This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
The timing of the coronavirus pandemic during the middle of the Democratic Primary raises an important question that all small-d democrats probably wished they would never face – which democratic ideal is more important: reliable and trustworthy elections, or a communal ethic promoting the general welfare.
Most of the time, a democrat (again, small-d) would argue that the two go hand-in-hand. However, with the social distancing and self-quarantining needed now to prevent this pandemic from being absolutely catastrophic, that’s no longer the case.
The governor of Ohio has tried to postpone his state’s primary election, proposing it be moved from March 17 to sometime in June. The governor claims that it would pose to great a danger to voters to have them gathering in large masses at polling stations. An Ohio judge has blocked that proposal though, stating that moving the election so last-minute would set a dangerous precedent of executives interfering in elections.
I can’t say that either of them wrong, and I’m glad it’s not my choice.
In this age of Trumpism and ever-growing oligarchy, coronavirus is yet another force testing democratic ideals and institutions to their limits.