America is facing four distinct threats to democracy as the country prepares for the 2022 midterm elections, according to a new analysis in Vox.
"Leading Democrats, many academics, liberal commentators, and left-leaning activists agree: American democracy is in grave peril. It’s besieged on all sides, the threats culminating so far in Donald Trump’s attempt to steal the 2020 presidential election from Joe Biden. More tumult likely lies ahead," Andrew Prokop wrote. "Too often, though, all this tends to be conflated and treated as similarly urgent in what has become a thinkpiece-industrial complex about democracy’s peril, and by a liberal establishment mostly concerned with offering reasons to vote for Democrats rather than Republicans. These threats may well have a common root, but they are distinct problems that would have separate solutions."
Prokop wrote that the "most dangerous scenario" may be efforts at direct election theft like Trump's "big lie" inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"In this line of thinking, the many other issues liberals care about — voter suppression laws, gerrymandering, the Senate’s rural skew, Trump’s election in the first place — pale in importance when compared to the attempted theft of 2020. Institutional biases or voter suppression might affect election outcomes on the margin. But election theft is about throwing out the results entirely," he explained.
One week after Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) sided with Republicans to preserve the filibuster, minority rule is the second threat Prokop identified.
"Yet many Democrats, activists, and academics aren’t just worried about elections being outright stolen. They’re also concerned that Republicans could consistently win elections while lacking a majority of overall votes nationwide," he wrote. "This, they argue, is an affront to the core democratic principle that a majority should prevail, and to the idea that some people’s votes shouldn’t be worth more than others."
Voter suppression was identified as the third threat to democracy.
"This effort accelerated in 2021 with a set of new laws in GOP-controlled states. Some toughened voter ID requirements, some are reduced the time in which mail ballots can be requested, some limited drop boxes, some made it easier to 'purge' voter rolls. Republicans claim they’re simply rolling back pandemic expansions or trying to combat possible fraud, but occasionally a Republican admits these measures are aimed at helping their party win," he wrote. "Biden and others have compared these laws to the old Jim Crow laws of the South."
Irresponsibility by Republicans in the era of Trump was the fourth threat to democracy.
"Finally, some liberals would define the threat to democracy in even more worrying terms. It wouldn’t just be a stolen election, or a Republican win without a majority of votes — any Republican victory at all is a threat, because of what the GOP might use its powers to do next time around," he wrote. "Trump’s actions, and the willingness of so much of the GOP to excuse or accommodate them, indeed go a long way toward making the case that the GOP may well not respect future election results if it’s in power."
Read the full analysis.
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