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Mon May 31, 2021, 02:50 PM

"we'll soon reach the point where it will become impossible to stop America's slide into...

...authoritarianism through elections. "






If democratizing reforms do not come, all the states in which Republicans are in power will soon resemble apartheid South Africa much more than anything that could reasonably be called a functioning multiracial democracy. 2/
In about half the states, Republicans will be erecting stable one-party rule and install a system that is best described as a herrenvolk democracy: A system that is fairly democratic if you happen to be a white Christian man – and something entirely different if you are not. 3/


Does that sound far-fetched? Alarmist? It’s not. In many ways, it would constitute a return to the pre-1960s situation and be much closer to the historical norm in the United States. Remember that until the 1960s, apartheid was the reality in many regions of the country. 4/

What about the national level? If you combine the current system’s anti-majoritarian distortions with the GOP’s many aggressive anti-democratic initiatives, Republicans are basically guaranteed enough power to obstruct and make functional Democratic governance impossible. 5/

The result is definitely not a functioning democracy. The question is: Would it even be a sustainable country? @davidmfaris worries about a breakup in this interview – and he’s right! America is already facing a crisis of democratic legitimacy, and it’s only getting worse. 6/

In a representative democracy, the party that consistently gets significantly fewer votes on all levels of government shouldn’t be able to hold onto power and control the nation’s fate. At some point, this crisis of legitimacy will have to be resolved – one way or another. 7/

History doesn’t repeat itself. There won’t be another Civil War blue vs. gray – the coming crisis will look different. But the idea that things are definitely going to work out somehow is mainly based on a “It can’t happen here” type of American exceptionalism. 8/


And still, “It cannot happen here” seems to be, as @AmandiOnAir puts it in the @RonBrownstein piece, the animating principle for too many Democratic officials and liberals more broadly. American democracy can’t afford this sort of willful ignorance and naivety. 9/

We must face the fact that the radicalization of the Republican Party has outpaced what even most critical observers imagined, and we need to grapple with what that should mean for our expectations going forward and start thinking about real worst-case scenarios. 10/

I think @perrybaconjr really captured the situation perfectly in last week’s important column: “Perhaps democracy dies faster in darkness. But it could also die slowly in the light, as all of us watched but didn’t do enough to save it.” 11/

Will America become a stable multiracial democracy - or will the history books record multiracial democracy as a fairly short-lived and ultimately aborted experiment, an interlude from the mid-1960s to the 2020s, when the country returned to its previous historical norm? 12/

I understand the criticism of what @ezraklein calls a “self-fulfilling cycle” in this great conversation with @pastpunditry: By emphasizing how high the stakes are, they get even higher – making it more difficult to solve the situation politically. 13/



But I maintain that for journalists, analysts, and scholars, the prime responsibility is to cover, describe, assess, and interpret American politics as objectively, accurately, and adequately as possible. We shouldn’t downplay, appease, play politics. 14/

I don’t think the situation is all bad, by the way. Reactionary forces are radicalizing because America really has become more liberal, more pluralistic, and is closer to being a truly multi-racial democracy than it’s ever been. 15/

But that’s exactly what makes the current moment so acutely dangerous. Reactionaries who define “real America” as a nation dominated by white Christians feel their backs against the wall and are convinced that all measures are justified to defeat an illegitimate opponent. 16/

I believe this struggle is of world-historic significance. And we are witnessing a very similar conflict in all Western democracies: Is it possible to establish a stable, truly multiracial, truly pluralistic democracy? 17/

I tried to make this point at the end of this @DinDpodcast, on democracy in Europe and how it compares to the situation in the U.S.: Such a truly multiracial, pluralistic democracy has never been achieved anywhere – it would be a world-historic first. 18/


There have been several stable, fairly liberal democracies – but either they have been culturally and ethnically homogeneous to begin with (think Sweden); or there has always been a pretty clearly defined ruling group, or “herrenvolk.” 19/


A truly multiracial, pluralistic democracy in which an individual’s status was not determined to a significant degree by race, gender, or religion? I don’t think that’s ever been achieved anywhere. 20/

The U.S. is in many ways the most advanced, most acute test case: Will it become a stable multiracial, pluralistic democracy – or remain a white Christian nation, defined by white Christianism, in which white Christians dominate socially, politically, and culturally? 21/

It’s an open question, one of enormous significance for all of us, all democracies around the world. Which is why the stakes, right now, are enormously high. We must hope that Democratic elected officials understand the situation – and are willing to act accordingly. /end

Let’s add this:

“Democrats will have to accept the challenge that accompanies the recognition that they will act alone to protect democracy, or it won’t happen at all.”

This here, from @ThePlumLineGS, goes right to the heart of the matter. So the question is: Will they?

