1. Short thread - on the various claims we're seeing from Republican politicians over the last few days that the Democratic push for accountability is "divisive." Damn right it's divisive - that is what it has to be.
2. It is intended to enforce a clear division between those who accept and are committed to democracy and those who are willing to turn to violence when the vote doesn't turn out the way that they want it to.
3. One of the basic implications of Adam Przeworski's theoretic work is that democracy is made out of mutually reinforcing expectations, and those expectations are fragile. If some actors think they would be better off defecting from the democratic bargain, they will.
4. In other words: democracy and armed factionalism are far closer than we think, or we would like them to be. This means that it is incredibly important to police the boundaries between them. Allowing some to turn to violence can lead to expectation collapse and cascading ruin.
5. When we allow the divisions to become blurred, that means that we are running the perpetual risk of things getting fucked up. If a major faction turns to violence, and no-one responds, things can get really fucked up really, really fast.
6. The last three decades have seen the Republican party blur these boundaries more and more (nb - I am not accounting for pre-Civil Rights enclave authoritarianism, or claiming that the US was a stable democracy before - long history here).
7. This has become an accepted part of American politics - most observers shrugged their shoulders and thought of it as a sorta-deplorable-but-colorful minor aspect of the horse race that they were really paying attention to. They shouldn't have ignored it.
8. It is the main cause of our current crisis - and of the difficulty in solving it. Today's Republican party is one where it is considered divisive to take decisive action against a faction that was trying to hunt down Democratic _and_ Republican politicians a few days ago.
9. Just think about what that says. The reason why Republicans are saying that Democratic actions are divisive isn't because they threaten to split the country. It is because they threaten to split a Republican party that is a coalition between those prepared to countenance this
10. And those (like Murkowski) who are belatedly coming to see this as a problem. But if the Republican party is ever going to be a healthy political party (a big if) it is going to have to go through this process of division. It cannot ignore it and remain small d. democratic.
11. That is the situation, that is why Republicans like Cruz, McCarthy etc are reacting, and that is why their reactions need to be ignored. Finis.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Henry Farrell

Henry Farrell Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @henryfarrell

23 Nov 20
1. Today, @schneierblog and I have a piece in the New York Times, on how Trump's enablers are damaging democracy - nytimes.com/2020/11/23/opi… (read it together with nytimes.com/2020/11/23/opi… by @rickhasen - both published on the same day and cover different aspects of same problem).
2. What our piece does is the following. First, to argue that democracy is an information system, where the most crucial information that needs to be protected is the scaffolding of beliefs that democracy needs to work.
3. Second, that like other more traditional information systems (think computer servers) the key vulnerabilities are much more easily exploited by insiders (U.S. politicians) than outsiders (Russian trolling efforts). And that explains why U.S. democracy is in trouble.
Read 12 tweets
7 Nov 20
1. washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/… My @monkeycageblog take on the plausible story behind the decision of the NYT/networks all to jump at once after days of waiting. Brief summary below.
2. The role of major newspapers and networks in the U.S. "saying" that the presidential election has been won is weird, and as far as I know highly unusual internationally. It obviously isn't a law - but it has become a collective norm/expectation.
3. While I don't know of any research on this (but IANA Americanist), my presumption is that this is a contingent byproduct of a decentralized vote counting system, where there isn't any immediate official decision as to what has happened overall.
Read 14 tweets
31 Jul 20
1. (thread) reuters.com/article/us-chi… This story talks about a report suggesting that China should move away from the SWIFT financial network to reduce its vulnerabilities to US penalties and surveillance. It's _just_ a report. Still, as @RichardMNephew says, "Watch this space."
2. The background to this is the way in which the US has weaponized global economic networks such as SWIFT (which is lynchpin of world financial system) against adversaries, as @ANewman_forward and I describe in our work on #WeaponizedInterdependence mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.116….
3. Systems such as SWIFT used to be disregarded in the same ways as the plumbing of a building is disregarded - so long as it works, who cares? Now, however, the plumbing is becoming political as networks are weaponized. China's problem is that it can't readily retaliate in kind.
Read 20 tweets
28 Jul 20
1. Thread on my and @ANewman_forward piece at Lawfare lawfareblog.com/schrems-ii-off…, which in turn builds on our recent book amzn.to/2UVnyI6 . Short version - the Schrems II decision taking down Privacy Shield transfers etc. doesn't mean what US commentators think it means.
2. US security people have reacted to the decision with disappointment, derision or anger (a strong sense of 'there go those crazy ECJ judges again' pervading the debate). They find the notion that international surveillance should be subjected to judicial scrutiny weird.
3. But this, we say, fundamentally misunderstands how surveillance has changed in a world of fast communications networks and interdependence. It's not just targeted and expensive pursuit of high value targets - instead it involves bulk collection of data on entire populations.
Read 13 tweets
6 Jul 20
1. @annawiener has a great new article on Section 230 in the New Yorker this morning. IR scholars tend not to pay much attention to domestic laws like 230. In a new piece (forthcoming in @IntOrgJournal) @ANewman_forward and I argue that's a mistake
2. A next to-final draft is here - dropbox.com/s/tvyxmwqvwwjf…. Our argument is straightforward - that rules like 230, which effectively delegate the regulation of user-generated content to platform companies - were the foundation of the global communications order.
3. They not only underpinned the business models of companies like Facebook, but seemed like a win-win for the US model of liberalism, spreading US values (open communication) at the same time as they promoted the economic interests of US companies.
Read 20 tweets
9 Jun 20
I just finished writing a piece on the demise of Bleeding Heart Libertarians and the divisions among intellectual libertarians an hour ago crookedtimber.org/2020/06/09/bro…. Then @lindsey_brink writes an essay which speaks more directly to the disagreements. It's strong stuff.
"When it comes to making government strong enough and capable enough to do the things it needs to do, libertarianism is silent. Actually, worse than silent. ... [it] .... is dedicated to the proposition that the contemporary American state is illegitimate and contemptible."
"The gradual diffusion of these anti-government attitudes through the conservative movement and the Republican Party has rendered the American right worse than irrelevant to the project of restoring American state capacity. "
Read 14 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!