voice for democracy

An open letter in defense of democracy | Column – Tampa Bay Times

(Editor’s note: This open letter was published simultaneously by The Bulwark and the New Republic and is reprinted here with permission.)
We are writers, academics, and political activists who have long disagreed about many things.
Some of us are Democrats and others Republicans. Some identify with the left, some with the right, and some with neither. We have disagreed in the past, and we hope to be able to disagree, productively, for years to come. Because we believe in the pluralism that is at the heart of democracy.
But right now we agree on a fundamental point: We need to join together to defend liberal democracy.
Because liberal democracy itself is in serious danger. Liberal democracy depends on free and fair elections, respect for the rights of others, the rule of law, a commitment to truth and tolerance in our public discourse. All of these are now in serious danger.
The primary source of this danger is one of our two major national parties, the Republican Party, which remains under the sway of Donald Trump and Trumpist authoritarianism. Unimpeded by Trump’s defeat in 2020 and unfazed by the January 6 insurrection, Trump and his supporters actively work to exploit anxieties and prejudices, to promote reckless hostility to the truth and to Americans who disagree with them, and to discredit the very practice of free and fair elections in which winners and losers respect the peaceful transfer of power.
So we, who have differed on so much in the past — and who continue to differ on much today — have come together to say:
We vigorously oppose ongoing Republican efforts to change state election laws to limit voter participation.
We vigorously oppose ongoing Republican efforts to empower state legislatures to override duly appointed election officials and interfere with the proper certification of election results, thereby substituting their own political preferences for those expressed by citizens at the polls.
We vigorously oppose the relentless and unending promotion of unprofessional and phony “election audits” that waste public money, jeopardize public electoral data and voting machines, and generate paranoia about the legitimacy of elections.
We urge the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass effective, national legislation to protect the vote and our elections, and if necessary to override the Senate filibuster rule.
And we urge all responsible citizens who care about democracy — public officials, journalists, educators, activists, ordinary citizens — to make the defense of democracy an urgent priority now.
Now is the time for leaders in all walks of life — for citizens of all political backgrounds and persuasions — to come to the aid of the Republic.
Todd Gitlin is professor of Journalism, Sociology and Communications, Columbia University
Jeffrey C. Isaac is the James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science, Indiana University, Bloomington
William Kristol is Editor at Large, The BulwarkDirector, Defending Democracy Together
Co-signers
Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.
Sheri Berman, Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
Max Boot, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
James Carroll, Writer
Leo Casey, Assistant to the President, American Federation of Teachers
Mona Charen, Policy Editor, The Bulwark
Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jelani Cobb, Professor of Journalism, Columbia University
Eliot A. Cohen, Robert E. Osgood Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
David Cole, National Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union
Laura K. Field, Senior Fellow, Niskanen Center
Carolyn Forché, University Professor, Georgetown University
Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University
William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, Michael E. Gellert Professor Emeritus, New School for Social Research
Hahrie Hahn, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, Director, SNF Agora Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Roya Hakakian, Writer
John Judis, Writer
Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University
Michael Kazin, Professor of History, Georgetown University
Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, Harvard University
Steven R. Levitsky, Professor of Government, Harvard University
Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., Psychiatrist and author
Susie Linfield, Professor of Journalism, New York University
Damon Linker, Senior Correspondent, The Week
Dahlia Lithwick, Senior Editor, Slate
Jane Mansbridge, Charles F. Adams Professor, Emerita, Harvard Kennedy School
Win McCormack, Editor in Chief, The New Republic
John McWhorter, Professor of Linguistics, Columbia University
Deborah Meier, Educator
James Miller, Professor of Politics and Liberal Studies, New School for Social Research
Susan Neiman, Director, Einstein Forum
Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History Emerita, Princeton University
Rick Perlstein, Writer
Katha Pollitt, Writer
Claire Potter, Professor of History, New School for Social Research
Jedediah Purdy, William S. Beinecke Professor of Law, Columbia University
Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Adolph Reed, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs, Princeton University
Charles Sykes, Founder and Editor at Large, The Bulwark
George Thomas, Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions, Claremont McKenna College
Michael Tomasky, Editor, The New Republic, Editor, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
Jeffrey K. Tulis, Professor of Government and Law, University of Texas
Joan Walsh, Writer, The Nation
Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study
Dorian T. Warren, President, Community Change
Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History, Princeton University
Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Todd Gitlin, Jeffrey C. Isaac and William Kristol
Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism, sociology and communications at Columbia University. Jeffrey C. Isaac is the James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. William Kristol is the editor at large of The Bulwark and the director of Defending Democracy Together.

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