September 22, 2023

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Hidden Threats to American Democracy

Many elections after November 8 that could have profound implications for democracy are largely overlooked.

In America, there is reason to worry about the future of democracy. Some readers may ask, “What’s the problem? If Americans want to elect Republicans and pave the way for Trump’s comeback, that’s their choice. »

The fact that a Republican Congress will shut down the US government for two years is not the real problem. Democracy is like that. In fact, the problem is that Americans will lose their democracy.

Close the door for good

There are politicians who can’t help but say what they need to grumble about. On Monday, Wisconsin’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Tim Michaels, said his party would never lose another election in the state if elected.

In Wisconsin, the two parties have roughly the same base of support. The government supported Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020 each time. On the other hand, in the Legislature, ballot tampering ensures a solid majority for Republicans.

Only a current Democratic governor’s veto would bring in Republican-blocking rules that would make it harder for thousands of Democrats to go to the polls and carry out Michaels’ wish. And this is not an isolated case.

Hundreds of cases

In many states, our invisible elections can have a decisive impact on democracy.

In Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina, for example, Republicans are betting big on electing state Supreme Court justices to check doctored voter maps and voting restrictions.

In dozens of states, county and statewide elected positions go to Republicans, groups usually associated with the opposition party to impose as many barriers as possible to exercising their right to vote.

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Democracy is at stake

Republicans are a real threat to democracy. At the risk of repeating myself, the problem is not their right-wing policies. If the Republicans want to follow the miserable “anti-inflation plan” of the British Conservatives, or cut Social Security and Health Care, that would be disastrous, but not undemocratic.

The real problem is that, in addition to supporting a leader who refuses to accept defeat, Republicans seek to manipulate institutions and the rules of the political game to make transitioning power more difficult. Like Trump, many Republican candidates are quick to declare that any electoral outcome against them is doubtful.

It is no coincidence that the new heroes of the American right are autocrats like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán or Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who have practically reduced the uncertainty of election results.

Fortunately, there is a degree of uncertainty in the forecast of next Tuesday’s results, but it is certain that, more than ever, democracy itself will be at stake.