Saturday, February 03, 2018

How Democracies Die

There are images that come to mind when we imagine a democracy's end. Democracies fall in coups and revolutions, burn in fires and riots, collapse amid war and plague. When they die, they die screaming. Not anymore, argue Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt in their new book, How Democracies Die. In most modern cases, "democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps." They rot from the inside, poisoned by leaders who "subvert the very process that brought them to power." They are hollowed out, the trappings of democracy present long after the soul of the system is snuffed out ... Demagogues and authoritarians do not destroy democracies. It's established political parties, and the choices they make when faced with demagogues and authoritarians, that decide whether democracies survive.

Comments

FTA:

"2017 was the best year for conservatives in the 30 years that I've been here," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week. "The best year on all fronts. And a lot of people were shocked because we didn't know what we were getting with Donald Trump."

The best year on all fronts. Think about that for a moment. If you want to know why congressional Republicans are opening an assault on the FBI in order to protect Trump, it can be found in that comment. This was a year in which Trump undermined the press, fired the director of the FBI, cozied up to Russia, baselessly alleged he was wiretapped, threatened to jail his political opponents, publicly humiliated his attorney general for recusing himself from an investigation, repeatedly claimed massive voter fraud against him, appointed a raft of unqualified and occasionally ridiculous candidates to key positions, mishandled the aftermath of the Puerto Rico hurricane, and threatened to use antitrust and libel laws against his enemies.

And yet McConnell surveyed the tax cuts he passed and the regulations he repealed and called this not a mixed year for his political movement, not a good year for his political movement, but the best year he'd ever seen.

How Democracies Die argues that to survive, political systems need parties who place fundamental values above immediate political or policy gain. America's democracy is currently operating without that protection. History shows that leaves us vulnerable.

Sorry Trumpsters but you're the turds in this punch bowl.

A certain amount of drift in a political party's views/platform is to be expected ove periods of time.

But the three things that have been consistent in the GOP's platform in my lifetime have been:

A. First and foremost, love, undying adulation and worship of the one true almighty God, money.
B. Obsession with a boogeyman, whether it be the Russians (LOL...not anymore!), blacks, gays, intellectuals or just plain ol' libruls.
C. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, else is negotiable under the right circumstances.

Seriously, the rate at which you guys declare your own as "RINOs" is on par with a drunk bipolar schizophrenic who accidentally took acid while snorting meth while a needle magically sticks into their arm claiming those around them are out to get them. Lately, you've been just as paranoid too.

The rate at which you guys throw Jesus and his teachings under the bus is enough to make a good Conservative blush. (But that's how you know who the good Conservatives are *wink*)

The frequency with which you defend, deny or deflect from adultery, sexual predation, lying, cheating, stealing and ACTUALLY damaging the country you so frequently claim to love is mind boggling.

In other words, the only thing consistent is money, hate and immediate political or policy gain.

All the while claiming to be the party of values.

Hey, I guess I just found another consistency-you tend to be the polar opposite of what's good and best for this country and its people.

#1 | Posted by jpw at 2018-02-02 11:44 PM

I wish I had more than one NW to give you.

Outstanding post!

#2 | Posted by tonyroma at 2018-02-02 11:51 PM

From the link ...

Those who end up being handmaidens for autocrats don't believe that's what they are doing.

They see themselves as the canny institutionalists civilizing or neutering the system's challengers while harnessing the outsider's energy, appeal, and supporters for their own ends.

The classic example is the rise of Adolf Hitler, which was engineered by a coalition of conservatives who thought they could control the inexperienced chancellor.

"We've engaged him for ourselves," bragged Franz von Papen, an architect of the plan.

"Within two months, we will have pushed [him] so far into a corner that he'll squeal."

Like a fat orange nazi pig.

#3 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-02-02 11:53 PM

The classic example is the rise of Adolf Hitler, which was engineered by a coalition of conservatives who thought they could control the inexperienced chancellor.

It's always the Conservatives who f--- everything up.

#4 | Posted by jpw at 2018-02-03 12:38 AM

I hate McConnell but I admit he has to be one of the most politically savvy people of all time. Never has someone been so overtly evil and corrupt in US politics and yet held the power to single handedly obstruct the functions of all 3 branches of government for over a year.

He is both the archaic and modern awful.

#5 | Posted by IndianaJones at 2018-02-03 12:42 AM

Another pile of rot from ultra-left Vox.

#7 | Posted by nullifidian at 2018-02-03 03:08 PM

"Another pile of rot from ultra-left Vox."

What's your take on how democracies die.
Immigration, right?

#9 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-02-03 03:31 PM

Another pile of rot from ultra-left Vox.

#7 | Posted by nullifidian

Null your brain is rotting. YOu went from a person who hated dubya to a person who spends all day defending someone way worse than dubya in every way.

A president who attacks the press and tells the country to not beleive whatever they hear about him, and who thinks the justice department and law enforcement should obey his commands is a president who is attacking democracy.

#10 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2018-02-03 03:40 PM

Having attempted theft of our electoral results and LOST, alt leftists now want you to believe President Trump is stealing our form of government.
After they threatened swing Electoral college members which then promptly responded with 5 of 6 "defections" going to President Trump. Irony supreme.

#6 | Posted by 2fred

The electoral college ignored the will of the voters and elected a con man. The whole purpose of the electoral college was to prevent the country from electing a con man, and to ignore their votes if they did.

If you're worried about democracy under attack, how do you feel about trump refusing to defend america from foreign attacks meant to influence our elections?

#11 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2018-02-03 03:43 PM

#6 | POSTED BY 2FRED

and while you're at it..give us some info on the ruble/dollar exchange rate comrade

#12 | Posted by ABlock at 2018-02-03 03:45 PM

#7

Another argument-free post from the Trump Troll, Nullifibski.

#13 | Posted by Corky at 2018-02-03 04:01 PM

SPEAK

"If you're worried about democracy under attack, how do you feel about trump refusing to defend america from foreign attacks meant to influence our elections?"

He doesn't dare. Putin will cut off his allowance.

#14 | Posted by Twinpac at 2018-02-03 04:25 PM

Well the article compares him to Hitler. I think we can all appreciate the seriousness of Hitler. The dude was seriously bad and baths/t crazy. He wanted to exterminate an entire people of a religion (Jews). Trump has no good intentions and wants us all to die. Painfully. Great anguish. The greatest anguish, like you've never seen. Run!!

#15 | Posted by Nuke_Gently at 2018-02-04 05:59 AM

You people are sick and you totally are what's wrong with this country. And the country is rejecting you. You know it.

Comparing Trump to Hitler? Really? I weep for the death of the conservative Democrat, the only saving grace this country had.

#16 | Posted by boaz at 2018-02-04 08:09 AM

#16

There are comparisons to be made between Trump and Hitler. Since Hitler is dead the only one who can do anything about that is Trump.

#17 | Posted by Zed at 2018-02-04 08:30 AM

Other than posting "All the while claiming to be the party of values." I could have sworn #1 was about the Democratic party.

#18 | Posted by HanoverFist at 2018-02-04 08:52 AM

You people are sick and you totally are what's wrong with this country. And the country is rejecting you. You know it.

Comparing Trump to Hitler? Really?

#16 | POSTED BY BOAZ

What's wrong with the country is that Americans are such children (as in ignorant) when it comes to knowing and understanding history.

It only takes 30 seconds to google 'Franz Von Papen' to understand who he was, and to understand the context of the Hitler reference.

Mike Godwin: Sure, call Trump a Nazi. Just make sure you know what you're talking about.
www.independent.co.uk

"If you're thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump," he wrote in the Washington Post late last year. "Or any other politician."

He went on to make clear that he thinks that references to the Holocaust and other Nazi crimes are legitimate and can be helpful, in some cases.

"To be clear: I don't personally believe all rational discourse has ended when Nazis or the Holocaust are invoked," he wrote. "But I'm pleased that people still use Godwin's Law to force one another to argue more thoughtfully.


The article at the top of this thread references Hitler as the newly appointed German Chancellor in 1933 and German conservatives who backed Hitler's appointment ...

