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The Economist Magazine 7th January 2022

Americans are anxious about the stability of their democracy. Roughly 40% of the politically active say that members of the other tribe are evil; 60% believe they are a threat to the country. More than 80% think the system needs “major changes” or “complete reform”. Jeremiads from pundits about the decay of political life no longer seem to match the gr avity of the thre at. Some scholars have gone so far as to warn of the risk of civil war. All this became dangerously re al in the attack by T rump supporters on the Capitol a year ago, which injured 140 police officers, in an attempt to prevent the certification of their champion’s defeat. After a fleeting moment of clarity, the majority of Republican lawmak ers reverted to making e xcuses for Donald Trump because his lies had rapidly taken hold. Today, fully 70% of Republican voters still believe that the election was stolen. In headtohead polling the former president is one point behind Mr Biden, well within the margin of error and, thanks to the electoral college, possibly ahead in a theoretical matchup.

Extreme partisanship and the R epublican refusal to ac cept the results of the election are indeed a dangerous combination. Yet easily lost in the daily diet of outrage is a fundamental truth about twoparty politics: Democrats and Republicans need each other for the system to function. R enewal therefore must flow through the Republican Party. That will be hard—but not as hard as the catastrophists say.

The threats to the system are real. The greatest is that in sever al key states the administr ation of voting has been dr agged into the partisan arena. In Arizona some of the candidates running to replace the Republican incumbent, Doug Ducey, this year will argue that he ought to have somehow engineered a victory there for Mr Trump. In Georgia R epublicans have weakened the office of secretary of state, after Brad Raffensperger refused to change the results of the elections in 2020 to suit Mr Trump. In Michigan and P ennsylvania R epublican candidates who claim that the last presidential election was stolen are running for positions administering and certifying the next one. The Economist Magazine 7th January 2022


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