Leading academic warns that America is on precipice of losing democracy

Thomas Mann says an ‘extreme set of forces’ is at work

Helen Elfer
Friday 30 July 2021 13:54
Kevin McCarthy denies he's robbed GOP voters of a voice

An influential scholar has sounded the alarm about the vulnerable state of America’s democracy.

Thomas Mann, who has long been critical of the Republican Party’s more extreme elements, has slammed the GOP for endangering the country’s system of government.

“We’re on a precipice,” Mr Mann told the LA Times. “We’re actually potentially so close to losing our democracy.”

Mr Mann is a widely respected voice in US politics, regarded by members of both major parties as an expert on Congress and democracy. His work has been praised across the divide, including by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

“We’ve always had extremist groups on the left as well as the right, but they’ve always been marginalized or co-opted to become more moderate,” said Mr Mann. “This is the first time an extreme set of forces like this has actually won the White House and tried to steal it a second time.”

Mann told an LA Times reporter that a complete repudiation of Trumpism, in the 2022 midterms and then in the 2024 elections, is necessary to sideline the Republican Party’s extreme fringes and put the GOP in a position to rebuild the party.

America needs two strong governing parties, Mr Mann added, to keep each other in check. “One-party rule is autocratic rule,” he said.

Among other measures, Mann also told the reporter he would like to see the electoral college abolished, so the president was chosen based on the popular vote, and voting made a mandatory requirement of citizenship.

Most voters, he said, “want [government] to work well for everyone, are not attracted to conspiracy theories and don’t want an autocrat, demagogue or fascist or whatever you call it running things.”

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