The Threats to American Democracy
I don’t know if this statement has been diarized, my apologies, but it bears repeating often, so if anyone missed it.
The Bolding is mine
We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm. Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.
As an American abroad the following rings most true to me:
When democracy breaks down, it typically takes many years, often decades, to reverse the downward spiral. In the process, violence and corruption typically flourish, and talent and wealth flee to more stable countries, undermining national prosperity. It is not just our venerated institutions and norms that are at risk—it is our future national standing, strength, and ability to compete globally.
The mere fact that federal legislation has to be passed to ensure our democracy continues saddens me.
A new voting rights law (such as that proposed in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act) is essential but alone is not enough. True electoral integrity demands a comprehensive set of national standards that ensure the sanctity and independence of election administration, guarantee that all voters can freely exercise their right to vote, prevent partisan gerrymandering from giving dominant parties in the states an unfair advantage in the process of drawing congressional districts, and regulate ethics and money in politics.
It is always far better for major democracy reforms to be bipartisan, to give change the broadest possible legitimacy. However, in the current hyper-polarized political context such broad bipartisan support is sadly lacking. Elected Republican leaders have had numerous opportunities to repudiate Trump and his “Stop the Steal” crusade, which led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Each time, they have sidestepped the truth and enabled the lie to spread.
Looking from abroad it is almost unbelievable to me that this state of affairs has been reached, my country of birth seems to have changed beyond recognition. I have trouble getting my head around this tragic breakdown.
My view from the other side of the pond is I have never seen US democracy so threatened, and if US democracy fails, what knock on effect will it have here, we have our own anti-democratic forces who will only be encouraged. [It is not if we (Europe) don’t have any recent history to refer to. ~s]
The greatest danger to the US has always been from within.