Democracy Diary: What should we DO?

Jonna Higgins-Freese is the author of Democracy Diary on Substack.

For almost a year, I’ve been deeply concerned about voting rights, and waiting for Democrats (and Republicans devoted to democracy, although there are so few of those left) to move swiftly to protect democracy — and speak more publicly and forcefully about the danger of authoritarianism.

States have proposed and passed hundreds of laws to suppress the vote and gerrymander districts. But, in my view, no one is sounding the alarm loudly enough.

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Cartoon: A year after the January 6 insurrection

W.R. Staplin is a former scientist specializing in utilizing molecular biology techniques to investigate RNA plant and animal viruses, research and development of vaccines to protect against infectious viruses; husband to Ruth Ann Sparks Staplin, a longtime SPPG employee and political wonk; father to two independently minded teenagers enrolled in the Des Moines Public Independent School District; cancer and spinal cord disability survivor; and a supporter of women’s reproductive rights, LGTBQ+, and Black and Brown Lives Matter. He is also a full-time greyhound owner and greyhound cafeteria worker.

He was inspired to draw this cartoon to reflect the “paucity of shame, repulsion, and disgust within the submissive Republican Party, especially within Republicans elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate towards a day that truly shall remain in infamy: January 6, 2021.” For Staplin, the reaction to the storming of the U.S. Capitol “shows how dangerously fragile is the democracy our nation relies on.”

Editor’s note: Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest submissions of political cartoons as well as articles or commentaries. Please contact Laura Belin if you are interested in sharing a cartoon with the site’s readers.

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It's time to worry about democracy

Julie Ann Neely: Our democracy is in danger; the basic tenets of our constitution are under attack by the GOP’s authoritarian ideology.

Remember 1984, George Orwell’s dystopian novel about Oceania, where media and educational content were government controlled, and history was rewritten to match the prevailing political climate? 

It was easy to point a finger at the Soviet Union and feel secure and smug, because we had no reason to worry about such things. After all, it couldn’t happen here – we’re a democracy – we are a free country – we have the First Amendment and the Declaration of Independence.

Well – Guess What? It’s Time To Worry.

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The need to heed Benjamin Franklin

Herb Strentz ponders the threat Donald Trump and his cult pose to our republic.

As the midterm election year approaches, we face another test of what might be called “Franklin’s Challenge,” given our nature and television’s penchant to turn everything into a game show.

That’s the challenge Benjamin Franklin — bless him — reportedly put before his 18th century audience and today’s 21st century citizenry.

At the close of the constitutional convention on September 17, 1787, he was said to be asked if our founding fathers had created a monarchy or a self-governing republic.
Franklin supposedly replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

If you can keep it.

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Nine asymmetries that define our politics and hurt Democrats

Jim Chrisinger: These asymmetries reinforce each other, tilting the playing field against democracy.  

Traditionally, both major political parties competed with policies aimed at their core constituencies and persuadable voters. The policy platforms differed markedly, but a symmetry framed the fight. 

No more. Nine asymmetries now define our politics and hand the advantage to Republicans.  

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