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Three steps to nowhere

Steven Livitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (Harvard academics both) have written a book to “show how democracies die – and how ours can be saved”, according to the publisher’s blurb.[1]

This has excited the Opinion writers of that bastion of liberal values The New York Times to declare that the first best hope for the future is that “the Republican Party becomes more willing to stand up to Trump”. Should that fail (surely not?), “the next best hope lies with electing more Democrats”.[2]

And that’s it? No, not quite, not for fellow liberals Livitsky and Ziblatt. They didn’t get where they are today by being that simplistic. And the NYT quotes them in aid: “Mobilizing the vote in 2018 and 2020 is essential”, they declare. But “there is something else that ordinary Americans must do.” They must

try to build broader coalitions in defense of democracy … that extend beyond traditional party lines. For liberals, this means forging perhaps uncomfortable alliances – with right-of-center businesspeople, evangelical Christians, and dissident conservatives, among others.[3]

This will, apparently, “involve compromise”. That, I think, is code for “will involve moving to the right”. It apparently doesn’t involve the democratic socialists of the Bernie Sanders movement. And it apparently doesn’t involve persuading the “right-of-center businesspeople” or the evangelical Christians, or these strange animals “dissident conservatives”, not to be right-wing shits.

Might it also involve keeping a seat warm for another Clinton?

Don’t ask.
[1] How Democracies Die, Steven Livitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, Penguin RandomHouse (2018).

[2] “Opinion Today”, New York Times, 4 January 2018.

[3] Ibid.


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