Democracy isn't in peril, our elections are
"American democracy isn't in peril., " says Ben Shapiro in last Saturday's Chronicle.
Yet many political scientists say that the divisions in the US are so deep that our democracy is in peril.
We have all seen the Capitol attacked because the then-president didn't like the election results. Then, we watched, without any proof, Donald Trump denying the election results to the extent that, today, 29% of registered voters think that Trump was the legitimate winner and his election was stolen.
It is not unusual to hear that election officials and their families are threatened, as are many local school boards members. Candidates for public office are being attacked. Civil discourse is declining. Finally, we have reached the point where a radical political supporter attacked a Congressional family member with a hammer.
In many states, election deniers are running for positions where they can influence an election and declare the loser the winner.
Shapiro rightly says that 47% of voters declare Trump a "major threat to democracy," yet as you travel around Citrus County, you see signs on trucks and flags in yards celebrating him. This "major threat to democracy" is the leader of the Republican party, and the Republican leadership in Congress worships him.
I am not alone in thinking America is in danger. In that NYT/Siena Poll, seventy-one percent of voters said, "American democracy is in danger." Fifty percent say we are so politically divided that we cannot solve this problem.
17 percent of Americans are willing to go outside the law to fix our democracy: that's 56 million Americans willing to take the law into their own hands and "fix" our democracy in their own image. Eleven percent are "willing to take up arms/violence/civil war."
Can you imagine the scene if 35 million Americans show up at the Capitol to prevent Congress from declaring a winner in an election? Thirty-five million is "just 11%."
Unless we change course, our elections are in peril. The most basic tenet of democracy is choosing our leaders and having them take office in a peaceful, seamless fashion. Trump and his adherents tried to tip the last Presidential election in his direction but failed. But, unfortunately, there is no guarantee that they will fail the next time.