Last night (Oct. 7), while watching Kamala Harris face off against Mike Pence, Sen. Mike Lee decided to tweet out some musings about the vice presidential debate, Coronavirus testing and American government. Some were shocked — others, not so surprised — when the Utah republican claimed that the U.S. is “not a democracy.”
“The word ‘democracy’ appears nowhere in the Constitution, perhaps because our form of government is not a democracy. It’s a constitutional republic,” he continued. “To me it matters. It should matter to anyone who worries about the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few.”
Lee doubled down when he tweeted that democracy should not be the “objective” of American politics.
“Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity [sic] are,” he wrote. “We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”
While it’s true that the United States was formed as a federal constitutional republic, it also operates as a representative democracy. Some Twitter users were concerned with Lee’s take, which prioritizes his definitions of “liberty,” “peace” and prosperity over the voices and representation of the public. A few critics labeled Lee’s stance as authoritarian, while others argued that his views represent the whole of the Republican Party.
“Sen. Mike Lee comes right out and says that the GOP is opposed to democracy,” one person tweeted. “By ‘democracy’ [Lee] means all people have a say in government. By ‘peace’ he means order. By ‘liberty’ he means the freedom of [white] men to grab whatever they want.”
“Democracy is perhaps the most powerful tool ever created to foment change and redistribute power into the hands of ordinary people,” wrote another. “Mike Lee a sitting Republican Senator thinks democracy is no longer the objective.”
Lee made headlines in 2016 when he urged then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to drop out of the race after Trump’s controversial “Access Hollywood” tape was released. However, he’s since endorsed the president and supported his reelection.
Read his tweets condemning democracy, which have since gone viral, and some reactions below.