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Is today's GOP a threat to America's democracy?

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On October 25, Congressman Mike Johnson (LA-04) was elected as the Speaker of the House. The Republican was elected unanimously to lead the lower house of Congress after Kevin McCarthy was removed from the position and the House was thrown into chaos.

Johnson was a little-known member of congress who had supported the Donald Trump-inspired January 6th insurrection and far-right religious political positions. He’s been called a Christian nationalist.

Delivering his first remarks as speaker, Johnson suggested that his position was ordained by God, saying: "I believe that scripture, the bible, is very clear: that God is the one who raises up those in authority."

Also, in his inaugural speech, he emphasized his Southern Baptist beliefs as the basis for his politics which includes ultraconservative positions on abortion, opposition to same-sex marriage and criminalizing homosexuality.

The rise of Johnson to speaker could be seen as another sign that today’s Republican Party is moving further to the right, away from traditional views on American democracy and towards authoritarianism.

Stuart Stevens, a former chief Republican strategist and bestselling author of “It Was All a Lie” offers an ominous warning that the G.O.P. is dragging our country towards autocracy, and if we don’t wake up to the crisis in our system, 2024 may well be our last free and fair election.

Stevens writes that today’s Republican Party is not a “normal” political party in the American tradition. It has become an autocratic movement masquerading as a political party. He warns that if we look away from that truth, we greatly increase the likelihood that the America we love will slip away, never to return.

Whenever a democracy slides into autocracy, there are five critical elements at work: financers, propagandists, party support, legal theories to legitimize, and shock troops. “The Conspiracy to End America” examines each of these driving forces on the Right and makes clear how they are working in concert to end our democracy as we know it.


Stuart Stevens is the author of eight previous books, most recently, the bestselling “It Was All a Lie,” and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, and Outside, among other publications. He has written extensively for television shows, including "Northern Exposure," "Commander in Chief," and "K Street." For twenty-five years, he was the lead strategist and media consultant for some of the nation's toughest political campaigns.

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will be recorded October 30, 2023.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi