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America’s left is scared of democracy

Abortion-rights protesters last week. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty

To say that the leaked Supreme Court draft ruling to overturn Roe v Wade prompted an “elite meltdown” would be a gross understatement, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. “This was a culture war 9/11.” The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer, “always the subtle one”, announced that by reversing Roe the court had abolished the entire 20th century. New York Magazine’s Rebecca Traister confessed that her teeth were chattering: “Like, not euphemistically – actually chattering.”

What strikes me is how little these commentators trust the democracy they claim to defend. The trouble with Roe was that it made abortion a constitutional right, something not even the likes of “super-progressive” Canada has done. So if the ruling is reversed, abortion in America will once again be regulated “through the democratic process” – as it is in most of the Western world. Given one poll reckons a “whopping” 80% of Americans want to keep abortion legal, this shift should be a “Democratic dream”. But the truth is, many left-wing elites simply do not trust the American people to make these decisions. “They have a resilient belief that a huge segment of this country is rotten, bigoted, racist and, yes, deplorable.” Last week Joe Biden said he wasn’t prepared to leave abortion policy to the “whims of the public”. Whims of the public! “We used to call that democracy.”