There are two rules for illiberal democracy.
The first rule is that during an emergency certain illiberal and anti-democratic measures are necessary to ensure public safety, national security, and the practice of democracy itself.
The second rule is that there is always an emergency.
With the horrifying massacres in El Paso and Dayton, political entrepreneurs already are taking recourse to the tenets of illiberal democracy. But because this is the United States, and the most powerful nation in the world is governed by criminals, miscreants, and morons, illiberal democracy is not the scoundrels’ last recourse — it is their first recourse.
Cory Booker, trafficker in absurd racial conspiracy theories, is a great practitioner of illiberal democracy. In response to the shootings over the weekend, he demanded that . . . Republican campaign rallies be canceled as a public-safety measure. President Donald Trump’s rallies, he insists without anything that might plausibly be described as evidence, “inspire white nationalist attacks like the one in El Paso on Saturday.” Somehow, the pursuit of public safety always ends up disadvantaging the other party’s political efforts. One might be forgiven for failing to take Senator Booker seriously, for this and for many other reasons.
Elsewhere, progressives have called for forcibly disbanding the National Rifle Association, freedom of association be damned. Democrats elsewhere have called for designating the NRA a “terrorist organization.” Democrats in New York have abused the power they have over the financial-services industry to try to shut down the rival political organization through backdoor means.
Others have called for gutting the Bill of Rights and trampling on due process. …