The Real Threat to Democracy

There is a battle going on within our country that most of us are only dimly aware of, and it constitutes by far the greatest threat to our democracy. It is the battle for supremacy waged by the Republican party. The true goal of Republican party is the marginalization (if not total elimination) of the Democratic party, a goal to which they are well on the way to achieving1. Once this goal is achieved, our democracy will be history. As a single party, the Republican party will be able to completely control our government. It will be able to control who becomes president, who will become members of Congress, who will become judges on the Supreme Court and who will become public officials at all levels of government2. Having control of all three branches of government, there will be no longer the balance of power intended by the framers of the Constitution, and all political power will be in the party.

Within the Republican party there is a struggle for leadership between the Koch brothers who bought their way into the party and Trump who, with the aid of the party, managed to get himself elected to president. This is a very high stakes struggle because whoever wins the party leadership will have absolute power in the U.S. once the party achieves its goal of total dominance. The party leader will then be the de facto ruler of the nation who can make whatever laws he chooses, reward or punish anyone he chooses, tax and spend freely and even decide if there are to be elections.

Unfortunately, the American public is being distracted from the from the Republican party’s bid for supremacy or the power struggle within party by the antics of the President and media debates over issues that have little to do with either, e.g., abortion, gun legislation, gay rights, and many others. While these are important social issues, they are insignificant in comparison to the issue of the survivability of our democracy3. Even the Russian connection is of little consequence except that Trump is willing to exploit whatever assistance he can get from his Russian “friends” to gain control over the party. But rest assured, once in control, Trump would never allow any Russians (or anyone else) to share his power; and he has more than enough military power to back him up.

What is most disturbing about this battle is that the Republican party is clearly a minority party (about 35% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans), but it is winning. It is winning because of the apathy of a large fraction of the nation’s electorate4. Trump’s tactics are succeeding in whipping up his minority base into a frenzied passion who are sure to vote on election day while opposing Democrats are squabbling amongst themselves, dividing the party and failing to motivate their base to go to the polls. By guaranteeing that 100% of the Republican base vote in each election while half or more of the Democratic base remain at home, the Republicans win every time. And by allowing Republicans to take over our government, Americans will soon be looking at their democracy in the rear view mirror.

1 Republicans now control both houses of Congress and the Presidency. 26 states have Republican controlled legislatures and a Republican governor. 6 states have Republican controlled legislatures and a Democratic governor.

2 This is exactly how the Communist Party governed the Soviet Union from 1918 until it collapsed in 1991. (See nomenklatura.)

3 Once in total control, all social issues will be decided by the party leadership.

4 In presidential elections, typically only 60% of eligible voters turn out to vote. In mid term elections, typically 40% of voters turn out to vote. In primary elections where the party selects candidates, typically only 20% – 30% of voters turn out to vote.