Nancy Pelosi, asserting that there should be no presidential debates, said “I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with (Trump) nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States.” (emphasis added) She also called President Trump and his Congressional supporters “enemies of the state,” a phrase that has a rather sinister history. See also her November 2019 comments, made in the context of the impeachment hearings, about the integrity and legitimacy of the 2020 elections.
What this is really all about, as I see it, is an assertion that no elected President is legitimate unless he is approved by the Proper People.
In the Holy Roman Empire (‘neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire,’ said Bismarck), the Emperor was chosen by election, but the election was limited to a small elite group known as the Prince-Electors. In America today, we have a group of people–national journalists, elite academics, senior government officials–who see themselves as the Prince-Electors and who believe no one should become President without their endorsement.
There can be popular elections, in this model, but the candidates are required to be pre-vetted by the Prince-Electors. So maybe a better historical analogy would be Guided Democracy, “a formally democratic government that functions as a de facto autocracy,” practiced most notably in Indonesia under Sukarno.
Increasingly, Democrats are attacking the foundations of true democracy and maneuvering for establishment of an autocratic oligarchy overlaid with a Potemkin “people’s” government. The 2020 elections will measure how successful–or not–they’ve been.