HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » "we'll soon reach the poi...

Mon May 31, 2021, 02:50 PM

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

...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.

13 replies, 3900 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread