Dan Drezner had a piece in the Washington Post the other day that illustrates exactly how we ended up in the mess we are currently in. Drezner lays bare the national media’s myopia regarding the Republican party’s transformation to an extremist party while also admitting the brazen double standard that it consistently applies for Democrats.
Drezner starts off by admitting he has never really taken the emerging threats to our democracy seriously. He writes, “Ever since Tim Snyder wrote ‘On Tyranny’ and Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt penned ‘How Democracies Die’, it has been chic to say that the common democratic values that bind our country are imperiled. This comes out particularly strongly when Trump tweets about being in office past 2024…I have found most of these scenarios pretty ludicrous”.
Of course, Levitsky and Ziblatt specifically talk about the importance of destruction of governing norms, “the guardrails of democracy”, in the collapse of democracies. And they specifically cite Republicans’ refusal, under the direction of Mitch McConnell, to even consider Merrick Garland as Obama’s choice to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court as an example of the kind of breakdown that leads to democratic collapse. The fact that, for the first time in our nation’s modern history, the opposition party in the Senate refused to give the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court even a hearing, much less a vote, did nothing to shake Drezner’s faith that our democracy was functioning as it should.
Apparently, neither did McConnell’s determination to block everything Obama tried to do in a stated effort to make him a one term president; nor did the surge of racial and partisan gerrymandering and expanded efforts at voter suppression by the Republicans after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act; nor did the endless pursuit of BENGHAZI! with the expressed purpose, admitted by Kevin McCarthy, of simply damaging the likely Democratic nominee; nor did the sight of GOP legislatures stripping powers from newly elected Democratic governors; nor did the emergence of Donald Trump with his endless lies and white nationalist rhetoric; nor did Trump’s campaign coordinating their message around documents stolen by Russia; nor did Trump’s multiple attempt to obstruct justice in the Mueller investigation; nor did Trump’s…