Michael Tomasky draws on Steven Levitsky to give us the best description yet of the modern Republican Party:
If you pay close attention to such things, you will recognize Mr. Levitsky’s name — he was a co-author, with Daniel Ziblatt, of last year’s book “How Democracies Die,” which sparked much discussion. “Competitive Authoritarianism” deserves to do the same.
What defines competitive authoritarian states? They are “civilian regimes in which formal democratic institutions exist and are widely viewed as the primary means of gaining power, but in which incumbents’ abuse of the state places them at a significant advantage vis-à-vis their opponents.” Sound like anyone you know?
Now, I should say that I don’t think we’re there yet. Neither does Mr. Levitsky. “For all of its unfairness and growing dysfunction, American democracy has not slid into competitive authoritarianism,” he told me. “The playing field between Democrats and Republicans remains reasonably level.”
So we’re not there right now. But we may well be on the way, and it’s abundantly clear who wants to take us there.
Read this back-to-back with yesterday's Op-Ed from political scientist Greg Weiner on "the Trump Fallacy" and have a great day.