Political Lawfare on the American Electorate
The American electorate is in the midst of a lawfare attack.
Lawfare is defined as the “use of law as a weapon of war,” according to the Lawfare Project.
It denotes the abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends. Lawfare is inherently negative…It is the opposite of pursuing justice. It is filing frivolous lawsuits and misusing legal processes to intimidate and frustrate opponents…
The election results of 2010–2016 were devastating to the Progressive Left. Eventually, The White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, most Governorships, and most state legislatures were won by Republicans, many of whom ran on platforms denouncing failed left-wing policies which led to a devastated middle class, a ruined health care system, a weakened economy, diminished race relations, and unprecedented dangers to U.S. national security.
This occurred despite vigorous attempts by a biased media to assist progressive candidates, a move which didn’t sway the voting public. The oppressive environment against centrists and conservatives within the nation’s universities, both by intimidating professors and radical students, did not produce campaign gains. A vehement effort by Hollywood to portray Republicans as villains was equally ineffective.
Lacking success with other approaches, it appears that a lawfare attack was launched. Unlike a simple move to outspend an opponent (which would be rather difficult to do in this case) in a single suit by simply filing a costly legal action, the approach now underway is multi-faceted and designed more to discredit those who have won office by establishing doubt in the electorate’s mind. Uniquely, it also involves attempts to influence the outcome of aggressive actions by insuring that decision-making personnel favorable to the Left are in positions of responsibility.
In the wake of repetitive failures at the ballot box, leftist attorneys general have sought to gain voter support by filing groundless legal actions aimed more at disparaging Republican elected officials than at actually enforcing the law.
Hans Bader, writing for The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), outlines the various ways that some state attorneys general have abused their office for partisan political purposes, aimed primarily at implementing leftist agendas rejected by the voters or prohibited by the Constitution. The CEI report outlines the various means leftist state attorneys generals have abused their authority:
- The Ethical Breaches and Selective Applications of the Law. Using campaign contributors to bring lawsuits. Using the attorney general’s offi ce to promote personal gain or enrich cronies or relatives. Favoritism towards campaign donors and other uneven or unpredictable application of the law (including refusal to defend state laws or state agencies being sued when plausible defenses exist).
- Fabricating Law. Advocating that courts, in effect, rewrite statutes or stretch constitutional norms in order to make new law—for example, seeking judicial imposition of new taxes or regulations, or restrictions on private citizens’ freedom to contract.
- Usurping Legislative Powers. Bringing lawsuits that usurp regulatory powers granted to the federal government or other state entities, or that are untethered to any specifi c statutory or constitutional grant of authority.
- Predatory Practices. Seeking to regulate conduct occurring wholly in other states—for example, preying on out-of-state businesses that have not violated state law and have no remedy at the polls.
Mindful of the ability of district attorneys or state attorneys general to defeat the will of the electorate by lawfare, Progressive financiers have invested heavily in what used to be comparatively low-key races.
Fox News reports that,
Big bucks from George Soros helped turn a Pennsylvania district attorney election on its head, in the latest example of the liberal billionaire’s influence in local U.S. politics. On April 28, Soros poured nearly $1.5 million into the Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC, which supported candidate Larry Krasner in the Democratic primary. Krasner won on Tuesday, and by a wide margin…The race marked the first time a super PAC has supported a D.A. candidate in Philadelphia. Krasner, as the Daily Caller puts it, benefited from ‘the kind of capital typically reserved for important national political campaigns.’ Last August, Politico reported that Soros had channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year.
A Daily Caller review noted how this has became a fairly standard lawfare practice
The outcome of the Philadelphia district attorney’s race followed a now-familiar playbook. A candidate aligned with Soros’ left-wing politics emerged victorious thanks to the billionaire’s willingness to flood local races with the kind of capital typically reserved for important national political campaigns…In one such instance, Soros poured $600,000 into the Houston district attorney’s race last fall…Soros spent more than $7 million influencing local prosecutorial races in 2015 and 2016, The Washington Times reported.
Originally published on the New York Analysis of Policy and Government.
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