Bruce’s Take: Democracy will survive if ... Skip to content

Bruce’s Take: Democracy will survive if ...

If Trump is convicted, does that mean democracy is safe?

2 min read

There are some political authors out there that I read pretty much without exception. Teri Kanefield is one of those writers. And in a recent article, she said something that stuck with me:

“Democracy in America will survive IF enough voters want it to.”

The statement came in the midst of a long article about the impact of Trump’s legal problems on the 2024 election. Kanefield basically said that in terms of the survival of democracy in America, it didn’t matter, because the national Republican party had decided that power was more important than democracy, and they would nominate and try to elect an authoritarian.

And if they succeeded in doing so, in her words, “all bets are off.”

If you think this is hyperbole, consider this: If Trump is re-elected as president in 2024, how do you think he will govern? Will he care about laws at all? Will he care about having to step aside in 2028? Or will he seek vengeance on his perceived enemies, and make common cause with dictators?

Ask yourself this as well: Will his supporters care if he breaks the law and rules as an authoritarian? You know the answer. Elected Republicans and right-wing pundits are already taking his side in the current round of law-breaking. They didn’t stop him when they had the chance; do you think they will suddenly grow a spine once he is back in power?

And for those of you who think convictions or even imprisonment can stop him: nothing in the Constitution says you cannot run for office from prison. In fact, you can be president from prison. And if you think people won’t put up with that, let me ask: did you read the last paragraph?

No, as much as we might want it, the Republican Party is not going to suddenly come to its senses and throw Trump out on his ear. They are not going to nominate a “traditional” Republican for president. If it isn’t Trump, it might be DeSantis, who is Trump with a little more finesse.

The only way for democracy to survive in our country is for voters to choose it, over and over and over. As one commenter said to Kanefield: ““The only reason Democracy exists is because we constantly opt-in. It is not a default culture.”

And the only way for the Republican Party to break out of its authoritarian fever is for it to be defeated at the polls, over and over and over. Otherwise, the politicians who have chosen power and authoritarianism over democracy will go further and further down that road.

Read again what Kanefield said:

“Democracy in America will survive IF enough voters want it to.”

It’s not a given; it’s a choice. And making it the winning choice is up to all of us who believe in democracy and the rule of law. 2024 is that stark a choice.


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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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