This week, I addressed this question about Republican attacks on democracy: “I honestly can’t take it anymore. When will it end?”

And this comment: “I’m really worried they’ll try again and next time they’ll succeed.”

I’ll have a transcript shortly.

Scholars relied on: @dziblatt, Steven Levitsky, Max Weber, Lucan Way and, indirectly, @karen_stenner

After more ☕️ I'll come back and attempt a Twitter Summary.

The transcript is here:…

The latest attacks are in the Calfornia recall with a chorus of voices, including TFG, insisting that if Newsom wins, it will be because the election was rigged (CA went for Biden 63.5% to Trump 34.3)

The problem: A swatch of angry and militant Californians think it’s true.

It may seem like I'm detouring on Nerdy🤓 Road, but ti answer, we need Max Weber's 3 sources of authority for government and "Competitive Authoritarianism" (Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way).

Did you know "competitive authoritarianism" is a thing?…

I also rely on political psychologists who teach us about the authoritarian personality.

Here's the spoiler:  As long as you have a democracy, you will have people trying to undermine the democracy. 

People ask “What can we do?” Actually, there are things we need to do.

Weber in his classic essay explains that there are three sources of authority for government.…

Monarchy has obvious disadvantages but the advantage is stability: You always know who the ruler is and you (generally) know who the next ruler will be.

Fascism didn't appear on the world stage until after the old monarchies and empires broke down because a demagogue can only gain authority in a democracy.

They often come to power through legal means (elections) then figure out how to stay in power.

Here's the thing about democracy: A lot of people don't really like it. It's slow-moving, frustrating, and strives for inclusiveness.

I often say "Democracy will survive if enough people want it to," and everyone thinks I'm an optimist. But there's an "if" in that sentence.

Democracy strives for fairness but can never be completely fair.

Because there is always pushback, rule of law is very very slow and cumbersome, and because the institutions of democracy consist of mere mortals.

So people who want fairness get frustrated.

Another problem: all those checks and balances (spreading power around to make it harder for a dictator to take power) also make it harder to get anything done.

People get frustrated. They get cynical and this kills democracy by undermining confidence in the institutions.

Then there is the "authoritarian personality" as defined by political scientists -- people who will never feel comfortable in a liberal democracy, because democracy strives for inclusion and they want sameness and order.

This makes up about a third of the population.

This third rejects inclusivity. They prefer to fall in line behind a strong leader.

That's just the way they are. They will constantly regroup and attack.

They are not going away. They'll keep attacking.

So what do we do?

We work on strengthening our democratic institutions to withstand attack and get us out if they "win."

I'll give a 20th-century example (Chile) and then explain what's more likely to happen in 21 century America (this is where competitive authoritarianism comes in.)

Here's what happened in Chile.
(Screenshot so the thread doesn't get too long).

Notice the part about having a tradition of functioning democratic institutions.

Nowadays, a sudden coup where you go to sleep in a democracy and wake up in a dictatorship is rare.

Generally, in the 21st century, the move is gradual as democratic institutions break down and slide into "competitive authoritarianism."

#1: A definition of competitive authoritarianism.

#2: How to get out of a competitive authoritarian regime and back to democracy.

When I say "democratic institutions," I mean what the authors call "arenas."

So the main thing we do, to withstand attack and make it possible to get out, should they 'win' is to strengthen our institutions.

Did someone ask "But how?"

Great! Because I made a list.

The problem with social media is all-or-nothing thinking, the idea that there are only absolutes.

This leads to statements like "If X doesn't happen, rule of law is dead."

Rule of law is the authority underlying the government. If that's dead, you have a dictatorship.

Really what "If X doesn't happen . . ." reflects is annoyance with the imperfections of rule of law.

It IS imperfect. And frustrating.

But learn to love (and defend) it.

I think it's like the great truth that life is difficult. If we accept the truth, we stop whining about it and expecting life to be easy and we get to work.

Social media encourages meltdowns and rage because it gets lots of clicks.
Screenshot to include both tweets. @ANewLeaf8

In 1874, SCOTUS said women are not "people" under the 14th Amendment (Minor v. Happersett)

In 1896 SCOTUS upheld racial segregation as Constitutional (Plessy)

In 1923, SCOTUS struck down the minimum wage as unconstitutional . . .
What do we do?

The same thing women did in 1874, Black rights activists did in 1896, and labor activists did in 1923.

