Know Your Enemy

UNLOCKED: Democracy and Its Discontents

Episode Summary

In this unlocked bonus episode, Matt and Sam breakdown the GOP's assault on voting-rights—from what's actually been passed to how it all connects to the GOP's strategy of minority rule and the right's longstanding suspicion of mass democracy.

Episode Notes

Note: This bonus episode was  first published on April 13. We're unlocking it now because  we're working on a companion episode that explores in greater detail the intellectual origins of, and justifications for, hostility toward democracy among the founders of the modern American conservative movement. 


In state legislatures across the country, Republicans are unleashing a fierce assault on voting rights. Hundreds of proposals aimed at restricting ballot access are being considered, and in a few states—most notably Georgia—have already become law. These obvious efforts at suppressing turnout have been justified by the deranged lie that Donald Trump had a landslide victory stole from him in November, along with the usual evidence-free worries about election integrity peddled by conservatives. Of course, the debates all this has generated have been remarkably unintelligent—just more fodder for the culture wars. 

Matt and Sam breakdown where voting-rights bill have been passed, what provisions they include, and how it all fits into both the GOP's current strategy of minority rule and the right's longstanding suspicion of mass democracy.

Sources Cited and Further Reading:

Brennan Center for Justice, "Voting Laws Roundup," April 1, 2021

Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein, "What Georgia's Voting Law Really Does," New York Times, April 2, 2021

Ari Berman, "Republicans Say the Georgia Law Wasn’t Designed to Suppress Voting. Don’t Believe Them," Mother Jones, April 8, 2021

Ari Berman, "361 Voter Suppression Bills Have Already Been Introduced This Year," Mother Jones, April 1, 2021

Daniel Dale, "Fact Check: Biden and Kemp Misleadingly Describe Parts of Georgia Elections Law," CNN, April 2, 2021

Daniel Dale, "Fact Check: Republicans Falsely Equate Georgia and Colorado Election Laws," CNN, April 7, 2021

Michael Wines, "In Statehouses, Stolen-Election Myth Fuels a G.O.P. Drive to Rewrite Rules," New York Times, February 27, 2021

Glenn Ellmers, "'Conservatism' Is No Longer Enough," The American Mind, March 24, 2021

William F. Buckley, Jr., "Why the South Must Prevail," National Review, August 24, 1957

Kevin Williamson, "Why Not Fewer Voters?" National Review, April 6, 2021

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