The following is an article written by Tom Nichols in the Atlantic. Read about Nichols at Wiki if you want to know his background. He was born in our old stomping grounds (Western Massachusetts) of humble origins. Read what he did with himself. He is an example of the “American Dream”. Then listen to his thinking on democracy.
I am a “lefty semi-socialist” so I don’t subscribe to Tom’s basic political views. And I could never vote for Liz Cheney - despite her enormous contribution to the nation. My focus will always be on Universal Rights to education, healthcare, decent housing, clean water and food security - and most of all, the health of our Earth. So don’t assume I have “moved to the right”. Never going to happen.
But every nation needs a balance of political philosophies. And those on the right and the left need to agree to deal with each other respectfully to achieve some balance in policies and legislation. If there is a hope for an honorable center right political party, it lies with thinkers like Tom. Remember when a “conservative” could be viewed as a patriot and against all things totalitarian? There are still a few like Tom. His historical perspective is brilliant. So is his warning.
It’s Not Over
Kari Lake speaking during an election night watch party in Scottsdale, Arizona, on November 8, 2022. (Olivier Touron / AFP / Getty)
November has been a good month for democracy. Brazil’s autocratic president, Jair Bolsonaro, authorized the transfer of power after losing in national elections to a left-wing challenger. Russia’s murderous army is literally on the run in Ukraine. And American voters went to the polls and defied both history and expectation: They left the Senate in the hands of Democrats, gave the House to the Republicans by only a tiny majority, and crushed the electoral aspirations of a ragtag coalition of election deniers, Christian nationalists, and general weirdos.
That’s the good news. But as relieved as I am that some of my darkest worries did not come to pass last week, democracy is still in danger. What happened last week was an important electoral victory that allows all of us to fight another day—specifically, two years from now. Without the defeat of the deniers in 2022, the 2024 elections would likely have fallen into chaos and perhaps even violence. Both are still possibilities. But voters rallied and turned back the worst and most immediate threats to the American system of government.
Think of last week as American democracy’s Dunkirk: an improvised but crucial escape from disaster. I generally dislike World War II metaphors; most things we do are nowhere near the scale of the fight to defeat the Axis. But I’m going to break my own rule here because I worry about too much complacency among the prodemocracy coalition.
If you’re fuzzy on your 20th-century history, Dunkirk was the beach in France where the Nazis trapped retreating Allied forces, mostly hundreds of thousands of British troops, after the fall of France in 1940. Had these units been destroyed, the United Kingdom might well have faced the prospect of surrender to Nazi Germany. Instead, the Germans hesitated to close the noose, and nearly 350,000 men were evacuated to Britain by a flotilla composed mostly of civilian volunteers, a miraculous feat that protected Britain from invasion and bought time until the American entry into the war.
Like Dunkirk, the midterms were a necessary, but not final, victory. The old saw about “the most important election in our lifetime” turned out to be true this time: Without multiple defeats of the worst state and federal candidates in recent history, the unraveling of American democracy would have accelerated and the security of future elections would be in doubt, at least in the states captured by the election deniers and their associated charlatans.
If you want a vision of what such a nightmare might look like, imagine a close election in 2024. Battleground states are counting ballots with armed people swarming around election sites and state offices. Arizona Governor Kari Lake, Pennsylvania Governor Doug Mastriano, and Wisconsin Governor Tim Michels are all frantically calling and texting one another on Election Night, and ordering their state institutions to hold off on finalizing the results. Meanwhile, Arizona Secretary of State Mark Finchem (a former member of the Oath Keepers) reaches out to his like-minded counterparts—Jim Marchant in Nevada, Kristina Karamo in Michigan—to ensure that none of them will certify Democratic wins, perhaps in hopes of flipping the decision to their legislatures or sympathetic judges. If Karamo misses the call, it’s because she’s busy strategizing with Michigan’s new Republican governor, Tudor Dixon, a conspiracy-theory-spouting flake who thinks that COVID restrictions and the George Floyd protests were an attempt to topple the U.S. government.
Fortunately, all of these people were soundly defeated—except for Lake, who lost in a squeaker and, true to form, still refuses to concede to Democrat Katie Hobbs. But among them, they garnered millions of votes. These 2022 losers and other, similar candidates are still out there, and they will all continue their best efforts (as Lake is demonstrating) to corrode the foundations of our constitutional order.
Which brings us to Donald Trump.
As I wrote a few days ago, Trump’s 2024 candidacy confronts us, once and for all, with a decision about what kind of country we are. I hope that the Republicans deny him their nomination: A spirited fight within the GOP that ends by flushing Trump out of the American political system would be good for the Republicans and for America. But I have no faith in the regenerative power of a party that has devolved into an anti-constitutional, violent movement led by cowards and opportunists. Especially because the current crop of possible GOP contenders is just another collection of poltroons and Trump imitators; the Republican primaries are likely only to replace one authoritarian cult leader with another.
American democracy’s Dunkirk means that the danger to the 2024 election from chicanery and outright attack, both political and physical, is much lower now than even a month ago. Turnout in 2022 was high, as midterms go, but not high enough, particularly—and as usual—among young voters, whose turnout, at just over 27 percent, was actually lower than in 2018 (when it hit its highest level ever). And we’re stuck for years to come with some truly odious candidates who managed to get past the voters. (I am, of course, speaking of J. D. Vance here, among others.) The Kari Lakes and the Tudor Dixons will resurface in two years. If we are going to turn them back once and for all, we must not underestimate their resentment and will to power. We know who they are; we must decide who we are.
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Also from this publication Mark Leibovich's The Most Pathetic Men in America was exceptional: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/07/kevin-mccarthy-lindsey-graham-trump-devotion-2024-election/661508/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20221118&utm_term=The%20Atlantic%20Daily
"Like Dunkirk, the midterms were a necessary, but not final, victory. The old saw about “the most important election in our lifetime” turned out to be true this time: Without multiple defeats of the worst state and federal candidates in recent history, the unraveling of American democracy would have accelerated and the security of future elections would be in doubt, at least in the states captured by the election deniers and their associated charlatans."
As long as these con artists remain free to peddle the conspiracy nonsense, democracy is in danger.