Letters to the Editor: Democracy is declining only because the GOP is killing it

Rioters outside the U.S. Capitol
The riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is often cited as one of the lowest points for democracy in U.S. history.
(Getty Images)

To the editor: Nicholas Goldberg bemoans the challenges facing democracies and cites a few examples of our nation’s inability to tackle big things, including the Jan. 6 insurrection, legislative paralysis in Washington and the U.S. response to climate change.

Democracy is not to blame in any of these cases. Republicans are.

The former president, a Republican, drew throngs of followers to Washington on Jan. 6, and he whipped them into a frenzy and almost subverted the peaceful transfer of power.

Were just a dozen Senate Republicans to support climate legislation, President Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which he calls “the largest effort to combat climate change in American history,” would likely pass. But not one does.


As to legislative paralysis, the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, famously said a year ago, “One-hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.”

I’m disappointed Goldberg didn’t identify the threat by name, suggesting our woes are a systemic problem. Yes, two Democratic senators held up passage of voting rights legislation, but it must be noted that not a single Republican supported that bill.

The country is polarized, and money in politics is a huge problem. But if democracy is threatened in the United States, the blame must be fixed squarely on Republicans.

Mike Diehl, Glendale


To the editor: Goldberg’s assessment is very depressing, but it’s also spot on. He’s so right about the fundamental flaws in our system, such as the makeup of the Senate and the electoral college.

But what can be done in the way of remedies? It’s those very flaws that keep allowing the Republicans to control the rules, precluding any prospect for change.


Zena Thorpe, Chatsworth


To the editor: Goldberg’s column is both interesting and frightening.

Countries in Northern Europe have achieved a better form of democracy, while our political system is failing. The blame falls on big business corruption, absence of term limits and a very antiquated Constitution.

My solution would be a system of “benevolent dictatorship” — benevolent in that people’s needs would be provided for, freedom of expression would be allowed and there would be equality of opportunity; and a dictatorship in the sense that things would get done.

Alas, this is exceptionally rare in history. Even in some cases when a dictator starts out as benevolent, they end up corrupt. So we will keep on struggling with no imminent solution.

Aavo Koort, Santa Barbara