In our closely divided and highly polarized country, each party is likely to hold power at some point in coming years. But when the Republican Party does, it may change the rules to ensure that it remains in power, as Trump tried in 2020 and as Viktor Orban has done in Hungary.
Only a cross-ideological coalition is likely to prove strong enough to prevent this outcome. A coalition makes it easier for Republican officials across the country to beat back future attempts to overturn elections; when the Cheney family is standing up for democracy, it does not look like just another liberal position.
A broad coalition can also win more votes, keeping anti-democratic politicians out of power. Levitsky is alarmed enough that he believes the authoritarian threat should shape the Democrats’ 2024 campaign strategy, and perhaps its presidential and vice-presidential nominees. Once the authoritarian threat has receded, Americans can focus on their other disagreements, he argues:
There is obviously no easy way out, but in my view the Democrats need to work to forge a broader (small-d) democratic coalition that explicitly and publicly includes all small-d democratic Republicans. This means Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, the Bush establishment network and other conservatives (as well as major business leaders and Christian leaders) need to publicly join and support a fusion ticket with the Democratic Party.
I know that many Democrats will recoil at this idea. Some anti-Trump Republicans will, too. It has real downsides and could forestall progress on other important issues, starting with climate change. I also know that some progressives believe that Liz Cheney and her father have helped create the radicalized Republican Party and are themselves part of the problem with American democracy.
But whatever you think of their policy views, that last claim strikes me as inconsistent with American history. Opposing abortion, gun control and environmental regulation is well within the bounds of this country’s democratic traditions. So is — uncomfortable as this may be to acknowledge — starting a disastrous foreign war, as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did in Iraq, or playing hardball over vote counting, as they did in Florida in 2000. Democratic presidents have done those things, too.
Violently attacking the Capitol is not consistent with American democratic traditions. Nor is trying to airbrush the horror of that attack, as many top Republican officials have. Nor are flamboyant, repeated lies about election results — and promises to act on those lies in the future.
“The vast majority of Americans — Republicans and Democrats — want to live in a country that continues to be characterized by the freedoms that we enjoy and that they are fundamentally faithful to the Constitution,” Cheney told “The Daily.” “It’s a dangerous moment. The stakes are really high.”
You can listen to Cheney’s interview with my colleague Michael Barbaro here.
More on Jan. 6
A year after the attack, Trump remains the G.O.P.’s dominant figure.
Merrick Garland, the U.S. attorney general, vowed to hold the perpetrators of the attack “at any level” accountable.
The House committee investigating the attack aims to release a final report by November.
The attack casts a pall over Congress, Carl Hulse writes. Staff members are frightened to go to work, and lawmakers are checked for weapons.
FiveThirtyEight’s Alex Samuels wrote about the noose, Confederate flag and other symbols of white supremacy at the riot.
Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, spoke to NPR’s Terry Gross about losing his son to suicide days before the attack.
“The Argument” podcast asks if America is sliding toward authoritarianism.