One tweet that especially created a firestorm on social media was: “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.”
So, “rank democracy” can thwart liberty, peace and prosperity?
When Lee’s spokesperson, Conn Carroll, was asked if Lee could explain his thinking, Carroll simply pointed to a quote from James Madison in Federalist Papers No. 10, one in a collection of essays written to promote ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
“Democracies,” it says, "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
During the debate Wednesday, Lee tweeted often about comments he didn’t like. But several focused on democracy.
“We’re not a democracy,” he tweeted in one.
In another, he said, “The word ‘democracy’ appears nowhere in the Constitution, perhaps because our form of government is not a democracy. It’s a constitutional republic. To me it matters. It should matter to anyone who worries about the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of the few.”
Lee — who is in self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 — also tweeted, “Government is the official use of coercive force — nothing more and nothing less. The Constitution protects us by limiting the use of government force.”
People on social media quickly took aim at Lee’s comments, especially the tweet saying that “rank democracy” threatens liberty, peace and prosperity. They turned #rankdemocracy into a popular hashtag.
Among them was Steve Schmidt, a Republican political strategist public who worked with President George W. Bush and Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Suzanne Attix tweeted, “Senator, who do you define as ‘rank’? People who don’t support corruption? People who want a POTUS who’s every utterance is not a lie engineered to preserve his own power? People who care about human decency & the welfare of all people?”
“Deanna Biden/Harris 2020!” replied to Lee’s tweet saying, “So embarrassed to live in Utah. You, a fascist, do not represent me. And your liberty, peace and prosperity, whom is that for? Certainly not me, a lesbian, not people of color, and not women. You have no problem denying Covid and potentially infecting others, disgraceful.”
“Strider” tweeted, “Every newspaper in Utah should be calling for Mike Lee to resign.”
He added, “That is to say, the far right does not merely view progressive taxation, regulation and the welfare state as impediments to growth, but as fundamentally oppressive. A political system that truly secured freedom would not allow the majority to gang up on the minority and redistribute their income for themselves.”