For the past decade, I’ve studied the rise of authoritarianism and the breakdown of democracy around the world. Traveling from Madagascar to Thailand and Belarus to Zambia, I’ve tried to understand how despotic politicians and authoritarian political parties systematically destroy democracy. And based on that research, I have some bad news: The party of Reagan and Romney is long dead. The party of Trump is here to stay.Klaas is right to say that GOP authoritarianism won't be reversed under pressure from the party's voters, or because a charismatic party member charts a pro-democracy course.
Republicans could conceivably abandon such practices if their leaders were being pressed by their own supporters to be more democratic. Instead, we’re seeing the opposite.... These voters are now using those lies as a litmus test — to separate the true believers from alleged “RINOs” who believe in democracy more than they believe in Donald Trump....And what about the possibility of change being forced on the GOP?
The Republican Party could also be driven away from authoritarianism by a charismatic rival to Trump who believes in democracy.....
[But] when a Republican tries to investigate the Jan. 6 rioters to hold them accountable, he or she becomes a pariah, too. (Just ask Rep. Liz Cheney.) Meanwhile, the rising stars in the party are extremist zealots who are sympathetic to the insurrectionists such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Authoritarian parties can be reformed when they suffer a crushing electoral defeat. If Republicans were wiped out at the polls in 2022, there would be a decent chance the GOP would move back to a more normal center-right party. That outcome is unlikely, however, precisely because the party’s anti-democratic tactics are insulating Republican politicians from voter backlash. Already, Republican lawmakers have drawn gerrymandered maps that rig future elections in their favor. In Wisconsin, for example — a state Joe Biden narrowly won — the new maps will likely give Republicans 75 percent of the state’s seats in the House of Representatives. Even if Democrats get more votes, Republicans would win more seats.But that's not a new development brought about by "the party of Trump." Remember the last pro-GOP gerrymander of Wisconsin:
At a statewide level, Wisconsin is a quintessential battleground where races are often decided by only a few percentage points. Contrast that to the state assembly map the Republicans drew: In 2012, they won 60 of the 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly despite winning only 48.6% of the two-party state-wide vote; in 2014, they won 63 seats with only 52% of the state-wide vote.No rank-and-file Republican had a problem with that, or had a problem with voter ID laws, huge purges of voter rolls, and other techniques Republicans used to win elections before 2020. No Republican had a problem with the destruction of ACORN a decade and a half ago.
I say this over and over again. The simple fact is that the Trump GOP is the pre-Trump GOP. But I guess you can't get an op-ed on this subject placed in a major American newspaper unless you fail to grasp this.