Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) talks with reporters on his way to the U.S. Capitol on the third day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on February 11, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Is There a Republican Alive Who Still Believes in Democracy?

Republicans should heed Churchill's warning about appeasing authoritarians: "Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, it will eat him last."

Jill Richardson

 by OtherWords

Investigative accounts of the Trump administration, like the recent Washington Post feature on the January 6 insurrection, routinely write about three kinds of conservatives.

First, there are the few who took a stand for democracy who have sacrificed their political careers, like Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Second, there are some who know Biden fairly won the 2020 election but placate conspiracy theorists to protect their political careers. Last, there are those who are true believers in Trump.

Republicans in the second group tell journalists, often anonymously, how they really feel about Trump and the 2020 election. Their base supports Trump, and their base believes Trump's lies that he won re-election. They go along with their base, convinced it won't hurt anything.

As Winston Churchill said about appeasing a power-hungry authoritarian ruler, "Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, it will eat him last."

Republicans who understand Trump is a threat to our democracy must organize together to protect their own party. It's not acceptable to go along with Trump because it is expedient for Republicans' political agenda.

Trump is such a wild card, he doesn't even reliably help Republicans' political agenda: Trump focused solely on his own loss in the 2020 election and failed to support the two Georgia Senate Republicans in their runoffs. The Senate now has a narrow Democratic majority.

Honest Republicans should coordinate a strategy to repudiate Trump's lies about the 2020 election and reclaim their party. Appeasement is not benign.

On January 6, our democracy survived in part because a few heroes in the Trump administration—including even Vice President Mike Pence, who didn't try to stop the election certification—prevented Trump from carrying out a coup. What if the coup is less inept next time? What if Trump loyalists supportive of a coup gain enough power to carry it out?

They're certainly trying.

Republican state governments are currently passing laws to restrict Democrats from voting in the future, while taking care not to suppress the Republican vote. The 2013 Supreme Court decision repealing part of the Voting Rights Act makes it easier for states to pass restrictive voting laws that disproportionately prevent marginalized groups from voting—which is increasingly Republicans' stated intent.

If Trump runs again in 2024, he could attempt to use loyalists in local and state governments to carry out a coup—not just by suppressing votes, but by actually overturning results.

Fortunately, preventing the coup presents no moral dilemmas, because it is consistent with following the Constitution and the ideals of democracy. If voting rights are protected and every American eligible to vote has the opportunity to do so and be counted, that should be good for all of us.

Congress has to protect voting rights to protect our democracy. We must protect our democracy by guaranteeing its most sacred rite: voting. We should do so legally, with elected representatives passing laws that allow as many eligible citizens to vote as possible. It is fitting to protect our democracy while upholding its ideals.

I also think it would help the nation if anyone involved in the January 6 insurrection and all of their supporters sit down and think about what they have done. I'm not naïve enough to expect it could happen, but it's nice to have dreams.

Trump and his supporters tried to carry out a coup. It was violent and people died. More people could have died. The next attempt may be more successful. We must take this threat seriously and take precautions now by protecting voting rights for all eligible citizens.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Jill Richardson

Jill Richardson

Jill Richardson is pursuing a PhD in sociology at UW-Madison, where she studies natural resources and the environment.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


Abortion Rights Defenders Applaud Judge's Block on Utah 'Trigger Ban'

"Today is a win, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight," said one pro-choice advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·

Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·

Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·

Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·

Common Dreams Logo