The classic example is the rise of Adolf Hitler, which was engineered by a coalition of conservatives who thought they could control the inexperienced chancellor.

"We've engaged him for ourselves," bragged Franz von Papen, an architect of the plan.

"Within two months, we will have pushed [him] so far into a corner that he'll squeal."


Franz Von Papen = Mitch McConnell

Also the 'Franz Von Papen' in Wikipedia page is heavily sourced, and it backs up the above quote.

#19 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-02-04 09:37 AM

Keeping in mind that Trump is an expert liar who also kept a book of Hitler's speeches by his bedside, this sure sounds like Trump to me:

The "Big Lie" passage from "Mein Kampf" is one of the turgid tome's most famous passages. It reads:

All this was inspired by the principle -- which is quite true in itself -- that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

lawfareblog.com

#20 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2018-02-04 10:44 AM

You people are sick and you totally are what's wrong with this country. And the country is rejecting you. You know it.

If by country you mean rural areas then you're sort of right. There's enough America haters to elect Repubs but it's not 100% crazy.

Otherwise you're wrong as usual.

Also, it doesn't surprise me that all you took from this was a Trump-Hitler comparison, which wasn't really done explicitly. The broader point, which you ignore because you're a part of the problem, is that the ‘win at all costs' mentality currently exhibited by the right leads to a breakdown of norms that sustain a healthy democracy.

#21 | Posted by jpw at 2018-02-04 11:56 AM

Granting the premise of #21, if Republicans abandon "win at all costs" then Democrats will abandon "resist for resistance sake" and get back to participating in the legislative process. Seems fair.

#22 | Posted by Nuke_Gently at 2018-02-04 01:03 PM

"resist for resistance sake" and get back to participating in the legislative process

Were you saying this when the GOP decided to obstruct Obama on everything on Day 1?

There's really no need for me to post links that corroborate Republican obstruction toward Obama for the entire 8 years Obama was in office -- the links are just a 2 second search away.

And when it comes to "win at all costs" or "resist for resistance sake" or whatever it's called, don't forget Republicans were talking about impeaching Hillary BEFORE the 2016 election.

So you wanting something "fair" in order to get back to bipartisan legislating is laughable on it's face.

#23 | Posted by PinchALoaf at 2018-02-04 01:20 PM

The electoral College has never been Democratic, by design.
Nothing the Conservatives and Trump have tried to do or succeeded in doing has been in the best interests of ordinary working people, which includes his base.

#24 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-02-04 10:53 PM

They also die when the people start fighting against the basic rights that the government tries to preserve, like freedom of speech. Democrats are working as hard as they can to get rid of freedom of speech and see no problem with it and how it goes against the very ideals of a democracy.

""resist for resistance sake" and get back to participating in the legislative process

Were you saying this when the GOP decided to obstruct Obama on everything on Day 1?"

This is exactly what the Reps did when Obama was in office. It gets infuriating to see how they wouldn't do anything with him. I mean, sure, Obama is quoted on record as saying he won't negotiate with them but that was already after he was fed up of their crap.

However, where were you when "The party of No" was coined, referring to Democrats who adamantly opposed everything W wanted to do, especially from day 1 of his second term? I'm very sure it was probably used before that but the point is, both parties become the biggest obstructionists ever when the other party is in power. Neither side can claim this moniker at all.

#25 | Posted by humtake at 2018-02-05 12:14 PM

"They also die when the people start fighting against the basic rights that the government tries to preserve, like freedom of speech. Democrats are working as hard as they can to get rid of freedom of speech and see no problem with it and how it goes against the very ideals of a democracy."

So stupid it's incredible.

#26 | Posted by danni at 2018-02-05 12:26 PM

"I'm very sure it was probably used before that but the point is, both parties become the biggest obstructionists ever when the other party is in power."

Yeah that idiot Dubya wanted to privatize SS my party let him know we would obstruct, thankfully so. Too bad we couldn't have blocked his stupid wars and tax cuts. But hey, he doesn't care, now he's home playing with his paint set. Laura is thankful that he's not eating the paint.

#27 | Posted by danni at 2018-02-05 12:30 PM

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