Since I wrote this thread, a little over 24 hours ago, Republicans blocked a January 6 Commission in the Senate. I want to extend the thread by highlighting a few reactions to the latest Republican assault on democracy that I found particularly relevant:


The perfect encapsulation of America’s urgent crisis of democratic legitimacy.
Unroll available on Thread Reader


Ignoring and erasing the January 6 insurrection is very much in line with what has been the historical norm in the U.S. for most of the country’s existence.

Much closer to the truth than the lame, but pervasive “center-right country” pseudo-analysis.

This, exactly.




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Response to TomDaisy (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 03:17 PM

1. Have we already lost democracy? The filibuster allows a minority to stop an investigation...

into the Jan. 6 coup attempt sure seems to point to that. And the filibuster is the obstruction instrument that is also stopping the John Lewis voting rights legislation, infrastructure legislation and legislation to void all the vote suppression legislation happening in states all over the nation.

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Response to TomDaisy (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 03:27 PM

2. No, that is not how a democracy is supposed to work.

The rule by the minority.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #2)

Mon May 31, 2021, 03:50 PM

3. But the minority has learned to take full advantage

Of the institutions that allow for minority rule. And those very institutions keep us from doing anything about it.

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Response to Freddie (Reply #3)

Mon May 31, 2021, 04:28 PM

6. That's exactly right. We've become so institutionalized and legalized. We've made prisons and call..

them gated communities. All quite civilized. The Nazis should be quite comfortable.

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Response to TomDaisy (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 03:54 PM

4. We heading somewhere even more dangerous.

Into a scenario where some states have very democratic elections and others have fascistic sham elections.

It will set up a conflict between the states not seen since 1860.

Seriously, why should we in Michigan honor the results of a Texas election if they pass this criminally restrictive voting bill?

We shouldn’t. Our only option may be devolution or secession.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #4)

Mon May 31, 2021, 04:57 PM

11. More than that. I loathe everything they stand for.

 

My ancestors maimed and killed these racist confederate morons.

I hate to say, but this is going to end in a Civil War - AGAIN. They’ve wanted this since the last war, so we can’t allow them to remain on the loose or take the land, because they will kill us. So, I am 100% willing to put on the uniform and take up arms TO DEFEND DEMOCRACY.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #4)

Mon May 31, 2021, 05:17 PM

12. Seriously I predict they would carry out the next holocaust if given the opportunity.

And their target would be democrats. That's what happens with 40 years of one-sided propaganda.

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Response to Initech (Reply #12)

Mon May 31, 2021, 05:23 PM

13. I don't think they could handle urban warfare.

Plus most of the military would end up on our side, due to the higher percentage of minority and urban based members of it.

Training out in some farmer’s hayfield in a militia is WAY different than street to street urban combat.

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Response to TomDaisy (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 04:16 PM

5. Time for Dems, Civil Rights groups, and legal experts



To form a national task force/coalition to stop the crazies in their tracks.

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Response to TomDaisy (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 04:30 PM

7. Just passed a Trump bus stopped in FL. with a crowd around it....

Full size bus, painted in colors with Trump as a muscle guy on the back. Selling Tshirts and flags, large crowd gathered around it.

These fools ain't going anywhere and will vote in mass for Desantis or whoever Trump picks. Manchin and Sinema need to stop messing around if they want their kids/grand kids to grow up in a democracy.

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Response to Jon King (Reply #7)

Mon May 31, 2021, 04:38 PM

8. Several years ago, my brother pushed

for me to move to Florida where he and some other relatives lived. I am so damned glad that I did not do it.

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Response to Jon King (Reply #7)

Mon May 31, 2021, 04:54 PM

10. I don't think Sinema has kids, does she?

And Manchin seems not to give a damn what kind of government he leaves his grandchildren. I believe that he is firmly entrenched in the plutocracy (see his daughter as one example) and will be happy with Trump-for-Life as long as he, Manchin, stays in office, and his family can continue living at the top of the food chain.

At any rate, neither of these Senators are particularly inspiring examples of democratic and constitutional principles.

Depending on them means we’re screwed. Our only and last hope is to negate their power in 2022 by scooping up a few more seats in the Senate. Then we might see Biden and Harris actually get done the things that need to be done, the voting rights bill, correcting the sickening imbalance on the Supreme Court, moving more agressively on climate change.

Losing in 2022 and we’ll not see a free and democratic America in any of our life times.

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Response to TomDaisy (Original post)

Mon May 31, 2021, 04:48 PM

9. IMO if republicans succeed in limiting the number of people

who vote and of who's vote counts and give themselves the power to declare the winners of elections by decree there will be a civil war of sorts. Rich white people are not the majority no matter how hard they try. Depending on how far and how fast Republican fascists push the agenda they are promoting will determine the scale of war because as shown before when people have nothing to lose they will push back especially when there are more of them.

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