(Thread) Be nice to the never-Trump Republicans.
They can save the republic.
First, a few definitions from psychologist Karen Stenner.
3 groups identify as conservatives:
Status quo conservatives, laissez-faire conservatives & right wing authoritarians.
1/ Status quo conservatives prefer stability.
Right wing authoritarians (RWAs) are averse to complexity (which includes diversity).
laissez-faire / free market conservatives favor minimum government intervention.
More on RWAs here:
2/ For the past several decades, all three groups made up the GOP.
Then the RWAs (and laissez-faire conservatives) took over the party and adopted policies contrary to status quo conservatism.
This leaves the status quo conservatives without a party.
3/ In their book, How Democracies Die, profs. Ziblatt and Levitsky offer a possible scenario for saving our democratic republic from the current extremist takeover:
“The Republican Party must be reformed, if not refounded outright," they say.
4/ Eventually this will happen. The question is how much damage the authoritarians will do to our democratic institutions first.
Yes, eventually they will be removed.
Even dictatorships don’t last forever.
See👇for how Chile got out of theirs
5/ Parties come, go & change. Like the Federalists and Whigs. Or when the Democrats were the party of the Confederacy.
[Aside: I know some people think we should have more than 2 major parties, but under our Constitution, that won’t work well.
Why? Because with more than 2. . .
6/ . . major parties, it’s unlikely that a presidential candidate will get a majority of electoral votes (because the electoral votes will be split 3 ways).
If no candidate gets an electoral majority, Congress picks the president.
I can’t imagine that going well.
7/The Constitution isn’t set up this way because the founders wanted a 2-party system. They didn’t.
They didn’t know the presidency would become so powerful. They imagined Congress making laws & president as mere administrator.
There's a way around this without an amendment. . .
8/ . . . IF enough states agree (no room here to explain)
OK, according to the authors👇 America needs a center-right party.
Creating a new right-center party can be done.
In West Germany after WWII, a brand-new center-right conservative party, the CDU Party, was formed.
9/ The CDU denounced right wing extremism.
The question, for the authors, is this:
“Can American conservatives create a center-right party before we plunge deeper into crisis?”
In the meantime, look what principled conservatives did in France in 2017:
10/ The conservative candidate, Fillon, was defeated.
It looked like a RWA candidate, Le Pen, might win, so Fillon asked his conservative party members to vote for center-left candidate Macron to keep a dangerous extremist out of office.
11/ Some conservatives did the same in the US in 2016.
But no prominent party leaders—even those who denounced Trump as a dangerous extremist—would endorse HRC as the better alternative.
Now we know why. They are really Trumpians disguised in conservative clothing.
12/ An alternative I can envision to the rebirth of a new center-right party:
The Democrats move right (with the influx of never-Trumpers), the GOP becomes hardened as a fringe white nationalist/ white supremacist party, and a new party forms to the left (think Bernie bros).
13/ As the never-Trump conservatives try to find their way—either to form a new party, retake the GOP, or find a place in an altered Democratic Party—liberals must support them.
Also from 👇 Democracy is “grinding” work, requiring give and take, and compromise.
14/ Inflexibility, digging in heels and making demands, and “my way or the high way” isn’t democracy; it’s autocracy.
By coming together with the never-Trumpers & putting democratic values over policy differences, we can defeat RWA extremism and prevent the cruelties of fascism.
You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.