History offers perspective and teaches us possibilities.
P.S: I don't intend for any of this to be reassuring or optimistic. Those SCOTUS cases were horrific and caused a lot of damage.

My point: what we're facing isn't new.

If you think "nothing like this has ever happened," the shock can be paralyzing.

But we know what to do.

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More from @Teri_Kanefield

8 Sep
This means that DeSantis is likely to keep losing.

The interesting question, of course, is why he's pushing a losing and unpopular issue.

The judge held that while Florida law gives parents control over their children's health, there is a clear exception . . .

. . . for government actions that are (1) needed to protect public health and are (2) reasonable and limited in scope.

He said a school district’s decision to require student masking to prevent the spread of the virus falls within that exemption.

I can't imagine such a debate. If Trump wants the nomination (and is in a position to be the nominee -- I am skeptical) I suspect everyone will step back.

I think the contest is to be Trump II

Read 4 tweets
6 Sep
Speaking of women as "host bodies" (we were speaking about that, weren't we?) this is from a 1908 Supreme Cort case on why legislatures were justified in passing laws that "protected" women.…
In fact, I'm stumbling on these because I'm reading my Ruth Bader Ginsburg book aloud for my YouTube channel. I'm up to chapter 9, but I haven't gotten around to posting them yet.
There are so many ways to understand what is happening in Texas.

One is as extreme reactionary / regressive: A desire to take us back to the "good old days."

The "again" in MAGA signifies reactionist politics.
Read 6 tweets
5 Sep
This week, I resolved the contradiction between saying “Vaccine mandates violate bodily autonomy” while passing draconian anti-abortion laws.

It makes sense within the context of Christian nationalism and Christian fundamentalism.

When I published it, YouTube told me that it contains sensitive information and viewing may be limited.

No porn or foul language, I promise!

Maybe it dislikes "anti-abortion" and discussions of rape laws?

I’ll have a transcript (and perhaps a Twitter summary) shortly.

In a nutshell: Christian fundamentalism envisions a patriarchal hierarchy with women in a subordinate position.

Pretty much what nineteenth-century American courts held. From Bradwell v. State, 1872⤵️

The full opinion is here:…

3/ Image
Read 17 tweets
4 Sep
This one stands alone if you're interested in the history of women's legal rights without all personal RBG story.

Women's legal status was a bit shocking in the 19th century.

I'll thread some highlights. Not much time now, but I'll add to it later.

When Myra Bradwell tried to become a lawyer in the 1870s, she passed the Illinois bar, but the United States Supreme Court upheld the Illinois decision to refuse to allow her to practice law because (basically) a woman belongs in the home.

This is from the Supreme Court:

When Virginia Minor tried to vote in 1872, she (like others) argued that the 14th Amendment guarantees equal rights to all persons, she was a person, the law preventing her from voting denied her equal protection of the law, therefore, she should be able to vote.

Read 4 tweets
3 Sep
"Let's outlaw abortion."
"It's my body and the government can't tell me to get a vaccine or wear a mask"

The contradiction resolves when we understand that the hierarchy envisioned by Christian nationalism is also misogynistic.

It's Taliban-level fundamentalism.
For people who have the idea that "fundamentalism" applies only to Muslims, um, no. Christian fundamentalism is a thing.

I was going to write "look it up" but then I did it for you.

You're welcome! Image
People. Stop being silly. This⤵️ is factually incorrect. Not all Christians are fundamentalists.

Comparing the extremists in one religion to the extremists in another (particularly when they're so much alike) isn't a slur on all Muslims.

This is the slur on an entire religion⤵️ Image
Read 4 tweets
2 Sep
Does anyone want a [true] story break?

With abortion rights at stake, I’d like to make my biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg FREE as an audiobook.

If I read it myself, I incur no expenses and can make it free on YouTube (and maybe as a podcast).

Interested? (see Tweet #2)

1/ ImageImage
Here’s Chapter 1.

The book weaves together Ginsburg’s life story with the history of the fight for legal rights for women.

Why this book? Because history offers perspective and teaches us possibilities.

I hope you like it.

Here’s Chapter 2⤵️

I was able to recount so many conversations because so many people gave interviews detailing these conversations.

Here is the bibliography, if you're curious:

I'll upload Chapter 3 this evening.
Read 4 tweets

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