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Reconstructing Democracy

K. Sabeel Rahman
Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

Might the Trump presidency be propeling us toward a Third Reconstruction?

November’s election may have delivered a significant blue wave, sweeping Democrats into power in the House of Representatives and throughout several states. But in the weeks since the election, it has become increasingly clear that, despite these historic gains, our democracy remains deeply in peril. And that peril is not just a product of the ongoing chaos emanating from the White House, what may be uncovered by the Mueller investigation, or President Donald Trump’s various tantrums of executive power.

It seems increasingly clear, for example, that the Georgia gubernatorial race, claimed by Republican Brian Kemp, turned on a deeply troubling strategy of systemic voter suppression, at a scale big enough to swing a very close election. Meanwhile, conservatives in state legislatures from Wisconsin to Michigan to North Carolina are frantically considering measures to constrain incoming progressive lawmakers, changing electoral rules and readjusting the powers of offices—governorships, attorneys general, state courts—soon to be occupied by progressives. In Wisconsin alone, for example, Republicans who still dominate the state legislature, despite a popular vote victory for Democrats—thanks to extreme gerrymandering—are fast tracking bills that would severely limit the powers of the incoming Democratic governor, transfering litigation authority from the incoming Democratic attorney general to the Republican-controlled legislature, curtailing early voting, and moving the dates on the next wave of state supreme court elections to avoid the likely spike of Democratic turnout associated with the 2020 election. These are all measures designed to further lock-in conservative power and hamstring the new progressive officeholders who won in November.

Read the full article at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas