Judge Luttig: US headed for ‘protracted democratic instability’ unless GOP finally disqualifies Trump
Retired judge and and informal advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, J. Michael Luttig, testifies during the third hearing of the US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

A deeply conservative former judge who testified before the House select committee warned that Republicans must withdraw their support for Donald Trump to save democracy.

Former federal judge J. Michael Luttig told the select committee that Trump and his allies were openly plotting to steal another election, and he said U.S. democracy was at a “perilous crossroads" -- and he's not alone in his fears of coming political instability, reported the Washington Post.

"The foreboding expressed by Luttig and others is shared by experts who study democratic breakdown," wrote Post columnist Greg Sargent. "When Luttig says we’re at a 'perilous crossroads,' and says only Republicans can 'bring an end' to the threat, he’s not alone."

Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way, professors of government and politics, recently warned the U.S. was heading into an "age of instability," which they said was not a civil war but more of a smoldering conflict like "the Troubles" in Ireland.

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“Such a scenario would be marked by frequent constitutional crises, including contested or stolen elections,” they wrote. "This portends 'heightened political violence, they suggested, including assassinations, bombings and violent confrontations in the streets, 'often tolerated and even incited by politicians.'"

The professors and Luttig all agreed that Republicans must take decisive action against Trump and his allies who conspired to illegally overturn his election loss, and the GOP must purge themselves of "authoritarian forces" to save democracy.

“It would make all the difference in the world,” Levitsky said, adding that Republicans must send a message to their own. “This is beyond the pale. We don’t do this in America.”

Luttig agreed, saying GOP elites must forcefully denounce pro-coup candidates and disqualify Trump from running again.

"If they don’t, Luttig told me, he agrees America may be headed for a period of 'protracted democratic instability,'" Sargent wrote.