Beschloss Absurdly Warns We May Have Seen ‘Our Last Fair and Free’ Election

Even by his standards, MSNBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss brought some absurd analysis to Friday’s edition of The 11th Hour where he claimed that for as supposedly bad as this Supreme Court term was, it could get even worse next term and that it is possible that the U.S. has seen its last “fair and free presidential election”

Guest host Alicia Menendez began by asking about the Court’s recent decisions, “historically, what has happened after decisions like this? How do Americans typically react?”

 

 

Beschloss went straight to the slavery comparisons, “They react in two ways. Number one, it can divide the country, almost to the point of civil war. That’s what happened in 1857. This Supreme Court did the Dred Scott decision saying basically black Americans are not people, and if you don’t like slavery, deal with, it’s going to be here forever. That led directly to a civil war four years later.”

Telling the country to “deal with it” is exactly what the Court did in Roe v. Wade and precisely what this Court reversed. Terrible historical analogies from a professional historian aside, Beschloss continued, “Mid-1930s, the Supreme Court said to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, you can’t get so involved in, you know, trying to regulate the economy and other areas of private life, and struck down a lot of the reforms that Roosevelt had done. A lot of people were angry. This country was very unsettled. There were demagogues in the late 1930s.”

Beschloss then warned:

I think there is a very good chance we’re going to see all of this again, especially because, something they didn’t decide this week, the Supreme Court this week, but they did ominously announce, was, they will take on a case during the next year that may give the right to decide presidential elections much more strongly to state legislatures. There’s a possibility that — I hate to say this, Alicia — there’s a possibility that we may have seen our last fair and free presidential election in the United States. I hope not. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that Beschloss mispresented the facts of the case, but since Menendez didn’t correct the record, it should be noted that NBC’s own website reports the case is about whether state courts have the right to issue rulings in redistricting cases. There is no immediate question involving presidential elections.

This segment was sponsored by Discover.

Here is a transcript for the July 1 show:

MSNBC The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle

7/1/2022

11:48 PM ET

ALICIA MENENDEZ:  So, Michael, let me ask you, historically, what has happened after decisions like this? How do Americans typically react? 

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS: They react in two ways. Number one, it can divide the country, almost to the point of civil war. That’s what happened in 1857. This Supreme Court did the Dred Scott decision saying basically black Americans are not people, and if you don’t like slavery, deal with it, it’s going to be here forever. That led directly to a civil war four years later. Mid-1930s, the Supreme Court said to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, you can’t get so involved in, you know, trying to regulate the economy and other areas of private life, and struck down a lot of the reforms that Roosevelt had done. 

A lot of people were angry. This country was very unsettled. There were demagogues in the late 1930s. I think there is a very good chance we’re going to see all of this again, especially because, something they didn’t decide this week, the Supreme Court this week, but they did ominously announce, was, they will take on a case during the next year that may give the right to decide presidential elections much more strongly to state legislatures. 

There’s a possibility that — I hate to say this, Alicia — there’s a possibility that we may have seen our last fair and free presidential election in the United States. I hope not.

 

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