We have reached a turning point in our democracy for various reasons, but we are here.
Following the publication of the Eastman memo a few weeks ago in which Trump’s attorney John Eastman drafted a six-point riot plan for Pence, the lead story everywhere should be the ongoing attack on US democracy and what we are doing to stop it .
It takes only a small number of people to create turning points in the collapse of a democracy, University College London associate professor of global politics and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas warned on Monday.
In a Twitter thread, Klaas explained how authoritarianism can rise and “with the right timing or the right twist, democracy can still die by small groups” and why it is urgent for democrats to adopt reforms, the democratic one To protect institutions from “the obvious onslaught that is clearly going to come”:
1. Much of my academic research has included trips to places where political violence has led to the breakdown of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism. And one dynamic that I’m not sure will be fully appreciated in the U.S. is how a small number of people can create tipping points.
2. I interviewed coup plotters who organized a few dozen soldiers to take over government. Some militias that grow into rebel movements start out as tiny amateur outfits. But with the right timing or the right turn of events, democracy can still die from small groups
3. This is important because the post January 6 dynamic in the US is one where a small group of die-hard extremists are planning to destroy democracy in 2022/2024. Some don’t take them seriously because a small percentage of Americans support them. It’s a big mistake
4. People like Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, etc. have a large platform among these extremists, and these violent extremists take clues on how to behave. Some will see even comparatively small calls to action as incitement to serious violence. It’s extremely dangerous.
5. At the same time, there are organized efforts to fill important, lesser-known election jobs with people who only validate elections that Republicans win. They are advocates of Big Lie – an unmasked authoritarian conspiracy theory – and they are trying to run our elections.
6. This combination – of hundreds of thousands or even a few million Flynn-style extremists, along with key authoritarians in elections – means that significant political violence and official attempts to undermine democracy are likely to occur in any US national election .
7. There weren’t that many people involved on January 6th. It still shook the very foundations of American democracy. What if there is a more organized effort in 2022, with more direct support from those in formal political power? The answer is not reassuring.
8. Therefore, the Democrats must direct their attention, resources and political power to enact reforms that will protect US democratic institutions from the onslaught that is obviously coming. Because you don’t need nearly 50% of the population to destroy democracy.
How did we get here? It seems to be the same mechanism that has been testing our fledgling democracy for decades: Democrats’ urge to focus on governing when they are in power, while modern Republicans use their time in power to gain more power to violate more norms, to attack democracy itself – even in broad daylight.
“We have seen this repeatedly on the right, with Republicans expressing far less concern about the acute threat on Jan. 6 than they were months ago and showing almost no resistance to the chronic dishonesty of electoral fraud. As part of this revisionism, the way people talk about the post-election period is under constant surveillance, ”wrote Phillip Bump in an article entitled“ The coup didn’t work is not a comforting argument, ”published in the Washington Post . “An analysis by the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden shows how the Republican Party has increasingly adopted an illiberal approach to democracy over the past few decades and has moved away from the obligation to respect the will of the electorate.”
Image from Washington Post with data from V-Dem:
No one with the power to do anything about it wants to call on Republicans to attack democracy for fear of sounding partisan. Republicans ensure that the narrative that the 6th terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 goes as far as to claim that one of the terrorists who was killed in a coup that put our then lawmakers and vice-presidents at risk was indeed is a hero.
Nobody looks to elected Republicans anymore when it comes to protecting fundamental freedoms like voting, because apart from a few objectors, the Republican Party has done everything for power. They don’t care what their constituents want or need. This is not about the people; it’s about gaining more and more power until the voice of the people becomes completely irrelevant.
Democrats have tabled bills like For the People Act to tackle the death spiral of republican democracy, but the media covering these issues will not just call it that: a sustained, authoritarian seizure of power by a political party that is now in motion Has prevailed with political terrorism for over a decade so as not to feel the slightest bit of real brand damage.
The Republicans have become so power insane that they are now openly conspiring with their attorney general (who was also appointed in a further step to regular order to get an attorney general to fulfill Trump’s commandments instead of his job) to keep power and to expand. Her last president, who still heads her party, wanted the National Guard to protect the 1/6 terrorists, armed every government department they could, and filled the entire federal government with cult members willing to politicize non-political jobs before.
Today’s appointment of hardcore Trump loyalist Paul Dans as chief of staff in the Office of Personnel Management is a big signal that the Trump administration is working flat out in its efforts to break the civil service and cripple the Biden administration . (1/7) pic.twitter.com/XU3eyWrqPg
– Yevgeny Shrago (@yevshrag) December 11, 2020
“McConnell knew that Trump’s claims were false and endanger the country. And he refused to speak up because he put politics before the country, ”wrote Rick Hasen on the Election Blog.
It is the mainstream’s refusal to simply cling to the truth that is currently the greatest threat to our freedoms; it is a game of “neutrality” rather than truth; it is the ever-penetrating dishonest right-wing narrative brought into the mainstream by willing media. We have all now been puffed up to accept what the intelligence services have called a “domestic terrorist attack” as simply not a problem. A silly, depraved conspiracy by a man whose ego is too big to accept defeat.
January 6th was a terrorist attack on our country – an act of political violence designed to prevent a democratic election from being confirmed. There couldn’t be a bigger warning. Eastman’s memo should have set off an alarm that the Justice Department was investigating Donald Trump and his close circle for sedition.
The people who make Trump’s lies possible should be called for what they are: traitors to democracy. Democracy is running out of time and unfortunately we only have 48 senators (all Democrats) ready to stand up for our country.
Ms. Jones is the Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House Press Pool.
Sarah moderates Politicus News and is co-host of Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news, talk shows, and print media, including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.