Watch now (13 mins) | How to vote for, or against, the continuity of our republic
At least some Democrats are talking about freedom. Here's Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania. He gets loud roars of approval from the crowd. I was thrilled to hear this!
This is my assessment too, consequently, I am very on edge. My first grandchild will arrive soon, it' feels extra personal. Actually, it feels like the clock has run out. Your words make me feel more grounded, less of a drama queen. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Thank you, Dr. Snyder. As always.
I've been watching US politics with a heavy heart from the UK for several years now and you are voicing what has been worrying me. Everything you've taught us about how democracy unwinds and how totalitarianism is born, seems to be reflected in what has been happening to the Republican party and with Trump.
I think there are some flaws that are built in to the American way of doing things. Holding elections for law enforcement and legal posts seems to bake in polarisation and partisanship. The Electoral College, and the non-proportionality of the Senate remove much of the protection from the Majority. All of this was manageable until the easy access and targeting of voters that Big Media brought. Once you have that, the whole country's future being in the hands of a small fraction of its electorate becomes a glaring vulnerability.
UK democracy is far from perfect, but the idea that an election worker would sabotage the vote, or that a politician would refuse to concede, that electoral boundaries would be manipulated by partisans or that senior judges would rule in nakedly partisan ways, are all inconceivable here.
My great nightmare is that one day, a decade or two from now, I will be watching videos online of Ukrainian, Georgian and Canadian volunteers fighting fascists in the suburbs of US cities.
Tim, I suspect most of your readers will neither be surprised by nor disagree with your assertion that Americans' ability to elect our leaders in the future hinges on these midterms. It is late in the game, but those who live in (or near) areas where close and critical races are underway can still show up at candidate headquarters tomorrow and Monday morning. The process of going door to door -- now only to voters likely to support candidates in favor of honoring electoral votes for all elections -- is not complicated and does not even requiring massive extraversion or persuasive skills.
Further, many of your readers have done something this cycle, or in the past, called "phone banking" to get out the vote. This can be done from home using a smart phone and a personal computer (no one "gets" your phone number). All this can be figured out online with the keywords you would expect or by asking any friend who is active in politics to help you get set up. The whole thing is mildly awkward and certainly unglamorous, but does not require any particular talent, and it gets votes that are desperately needed for the reason you make clear.
Thank you Timothy Snyder, for this alarm with regard to the future of American Democracy. Was America on the ballot in December, 2000, when the Supreme Court decided in favor of Bush against Gore? What has happened in the US in the last twenty-two years? When might the enormous challenges to American Democracy been called in a timely way? Is that ever the case? Weren't the wealth gap, the shrinking middleclass, along with wage stagnation, the disappearance of communities and the growing antipathy in the population loud signals of deep trouble years ago? The minority's power, Dark Money, along with Corporations and Billionaires running free, until Donald J. Trump and Elon Musk are calling the shots -- are we, perhaps, somewhat late to the game? The affects of technology on the work place, on communities, Main Street and on social intercourse have altered the country immeasurably. The loss of local journalistically oriented news and the growth of social media have poisoned the well. It appears that many of our young people feel and are unmoored. Even if the Democrats are able to hold on to the Senate, how late are we to the game? Joe Biden knew that he was fighting for the soul of America when he ran. It is not his fault that the soul of America is very difficult to get our arms around.
Thank you Professor Snyder. Very sobering and important plea for democracy. On Nov 11, 2020 I began calling the 147 Republican Representatives in the House and Senate who refused to acknowledge then President-Elect Biden as such. I was amazed that the staffers I spoke with were all working with the same script. I called again just before Jan 6, similar scenario. I hope everyone is voting for candidates who support free and fair elections and respected outcomes. I agree with you there will be a fight if need be. I have voted here in CT- straight blue. I hope you will stay with us here after The Making of Modern Ukraine reaches the end of the semester. We have so much to learn from you and Ukraine. Again much thanks I look forward to your book on Freedom when it is published
Thank you Doctor Snyder. I deeply appreciate your defense of democracy and ongoing warnings of the risks it (and we) are facing. In this election, however, I would argue for an even more stringent voting rule for this election than you propose. I believe it is necessary to defeat every Republican, even those who are not election deniers, and elect every Democrat. The reason is that which party controls the House, the Senate and each state house controls a huge lever of power. They get to set the rules and the agenda. I respect Republicans who are taking often courageous stands, but which party rules is is key at this time.
Once again, thank you for pushing the important issue forward!
Thank you Dr. Snyder. I believe it is important to be able to share your video or at least the text with as many people as possible. Is it shareable?
I live in France. I am not an American but I'm painfully aware of the fact most Americans do not realize the importance of their collective voice in other countries where democracy is also under attack every single day by the very same corrosive forces attacking democracy in Ukraine. We have evidence of this in Europe with every single bit of disinformation that has led to the recent election of proponents of the extreme right-wing in Italy, not to mention the corrosion affecting Hungary, the forces behind Brexit, and so on. All I can say is: Americans who care about their country set certain standards abroad. Despite all that is far from perfect in your country, all that is perfectible still, letting your country fall into the hands of election result deniers is not way to allow your democracy - or anyone else's - to grow and thrive. People all over the world will be watching the results of these mid-term elections. We're counting on democratic peoples to elect leaders who are committed to democracy. Thank you for your post, Mr. Snyder. I follow you Making of Ukraine class on youTube - a most useful course in these terrible times. Sincerely, Maria Damcheva.
“Take responsibility for the face of the world. And do not look away.”
A powerful and compelling piece.
From Australia, our thoughts, our "Mitgefühl" are with you…
'The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity'. Biden and the Dems seemed to think that just being reasonable sort of people would somehow see off the revolutionary Right. He could have fought back. Packed SCOTUS. Prosecuted Trump. Admitted Washington DC and Costa Rica as States. Then forced through a defence of Democracy Bill
.Might not have worked but at least the Republic would go down fighting.
A majority of Americans are about to choose a party committed to ending the rule of law and free elections. Apparently they are fine with that. By ' majority' I include the tens of millions who don't vote - why should the end of free elections bother them?
It's very unclear what the new America will look like. What is clear is that it's the end for us in the UK too, long term. Freedom can't survive here if America is gone. Ukraine will be the first to know that.
I'm old. Thank God. I don't want to watch more of this.
But.....why? Why did America do this to itself? Why did we do what we've done...Brexit, Johnson, the absurd Truss? Will anyone ever be able to explain?
This is class war. A large minority of the population do not want democracy as we understand it. They want to live in a ‘traditional society’ where women breed, men fight, and big men rule, where business is done via patronage schemes and government employees are selected according to a spoils system. They view the whole scheme of formal institutions, rule of law, impartial judiciary, professional civil service as an oppressive, exploitative system imposed on them by ‘elites’, in which they have no stake--comparable to a colonial administration dominating and exploiting the indigenous people. I grew up with this, in a gritty city in Trumplandia run by the Mob, populated by tribal people—working class white ethnics now incorporated into Trump’s Base. I don’t see how this can be reversed.
Need to get national media coverage of this.