept election results are not exceptions

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