The new year is a time for the usual pieces about how awful the old year was. I’ve been guilty of this end-of-year-Eeyore stuff myself from time to time, and I won’t do it again this year.

That doesn’t mean we’re not in for a slog in 2022. COVID-19 crashed the New Year’s Eve party in 2019 as a murderous uninvited guest, and it’s still here. Worse, we’ve reached the first anniversary of the attack on the Capitol by reality-starved insurrectionists, and not only have the ringleaders so far escaped accountability, but the whole violent fandango has become more than acceptable to the kooky fringes of the Republican Party—which is to say, the Republican Party.

Democracy is in danger and we have about a year to save it. What do we do?

We could, I suppose, keep bickering about policies and legislation. This would be reassuring and make us feel normal, as if we had survived our authoritarian moment. It would also be pointless, because if Americans elect a Republican House—and maybe even return the Senate to the GOP—the stage will be set for the accelerated collapse of American democracy. (I will write another time, soon, about what I think that would look like.)

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