QUAY: Poland’s Purge Of Conservatives Offers A Warning … And A Blueprint

(Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Grayson Quay News & Opinion Editor
Font Size:

If you’re looking for a dystopian portrait of American political breakdown, you don’t need to head for the fiction section. Just read Politico’s coverage of the ongoing crisis in Poland and switch out some of the names.

“In a dramatic escalation of Poland’s battle to restore rule of law, the police entered the country’s presidential palace on Tuesday evening and took two MPs into custody,” one article begins. 

Here’s a quick summary of how Poland got here:

In 2015, Polish voters elected the Law and Justice (PiS) party in a landslide, giving the party the presidency, a strong parliamentary majority and a clear mandate to enact a national conservative agenda. When the old neoliberal majority known as Civic Platform (PO) tried to pack the court on their way out the door, PiS blocked the nominees and appointed its own.

The European Union, led by former PO head Donald Tusk, promptly lost its sh*t. Poland became a European pariah, cut off from billions in EU funds even as Brussels continued to milk the country for five billion euros a year. Finally, in Oct. 2023, Tusk managed to get himself elected prime minister. (RELATED: The Right’s Favorite European Leader Is Ready To Battle The New Soros)

That’s how democracy works in Europe. Voters get to choose between the center-left and the fundamentally identical center-right. Should they opt for some unapproved third option, the Brussels bureaucrats will inflict economic torture on them until they vote in some harmless neoliberal who will make sure that the books stay balanced, the borders and abortion clinics stay open and Pride flags stay up. 

Tusk quickly set about purging PiS supporters from positions of authority. “The government last month bent the rules and seized control of the state media,” Politico reports. The media, you see, was broadcasting PiS propaganda and needed to start broadcasting neoliberal propaganda, which you may recognize by its other name: “objective journalism.”

Notice also that when the neoliberal government “bends the rules,” it’s not a threat to the rule of law. Like U.S. President Joe Biden, Poland’s new leaders don’t mind destroying democracy to save it.

But like Biden, Tusk’s path to total victory has one major obstacle blocking the way. And unlike former President Donald Trump, Polish President Andrzej Duda is still in office.

Poland has a premier-presidential system of government, meaning that while the prime minister wields most of the power, the president’s role is more than purely ceremonial. Duda, who is aligned with the PiS, can still veto bills and pardon offenders, setting up a showdown between the president and the new prime minister, each of whom views the other as an existential threat. (RELATED: ‘Absolutely Scandalous’: Polish Lawmaker Uses Fire Extinguisher On Hanukkah Candle)

Which brings us back to the raid on the presidential palace. In 2015, Duda pardoned two PiS lawmakers who were accused of abusing their power. One high court ruled that the pardons didn’t count, while another ruled that they totally did. 

I’m not an expert on Polish constitutional jurisprudence, but the conflicting rulings that crop up again and again in clashes between Duda and Tusk seem to have a lot more to do with who appointed the justices than with the finer points of the law. 

The standoff over the two lawmakers dragged on for years until police finally went full Mar-a-Lago and burst into Duda’s palace, where the MPs were hiding out. In response, up to 200,000 PiS supporters turned out to protest.

I’d encourage my readers to follow this story closely. For one thing, it provides a clear warning of what’s in store for the American right if the Democratic Party has its way. We already see them using the courts they control to persecute undesirable candidates while smearing courts they don’t control as “illegitimate.” We see them working across institutions to make their radical ideology compulsory. We see their willingness to cooperate with tech and media to suppress inconvenient narratives

We see how utterly they despise anyone who challenges them. 

“[P]olitics … cannot be about finding a compromise between lies and truth, lawlessness and law,” Tusk said of his conflict with Duda. Was he intentionally echoing the words of St. Paul: “What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil?” You decide.

Biden, who has given up on touting his own achievements, uses similar language to vilify his opponents. “MAGA Republicans,” he said, flanked by soldiers and bathed in red light, “embrace anger,” “thrive on chaos” and “live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies.” (RELATED: Biden Returns To Mic After Pro-Democracy Speech To Add Three Ominous Words)

But events in Poland can also be a source of hope by helping us form a clearer picture of what’s going on in our own country. Our political enemies view us not as a principled opposition party (i.e. one that agrees with them on everything that matters), but as a cancer to be eradicated. Once we understand that, we’re better equipped to fight them.

The Politico journalist covering the Polish standoff praised Tusk for “rooting the previous administration’s loyalists out of key institutions.”

If and when conservatives return to power in the U.S., that phrase must serve as the cornerstone of their platform. The new administration must move quickly to pack every possible position with loyalists, consolidate control over every possible institution and crack down hard with every tool available on those who fail to comply.

Otherwise, they might never get another chance.

Grayson Quay is an editor at the Daily Caller.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.