The Republican Party is an authoritarian outlier. Compared to center-right parties in developed democracies, the GOP is dangerously far from normal.
The Republican Supreme Court power grab after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death should be shocking, given the naked hypocrisy involved. The only reason it isn’t is that we’ve come to expect this from Republicans — and not just under Trump.
US HEADED FOR
SINGLE PARTY RULE
Republicans shut down the government in the 1990s and impeached President Bill Clinton over far less than what Trump has done in office. Under Obama, they fanned the flames of birtherism, held the global economy hostage to force spending cuts, and elevated obstructionism to the level of governing principle.
At the state level, they have rewritten electoral rules to block Democrats from voting and seized power from Democratic governors after they have won elections. Just this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed a bill that would effectively criminalize anti-police violence protests — and protect drivers who ran over protesters with their cars.
This kind of radicalism is not at all normal — at least, when compared to center-right parties in other advanced democracies.
Experts on comparative politics say the GOP is an extremist outlier, no longer belonging in the same conversation with “normal” right-wing parties like Canada’s Conservative Party (CPC) or Germany’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU). Instead, it more closely resembles more extreme right parties — like Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in Hungary or Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP in Turkey — that have actively worked to dismantle democracy in their own countries.
The Supreme Court saga can’t be considered in isolation. It is symptomatic of a profound brokenness in American politics, one party dragging us away from the developed-world political standards we aspire to and towards a fight over the most basic of democratic principles: whether power should be shared. And that’s a disaster for American democracy.
“The only way we move forward is when Republicans reform, and cease to be an increasingly authoritarian white nationalist party,” says Steven Levitsky, a Harvard professor and the co-author (with Daniel Ziblatt) of How Democracies Die.